Can I admit something?
I’m not doing well.
The last couple of months have taken their toll on me and it’s all just beginning to hit me.
My therapist once famously told me, “You don’t have the infrastructure for emotions”. That was early in our therapeutic relationship. Since then, I think I’ve at least developed a dirt road and perhaps an aqueduct for my emotions. But what she was getting at is that I’m really bad at feeling things. I’m bad at feeling good things like love and happiness. I’m bad at feeling “bad” things like anger and sadness. Because of that, the “bad” things often turn into depression and the good into… well… seeming underwhelmed.
On the receiving end of my denomination not restoring me to good standing, my job “accepting my resignation” (a euphemism that I’m really growing to hate), and wrestling with the realities of job hunting including being rejected for things for which I am overqualified and realizing that I don’t have another paycheck coming my way anytime soon, I’m starting to realize that I have gone back into my old survival mode of numbing. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some outbursts. I cried violently on the night my “resignation was accepted”. But my general mode of operation in the world right now is numbness. Numb enough to survive. Numb enough to make the kids lunch or dinner. Numb enough to water plants without really taking care of the garden. Numb enough to submit resumes without writing cover letters.
Numb isn’t my best look.
The thing is, I’m choosing numb over anger. Because the truth is, I’m furious right now. I’m mad at people, mad at God, and of course, mad at myself. Really mad at myself for letting my life get to this point. Again.
And I’m bad with anger. Really bad. I’ve never wanted to be the “angry black guy”, despite the fact that I often am and with every right. I push anger down until explodes. I’ve gotten better at that, but the last couple of months have been so extreme that a lot of my old bad habits have picked in like auxiliary batteries. Default settings: suppress emotions.
My wife is doing a sermon series on Mr. Rogers and as I was thinking about what I wanted to write, this song came into my head:
I wish I knew what to do with the mad that I feel. In the past, I’ve dealt with my anger in some really unhealthy ways. I know I need to do something, but I’m not really sure what that is. I know I can’t keep it bottled inside of me. I see what that’s doing and it’s not good. Maybe the answer is just to throw myself more into my garden. Maybe I need to be writing more. Maybe I need a more physical outlet. I don’t know.
What I do know is… I’m not doing well. And I need to do something with all of this mad…