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September Surrender: Day Twenty

What I’m Letting Go

I got out of work a little earlier than normal, because we had our morning meeting a little earlier than normal. They don’t usually hustle us out, as sometimes I can be there past noon. But today was different. I was a bit more tired than usual so I was very much looking forward to coming home, throwing on my PJ’s, and hopping on the couch for an early nap. I wanted to get it out of the way early, as to not disrupt my nighttime routine. It’s not always fun waking up at two in the afternoon.

But today was much different. As soon as I stepped in my home, I felt it rattling. Something in the apartment above me was rattling so bad that I was concerned over what was going on. There was banging, scraping, general slamming of things all over the place. My apartment was literally shaking during some of the bigger thuds. It kept disrupting my sleep (and the cat’s sleep as she snuggled beside me), that I actually vaulted myself from the couch and took a flight up to see what was going on.

There were a bunch of barrels and some kind of stacks above me. A construction mat lay on the floor. I noticed the apartment door was open, and there was a guy in the hallway. I stepped lightly to see if I could get a look inside, but the guy told me I couldn’t go in there. “I’m trying to see what’s going on, I’m in the apartment below this one.” He looked at me like it didn’t matter. “It’s very loud,” I went on, “There’s so much banging.” He then shrugged. I should have inquired as to just what the hell they were doing, but I instead turned away in a huff. “I wouldn’t care as much, but I’m trying to sleep,” were my last words as I walked back down to my apartment.

The banging continued for hours. It got so severe I swear something could have poked right through my ceiling. Somehow I managed to fall asleep for two interrupted hours, waking up each time to more chaos above me. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard such a thing, and I still wonder just what the heck is going on in the apartment upstairs. Were they gutting it? That can’t explain all the shit banging around, as if they were throwing huge chunks of concrete around over and over.

But then it just stopped. Around two o’clock, they all shuffled away with a few bangs on the way out the door. It was over. And now I sit in silence, writing this all down for you, trying to remember what it was like experiencing such chaos. I guess it doesn’t even matter at this point, it’s all in the past. And when I really think about it, what’s the big deal? I was inconvenienced for a few hours. I could have gone up to my roof deck and written, but part of me felt bad leaving the cat all alone with the noise. So I toughed it out and just waited, letting my patient streak set in while praying it would all be over soon.

In the grand scheme of things, this was a minor blip on my life’s radar. I of course told my mother about what had happened today because she likes when I rehash stories from my day. And it’s good to tell her things because conversations aren’t happening that frequently anymore. I’m not sure what’s going to happen when I come home tomorrow, but if it’s another bang-o-rama, I know I’ll be able to handle it. I feel like in the past things like this would linger and just keep making me more and more upset, to the point where the rage would bubble past the surface. It didn’t today, and it won’t the more I let go of the small stuff. Because as I’m about to explain, it’s all small stuff.

What I’ve Discovered

Nothing surprises me anymore. I’m not sure if it’s a side effect of working in the news industry, but every single story I see come down, I think, “Oh yeah, that makes sense.” There’s really no better scriptwriter than reality. Like the Beyond Meat COO being put under arrest for biting the tip off someone’s nose. Or a sanctuary city expelling migrants via the National Guard. Or the President of the United States declaring the pandemic is over while “The White House” walks it back days later. Everything I see is just as it’s supposed to be. Nothing is new under the sun, and no big story has made me actually say “woah.” I’m wondering if anything will ever shock me ever again at this rate. I don’t want to say I’m jaded, but there’s a certain emotional unattachment I carry with me, when everyone around me seems to harbor feelings for literally everything that crosses the wires.

When the Roe V. Wade decision came down, I felt no different. I wrote about how I kind of laughed when I saw the banner on television moments after I met with my boss. I felt the world shift, but not my personal world. I just couldn’t get it ‘up’ to feel any kind of emotional attachment to anything going on. I still kind of wonder how people take issues such as these are run with them, attaching all feeling and sometimes even personality to them. I just don’t get it. What good does worrying about everything that’s entirely out of your control, assigning scenarios to it that may or may not happen?

I’m sorry for feeling detached enough that I don’t want to waste my energy on every single thing I’m supposed to be outraged about. Because like I said above, I can’t sweat the small stuff, because it’s all small stuff. Every last part of it. I know people won’t agree. I know people will ask me how can I say the things I say. I just can. It just makes sense for me to stop worrying about literally everything that happens. We’re already mired in crises, why do I need to fret? I’ll land on my feet either way, and all I hope for is everyone else finds a way to do the same. I’ve never in my life wished for bad things to happen to people, no matter how much I may dislike them. Because I keep feeling like one day, we’ll all have to stop and turn our attention to the biggest story of them all that’s going to drop. I don’t know when it’s coming, but this time it’ll be so huge we can’t ignore it. Therefore, wasting time on these dust bunnies blowing in the wind are of no concern with me.

Would it be nice if people followed my lead on this? Sure. But I know that’s not realistic. I won’t criticize you if you grant me the same courtesy. I can’t help but be this singular, laid back entity flowing in the wind right now. It’s what I have to be as long as I’m without my anchor. So the small stuff will keep rolling off my back for however long I let it.

What I Hope to Find

There is still anger there. I can’t pretend I’m perfect all the time. But for the first time, it doesn’t feel like I’m ‘holding on’ to any of it anymore. It’s not like I’m letting it bubble up, only to explode at highly inopportune times. Almost three years ago, I got into an argument with someone for reasons I still don’t fully understand. My way to fight back was to channel years of frustration back at this person, saying things to them that were entirely cruel and hurtful. I’m not sure I ever properly apologized to them either, as we’ve never really revisited what went so wrong that night. I still think about it, and I still feel bad about it. But what I’ll never do again is have that desire I had that night. There was such glee I took in saying these awful things. It’s like I set out to hurt, and I did it consciously. I never want to do that ever again. I was three years younger, three years less wise, so I hope I’ve learned something in that time period. Still, knowing I was capable of such cruelty was an eye-opener in and of itself.

I hope to keep finding ways to channel myself when the small stuff starts creeping up and burrowing itself into my psyche. It’s not always easy, and maybe one day I won’t need to keep pausing and second guessing myself about it. It’ll just come as naturally as I’ve always hoped. It may all be small stuff right now, but one day we’ll all move on to bigger and better things. I just hope I’m finally ready to go this time.

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