Last night we watched “Pay it Forward.” Helen Hunt was magnificent, and so was Haley Joel Osment. Kevin Spacey is a wonderful actor.
I’m so glad we’re saying “enough” to people taking advantage of other people, at least in the realm of sexual boundaries, at least in Hollywood and among Democrats. Thinking of the world stage makes me want to weep. It’s a tragicomedy right now. I sip my tea and cry.
I feel like I’ve been punched in the solar plexus—right in my power in the world chakra. On Saturday, while we danced and whooped for joy in Ayre inside the North Boulder Recreation Center, someone smashed my back window and snatched my purse out of it. He/she got my wallet including debit and credit cards and drivers license, and my phone, and my glucose meter. And an amethyst-and-pearl necklace from my step-grandmother, who died this year.
“What scared me the most was how you had no emotional reaction,” my 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, said afterword. “You didn’t even curse or anything. You just said (imitating my extreme monotone) ‘My back window is smashed. My purse is stolen.’” I think robot mom is not her favorite.
I go deadly calm in a crisis. One night during sophomore year of college, driving back from San Francisco on a two-lane road with a car full of my closest girlfriends, a cow loomed up in my headlights directly in front of me, blocking my entire lane. Without flinching, I turned the wheel gently to the left and around the cow, then back. About a minute later, adrenaline swooshed in and I freaked out that we had almost just died.
I went deadly calm after the purse theft too—at first. And now, several days later, I think the experience was made harder by the emotional delay of the fallout.
I’m mostly okay, but my power in the world chakra feels flip-floppy and scared. To feel this vulnerable, especially at a time when I’m normally powering around trying to be super woman (Christmas) has been totally humbling and a bit ungrounding.
I’ve been feeling depressed since it happened. Like why bother to cook dinner…it won’t go well either. Jillian—my dear friend, a gifted counselor, and spiritual goddess, said “When a wallet is stolen, including the ID, I always think it’s about a big shift in identity.”
The purse itself, a handmade leather backpack my mom gave me 25 years ago, has symbolized me always having what I need to care for myself. I’ve often joked that it’s “Mary Poppins” purse because I could pull from it whatever I or anyone needed in most situations. Lamp? Sure, no problem. Power generator? Of course. Anything for first aid or a diabetic crisis? Check. Friends tried to get me to “lighten up,” concerned for my shoulders. It was heavy, but it was me. And now it’s gone.
I wondered how I could possibly manage Christmas now? The idea of perfection fizzled. My to-do lists–normally a ballast against the storms–loomed impossible. I felt vulnerable and human, and I recognized this as worth more than a thousand “See how much I got done!”(s) I felt how close each of us is to oblivion at any time. I was so glad my daughter and I were safe.
On Saturday after making all the emergency calls to cancel credit cards and bank accounts, Christopher handed me a gift certificate that therapist Pam Thayer gave us to celebrate our engagement. She didn’t at first have an opening, but she must have heard something in my voice. Because she moved something around to fit me in that afternoon. After about a half an hour of kneading, I felt myself land back into my body. Ah, yes, I am still me. Thank you, Pam.
I worked the next week. I danced three times. I still felt depressed. Finally I realized I still wasn’t okay. I feel like a less good person than before it happened. I feel into my anger and I realize I’d like to beat the person up, get revenge, hurt him or his family. I realize I haven’t enjoyed dance all week, not in the same way. It occurs to me that I have tried to go straight to forgiveness, to moving forward, without realizing I’d like to kill this mother fucker. You know, this life is plenty challenging for all of us, and I just cannot conceive of a life spent making other people’s lives HARDER. Yet in order for me to have compassion at all I must recognize that all of us, including the thief, we are doing our best. And while stealing is a poor excuse for “best” I’m going to have to recognize that that was someone’s finest self, at least in that moment. And then, finally, I can begin to feel compassion and a little forgiveness. And I can stop wanting to hurt another, because this cycle, “If I hurt you, I’ll feel better,” is everything that’s wrong.
Without my super woman armor, and with (I hope) some humor, I head into Christmas. I still want to weep. I’m still pissed. I still feel like some sort of cranky, tantrumy version of myself. But it is not only with anger and irony but with kindness now that I think of my purse snatcher as I put the pieces together. None of this is okay. And everything about this breaks us and gives us a chance to become even more human.