Saving the china

out of the way - studies in rationality

I often see people react to disappointment and failure with violence. Nearly every time I wonder at it. There is a part of my character that disapproves of such wanton and meaningless destruction. Though I know disappointment as well as any man I wonder how it can lead someone to lashing out at the dog or smashing a piece of china. What does it achieve? Though I have a fiery tongue and temper sometimes I am much more likely to react quietly. I suspect that more often than not that observers would see little in me suggestive of disappointment or anger. It’s not that I internalise my feelings, but rather I control them with rational thought. I understand how an explosion of reaction may momentarily salve, but at the end of it there is a cowering dog or you are piece short of the dinner set. I’d rather understand, dissect the issue and then either plan to rectify it or move on from it, whatever is most appropriate. I’m cool.

There are moments, however. Sometimes I’ll simmer quietly, may even feel sorry for myself, though I despise that. On very rare occasions I feel the need myself to expiate my feelings with action. It’s been a long time since, but through the years the urge to mutter a few sharp words to the meanest looking guy in the bar has been a strange solace. To put your head in the lion’s mouth and dare him to chomp down has often revitalised me. Forced to act, to be, you return to reflex and instinct, find again your inner self. It may not be pretty – though generally nothing more than a few sly words are exchanged – but it is guaranteed to clear the crap from your system.

Last night I felt some of that. There was nothing violent in me, and once more had there been a witness he would have seen nothing amiss. For  few hours though I’d had enough, and I can taste the bitter residue still. I don’t know if I was exhausted or tired, but I’d had enough. I was sick of doing battle all the time, of trying to make things do, of perpetually being positive. Fuck that. More than anything I wanted my life back.

You can’t know how much I miss the old ways. Circumstance has forced me into a corner. I must do my own thing, day after day, and often to no effect, whilst continuing to deal with what’s happening with mum. Often I feel isolated. I sometimes think of my life being on hold, but in reality I’m in limbo. There is no pattern in my life, and no ease either. My mind rarely rests because there is so much to wonder at and to figure out. Every day I have to come at things fresh, and on each occasion with the positive frame of mind necessary if I am to succeed. It is wearing. Despite everything I am alone. My social life is a fraction of what it was, as are my prospects. I can’t do what I want to do, and each day must make-do with less. I feel as if I’m living in a box.

Last night I’d had enough. I just wanted to shed all that crap and live again. Live again. I wanted to forget about mum, wanted to wake up to find all that I’d lost returned to me, above all I wanted a rest from this perpetual effort. I’ve been more than reasonable I thought, and more patient than is natural for me. But enough. Enough!

There are no spells that free you from the present. I knew that last night even as I wished for one. I remained rational enough to refrain from flinging a mug across the room. I felt it all bubble up in me, felt the frustration threaten to overflow, but there’s no escaping from reality. You deal with what there is to deal with, not what you dream of. The sun rises, day returns, life as we know it to continue. So be it, and I guess there are always surprises.

I have to expect these little mind explosions. I’m not a robot. I nearly wrote that things could be a lot worse – which is true – but that seems such a typical rationalisation by me that I refused it. Things could be worse true, but they’re bad enough, and sometimes it’s reasonable to be selfish and self-indulgent, to grieve, if only momentarily. I’m made to continue, that’s my pathology, to persist and remain positive. I’m very fortunate in that, though sometimes it might be nice to break something just for the dumb pleasure of it.

In any case the next day has come. I’m busy enough, hopefully to productive, fruitful effect. Things will change. My persistence will pay off. The dire situation I find myself in will turn around. Mum will die too, that will change also. Everything changes, and one day it will be different.

3 responses to “Saving the china

  1. I think it is by chance that you linked to my post, however I am really glad that it lead me to come here and read your thoughts. I think what you have to say is very thought provoking and very emotional but I am glad that you shared.

    It´s kind of stupid to say that I feel similar to you because I do not know you or how you feel but trying to improve my words I would suggest that I can relate to what you are talking about. I try to keep my feelings under control as well and it is very hard sometimes not to rage when you feel like it or not to hurt someone when you feel like saying the worst things. In the long run I am happy that I have learned to deal with my problems handling then more or less alone.

    But what is wrong with smashing something? It might open up your box, you might by accident throw something out of your box and a person might ask: What is this for?
    A relation to someone that might care to hear your story; living in a box is not a bad thing per se (most of us have our box, it just varies in size) but living in isolation is dangerous and hurtful…

    Thanks again for sharing a piece of your story


    • Thanks Schin for your intelligent and generous comments. This is one of the reasons I share some of the more personal things in my life on this site. It’s good for me, and it’s always very gratifying to find my resonate with others. As you know, it’s very easy often to think the problems you’re experiencing are unique to you, when in fact the same problems recur through the centuries no matter where you are. It’s nice to be reminded that we’re not alone, and more than that that there are people willing to reach out and support. It’s something I often forget in my desire to be ‘independent’.

      As you say, there is no rational reason for flinging a plate across the room. It changes nothing objectively. But, as you suggest, there may be other less tangible consequences. Yes, it allows you to express your anger or frustration and get it out of you. And yes, we may learn from it if we’re smart enough to look. There is no right way I think.

      In any case, thanks again for your comments.


      • No problem, I am glad to make a comment when I drop by an interesting post. You say that you think, that there is no “right way” to do things, now I am thinking if there is a wrong way?


Say your piece...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.