Many people are feeling today.
It’s unusual, feeling, for many people.
For some, it may be a simple knowing — an “I feel angry,” or “I feel sad” — a brief noting and a return to the day’s tasks with a lingering itching feeling. Perhaps, for you, it comes as some vague mix of memory and emotion are translated into words which you offer to others, or leave alone to loop unending in your mind.
Perhaps your tears speak for themselves as they water your shirt as if it contained seeds of a new life. Maybe, you have even ceased to function, lying in bed, perhaps, fending off the forces which you cannot see but feel to be within or around you.
Or perhaps, it comes as a sudden burst of anger for no apparent reason when something minor goes awry, like a slight itch on your foot or small drip of coffee on a newly cleaned shirt. Perhaps you feel it outside of you, a moving of energies which take forms which you know intuitively as emotion; which you find pleasant, unpleasant, foreign or familiar, and which, if you stay with them long enough, lead you to the mines of buried truths you hold inside.
Perhaps it comes through a numbness that contains multitudes despite appearing as nothingness — or through a well of feeling that reminds you of your younger selves. Maybe it is a tightening, a tingling, a rising and sinking, a withdrawing, a reaching out, a cry for help.
The trials of national chaos seem to bring us into a shared field of feeling. Witnessing as a woman with little to gain sits upright on national stage and reveals her pained past, with the narrowing eyes of some men above her searching for hidden weaknesses so they can tear her down. We sit and watch through eyes of familiar disbelief, seeing our pains and flaws in front of us acted out by strangers with great power for all the world to see.
Christine Blasey-Ford and Anita Hill’s stories are theirs and theirs alone to own.
And, yet, their stories — and their courage in telling them — have connected in some way to many of us. The two, a beacon of resistance to a culture of domination they knew from the inside, within which they stood tall and unshaking in front of the entire country. They drew a line in the sand. They allowed all of us to draw the line in the sand as well.
When we finally feel, one cannot help but realize a pain much deeper than the current state of affairs. A pain of generations, of marginalization, of oppression and violence. Perhaps of our own helplessness when we were ‘her’ yet unheard. Or, a sadness over our participation in domination and our own failure to resist for ourselves and others. Or, perhaps you may feel some ineffable alienation from your own lack of full understanding, from your own heart’s seemingly conspicuous silence. Maybe it’s the pull of an unavoidable empathy, a recognition of shared suffering that you normally can keep at bay.
Maybe you feel an Aching Rageful Sadness as you see in the worst perpetrators (leaders) a visible absence, a lacking of human dignity and compassion, a pathetic surrender to greed revealing the truth that they cannot handle the reality of the pain to which they have contributed. Or perhaps that they may never have known the love of friends who have their backs not because they are their equals in domination but because they are their equals in inherent power. Perhaps it is even the twinge of betrayal in seeing them violate the values of life and family they preach and that you believed they held dear.
Wherever we feel today, we are here together and apart in it all. Far apart, we may hope. Sometimes the blank within, the solid wall, the numbness leaves us broken and alone. Sometimes the rage escapes our grasp and we become our worst selves, confirming our inherent despicableness. Other times, we might meet ourselves anew, as our old self falls away and we grow more powerful and fierce with some kind of hardened pained love.
So, as you feel today, be gentle. Of course, also, be powerful, be committed and re-committed. But be gentle with your own heart, with your rage, your irritability, your impatience, and your agonies revealed to you. Spend time with them if you can, or sit with trees, with children or with elders. For today, you are held by the pained fierce love of us all, and of all of those who have come before. You are here.