This is my newsletter where I complain, so I'm just going to complain about some things in my life really quick. I have been trying not to do this but it's getting to the point now where I can't write any of the other stuff I'm supposed to be writing without purging these thoughts from my brain. Does that ever happen to you? I never realize that's what's going on until I've blown several deadlines and canceled plans and ignored texts from friends and am feeling like the shittiest shit imaginable and then finally, too late, I'm like, oh, I need to just get some of this anger and pain out of my system by narrativizing it for an audience, because that's the only coping mechanism that's ever consistently worked for me. Normal and healthy! Or not, but also, who cares right now. It is what it is. This is the brain I've been given, the only one I'll ever have, and it's not possible to go back in time and have developed, like, a meditation practice before the shit started to really hit the fan.
So as you already know if you read my last newsletter, we are getting kicked out of our apartment. Maybe? Probably. It's a messy situation that's still in progress and I definitely shouldn't be writing about it, because I don't want to accidentally piss anyone off and make it worse. Also, the specifics of it probably aren't that interesting unless you also live in NYC and rent and are in the position of trying to find an acceptable apartment in a market that has become wildly deranged by an influx of people who spent the past couple of years elsewhere and now, unwilling to buy because the buying market has been experiencing a bubble that's insane even by NYC standards, are doing batshit things like OFFERING $500/MONTH OVER THE LIST PRICE OF A RENTAL APARTMENT because even at $5000/month that 2-bedroom seems like a great deal to them, compared to the $8000/month they'd be paying if they bought a similar place at the current prices/interest rates. Does that make sense? I'm not totally sure that's what's happening across the board but I think it accounts for some of the craziness I'm seeing. Anyway, I plan to write about this more in a reported, edited, fact-checked way so we'll all find out, together!
For the first month or so of this apartment situation I felt fired up by rage, energized by it. But every fire burns itself out eventually, and this has been the week, for me, of burnout. Monday night when we all found out about the end of Roe together I was scrolling while putting Ilya to bed, looking for funny or interesting details of Met Gala outfits. Then Ilya was home from school with a cold on Tuesday and I couldn't get any work done, I knew it was not doing me any good to read other people's reactions to the news but I couldn't help myself. I wanted to feel something communal and I wanted to be reassured that what I was feeling was shared and normal. In doing so I made myself feel much worse, yet I couldn't stop.
Yesterday I had a driving lesson with my beloved driving instructor I. I was feeling okay on the way to the lesson, but then once I hopped in the driver's seat I felt shivery and bad, like I wanted to jump out of the car and run. The back window was fogged and streaked with rain and something about that made me feel even more trapped. I fought my impulse to just pretend everything was normal and I told him what was happening. I. listened to me describe my inchoate thoughts about abortion and how this news feels in my body, something I have heard a lot of other people say too -- people like me who've been pregnant and viscerally understand what it means to be a prisoner in your own body. The line in the poem about the word "pussy" that describes birth as feeling like you are the fox caught in the trap and also the trap. And that's a description of a wanted child, a wanted birth. I. told me to rub my hands together til I felt warmth, then press that warmth into my arms and my legs. He didn't act concerned or say "are you okay?" Then he let me just drive forward and reverse in the same spot over and over again for maybe twenty minutes, just practicing lining up the car and then making it crooked again. He worked through his lunch to do the rest of the lesson with me, taking our usual loop around the neighborhood with breaks for parallel parking practice. I still hate driving and I still suck at driving. But I made it through the lesson and at the end I felt the whoosh of relief.