MutedBalance is important. Where I walk currently, I carry three kids, a parent, a job, a house and myself. My mother has been in my care full time for five years, and another three were me propping up her independent existence by driving 25 minutes to her home and doing everything, at least three times a week, For the past two years, she's been bed bound. This is much harder on her than on me, and I am grateful that she is home and we are making it work.
But, this plate of mine is pretty full.
One of my coping mechanisms is swimming and another is dancing. I rarely care if I'm the first person on the dance floor if the band is good. When I dance, the music changes and charges me. The beat drops into my hips and a joy permeates throughout my body. I never dance for anyone but myself. Checking in with myself on this intimate level resets me. When I dance, I joy.
So last night, I went to my usual haunt and their reliable house band, ready to joy....no, needing to joy. Emotionally, I was whipped, This has been a hard week for idealism. I suppose I should take a little segue here to mention that places have vibes and I sense and value them. My favorite hole in the wall had joy de rigueur... its vibe grabs you and lifts you to a wonderful, comfortable, beloved place. But, last night, it was different. There was a film of something not quite sad, not quite like regret, that covered the place.
The band played.
Beer flowed, dinner consumed, chatting occurred...
and it felt surreal as hell.
It wasn't just me who noticed it. Several friends shared they felt it too. A few people I am fond of came up to me and talked around politics without saying anything about politics. I wondered if seeing it in the micro, via the kinds of conversations happening in social media, was driving their desire to reconnect, but with disconnect.
So fucking weird.
But the casualty of the night was joy. I never reached my Nirvana place, where I'm reset, sweaty and beaming. It felt like puppet dancing. No Pinocchios, hard strings. I woke up this morning and thought, I did not joy last night.
I don't think anyone did. This is not a pain of losing an election, but of sensing, in real time, what the true cost of embracing our divide will take from us. While we process this, and perhaps decide the cost is too high and some middle ground must happen, we are not tuned, not playing with passion, and not connected. We're letting situations drive us, steal our celebration of one another, shape our view, and tamp down our humanity; all to feed an anger that is insatiable and like most anger, unkind.
We are joy, on mute.