My response to crisis at this point is to become grim and practical. Go and scrub something, or Organize. Kick into analytical mode. Fix stuff. Figure stuff out. I need to be that way, at this point.
I'm thinking of how my dad, when faced with sobbing grief, pain, and near-madness, will quietly natter on about the tiny particulars of some Civil War battlefield, with digression upon digression. It may seem on some level like a disconnect of empathy, but it isn't. It offers a practical strategy: to become interested in something outside your own emotions. The baroque is a strategy to deal with difficulty.
So, if I seem callous for not responding to my friend Jo's situation, just keep in mind I need my own protective armor. It is too hard to talk about other than privately. Plus, I don't want anything I say to hurt her; though I realize the absence of saying anything is painful as well. It's like when people get mad; you can't get madder or sadder in response and then expect them to take care of you. Same with Jo, it's not the time for her to worry about my feelings or take care of me. It's enough that she go have some contact with her mom who may or may not be dying and her dad who is also not doing so well. I think of my own times when I was sick and utterly desperate and also a bit unhinged mentally/emotionally. It's not like my own family, other than Minnie who was awesome, flew out to help me or make some kind of contact. I gave up on expecting anything from them; which is more painful than death, because when people die you think Oh if only we had had that conversation and they understood; or there might have been a chance; or you can blame Death's cruelty in various bizarrely comforting ways. When people are still alive and fail to come through, or cut you off from family completely... I wished they were dead sometimes, thinking it would be easier than the on-purpose rejection. Then I grew up and realized I was not forever a child in relation to them that they had a duty to take care of, no matter how they might have fallen down on the job in the past.I'll feel sad when they die, but I think I'll think more of the living and if I really feel sad for them it will be for what they missed out on, in life, by being assholes, and for whatever ways life fucked them over and it wasn't their fault and they were trapped; and for whatever other loss it is to them not to live anymore. In short... sad in the ways I feel said for the infinite dead piled up all around us at every moment in the past and future. They are way more than my experience of them and more than my memory.
But even aside from that:
If I were Inanna descending into the underworld (and I certainly have been, often enough) at this point in my life... perhaps a function of age as I rush forward longing for cronemudgeonitude... Well, if I were Inanna descending into the underworld right now I would not be at Erishkegal's side saying "Oh your insides! Oh your insides!" I'd be all like, "Damn, girl, let's vacuum this place, and open the blinds... you should drink some hot soup... let's go to the beach. By the way let me tell you about this fascinating book I just read... and don't you love my new armwarmers?"
Instead I'm more like... Hmmm, underworld. Been there, done that, no time. Think I'll head on up to steal the laws from the Patriarch and build my city.
Anyway, tonight we hung out, looked at blogs while eating pizza, folded laundry, and then Jo went to pack for the trip. Manny and I compared cell phones - and made our phones laugh at each other - I coveted Eliz's tshirt, hot pink with racing stripes - tried it on - she said that Ms. Jane could counter-bid for a lease on the shirt. Ms. Jane finally got there - and where was the shirt? We searched all the drawers. Manny suggested I might be trying to steal it. And then I realized I was still wearing it, I swear by accident! Under my two other shirts and over my tank-top bra. Ms. Jane won the auction by promising to take Eliz. to the movies, but mostly by looking cuter than me in the shirt. While she does (as she claimed) have a better rack than me, it's also that I'm wearing that super-t sport bra tank top which mashes my boobs completely flat against my chest. Jo had some really good things to say about positivity, and practical stuff she learned from group therapy at the Psych Ward Day Camp, like that will can't control feelings but will can control thoughts and patterns of thoughts can then influence feelings and one's basic brain chemistry which in a synergistic way becomes control of feelings eventually. I can get behind that and agree wholeheartedly. Many, many practical techniques, mostly powerful metaphors like this, were helpful to me when I was in tons of incest-survivor therapy, years ago. And they will help Jo too, of all people, especially her, because she has an immensely powerful mind very useful for making reality happen.
Even though I don't have the hot pink shirt with the racing stripes, there is hope, people.
Rook can tell I'm upset, and I wish he couldn't, because he's being all nice to me and it makes me nearly crack, which... I don't want to.
The first person to drippily say "Oh, dear Badger, take care of yourSELF" gets a slap in the face with a wet codfish.
I will now go have a bath and read a book. I'd like some port... Hmmm.. I could go buy some fancy port at the Hole right now if I hurry.