Saturday, November 14, 2015

Things fall apart: thoughts on the attack on Paris

This started out as a journal entry, then evolved from there. I have been known to delete posts that I later thought were too negative, just because I'd rather not put out that kind of energy. But today it's too much. I wonder now what it takes to go on about your business being cheerful and saying, "Yes, isn't it too bad." The feeling is, "if we feel gloomy the terrorists have won" and "everything happens for a reason" (!). This is about as helpful as saying "crying won't bring him back" and other stone-hearted, sappy bromides that are supposed to be so damn helpful. Our grief is being hijacked along with everything else. Put on a happy face. The problem is, I just can't do it any more.

November 14/15

Horrible terrorist attack in Paris yesterday. Out of the blue, seemingly. This stuff is popping up everywhere and makes me feel sick inside, like climate change. I wonder about the future, what kind of hell it might be for the grandkids, such wonderful souls. Irreplaceable. It could be a worse hell than the world has ever seen. People say things like, “oh, the human race has always kept going no matter what happens,” as if that's some kind of insurance policy against disaster.

Because something has been (more or less) true in the past does NOT mean it will be true in the future: in fact, the more time goes by, the higher the odds it will change. Example: "I’ve smoked cigarettes for 40 years and it hasn’t hurt me." That means you can go on for another 40 and be OK! It means that if it hasn’t happened YET, it will never happen, and CAN never happen, which is the stupidest piece of flawed non-logic I’ve ever seen. But I see it every single day, and people believe it, blandly, sticking a happy face on atrocity, which only leaves the door open for it to continue. It’s just a little thing called denial.

I never know how to get my head around all this, or how to feel. Things seem to be coming apart. When will it end? Nuclear war, I think. As if that threat is no longer there! Then the climate will truly collapse - it won't take more than a tiny nudge - and there will be no food. No food is already a huge one, along with where to live when everything is underwater. No food means riots and people tearing each other’s throats out to survive. Humans will revert to the pack mentality from which they sprang, devolving from apes into something somewhat less than that.

I have a purpose in my life, I am very clear about it and have no doubt of it, and that is to be love to my grandchildren. BE love, not just show love. This is nothing grand, but I don’t have to think about it either. It is as natural as breathing and has been the crown of my life after decades of wretched struggle. So many times I have wanted to end my life, but it looks as if it may be taken out of my hands.

At these times, anxious times, I look at my health and the fact that things have not been quite right for a long time. I had abdominal symptoms, quite severe ones that drove me to the doctor, something I only do under duress because I hate doctors. As usual, her attitude was dismissive, but she did delegate, as all doctors do now. I saw a gynaecologist, a urologist, a gastroenterologist, had two CT scans, two mammograms, a colonoscopy, and they supposedly found nothing. More than three years after being told my colonoscopy was completely normal (though my doctor was supposed to “go over the results” with me, an appointment which turned out to be totally useless because she said “there’s nothing to talk about”, as if this was a waste of her time), she was leafing through my chart and said, “Oh.”

Now, you never want to hear your doctor say, “Oh.”

The “oh” turned out to be the results of the colonoscopy. The polyp they found, the one they never told me about and which my doctor either didn't notice or didn't bother to mention, was not a large one, and not cancerous, but these things can turn cancerous in the future. Other things were wrong inside me that may or may not be a problem later, and which might lead to heavy bleeding or perhaps something worse than that.

My colonoscopy was not completely normal, as the technicians told me it was, but my doctor vagued me away because she didn’t really bother to look at the results.

OK, I don’t want to be one of these cranky old ladies who goes on and on about her health. For the most part I don’t talk about it at all because deep down, I don’t think I have much time left. In only a few months, without conscious effort, I have lost well over 30 pounds, and most of it dropped off me in almost alarming fashion. I was weight-obsessed from age 15 on, though I was never more than 15 or 20 pounds overweight (considered huge by the standards of the day). Thus began a siege on my body that left my metabolism permanently confused, if not completely fucked.

I ruined my body, in a sense, meaning there was a lot of fluctuation, some of it quite dramatic, and some really stupid diets, one of which left me 15 pounds underweight. I’ve never had so many compliments on my appearance in my life (oh, wait – there was that manic episode, the one that nearly killed me, when I supposedly looked 10 years younger! And certainly, if you look ten years younger, you no longer need to keep taking those stupid pills.)

So now my weight plummets, just from cutting out junk food. It’s still going down. I feel a vague nausea and my appetite is definitely down. So, do I go back to that doctor and say, “I’ve lost weight”, especially when she warned me I needed to lose weight and was verging on obesity? She'd probably say, "You look marvelous," and tell me there's nothing wrong.

This is why I don't want to go. Do I invite that familiar leaning forward and peering at me with puckered brow, then suddenly sitting up straight and saying in a decisive voice, “Nope. Can’t find anything”?


Sometimes I think (to try to connect these thoughts together) that all of this is a death-march, that we just have to sing our marching songs as we go our merry way. I mainly want to stay around to help with the grandkids, if they survive. I am not yet sure of the nature of the disaster. Climate change experts are saying it could happen more catastrophically than anyone expects. It could all come apart, suddenly give way, as it seems to be already. Right now denial holds it all tenuously together, so that every extreme flood, every sinkhole swallowing up houses, every freak snowstorm or raging forest fire after a baffling drought is considered a separate event.

I get a queasy feeling from it all. When the food runs out. When the terrorists come HERE, not to France, not even to the United States but here. Don’t think about it, your health is bad enough. Die now? Might be a good idea, but it would upset my family, I think. 

I am too much of a coward to face the kind of world that is coming. So if “something” wants to carry me off, maybe it’s a lot more benevolent than it seems on the surface. What will be will be, but we always assume the people who mean the most to us will be spared. And that is the greatest uncertainty of all.

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