losing my shit (letting RAGE flow freely)
losing my work
Two weekends ago, on a Sunday, I spent about eight hours working on the last blog I published: campervan chronicles: how I got my van.
I remember accidentally exiting out of the story after about two hours of work, and I was relieved, when I went to reopen the draft on wix, to see the blog had saved from just a minute earlier. This lulled me into a sense of false security, leading me to believe it would continue saving.
So I spent the next five hours working on the draft in wix, writing and editing it there, assuming it was saving as I went.
Literally minutes before I was ready to hit the publish button, I hit some other combination of buttons in one last edit I was making, and suddenly the window closed.
Oh no, I thought, but it’s fine. I’ll just go reopen the draft in wix. Even if it hasn’t saved for a few minutes or so, there won’t be that much lost from that little blip …
Then I saw the last saved version of the draft was from five hours ago.
Five. Hours. Of. Work. LOST.
So. I. Lost. It.
I mean LOST IT.
losing my mind
I went absolutely insane, roaring and screaming from the very bottom to the very top of my lungs in a guttural, vibrating, deep chested, low-note battle cry that literally shook my cabin and terrified my animals into cowering under the table and/or leaping up the ladder to hide from me.
I desperately searched for some way to bring back what I had lost. The realization dawned little by little and more and more with each and every frantic search window and history tab I opened, that if the draft hadn’t saved in wix, there was not going to be a way to recover it.
Instead of just plain old screaming, I was now screaming specific words as well: please, please, please, PLEASE, and why, why, why, WHY over and over and over again, letting sheer rage flow directly through me.
I wanted to break or hit or ruin or destroy something, but I remembered, even in my blind rage, what I had done the last time this exact same thing happened (it was not lost on me that I had not learned my lesson the first time … and the last time I had only lost about an hour’s worth of work).
The last time such a wix draft failure-to-save had happened, I had reverted back to what I used to do during high school volleyball and basketball games when I’d mess up: I dug my fingernails deep into something to release the rage and shame and terror at having to face a mistake. However, instead of doing this on my own skin as I'd done during those games, I’d done it on my parents’ extremely expensive one-of-a-kind wood slab countertop, thinking it wouldn’t do anything to it (actually probably not really thinking at all in that moment of blind rage and explosive frustration) … and ... it did do something to it. It left a still-visible scratch mark that looks like a feral animal raked its claws on it (basically what happened).
So, with this memory still hot on my mind, I destroyed nothing. I just kept SCREAMING.
Screaming and crying and screaming and crying. Into pillows, into my arm, and then just into the open air of my closed cabin.
Even during this, it occurred to me that it wouldn’t really be all that hard to rewrite or redo. It even occurred to me that all this was happening for a reason, and that my next draft would be better. But I could not stop the rage, the animalistic RAGE that wanted to flow through me. And I let it flow. I screamed and screamed and screamed and cried and cried and cried until my voice was hoarse and my body felt euphoric.
Yes, euphoric. Even with some frustration and anger and hopelessness still left ... though much of it had spewed out ... I was able to see and feel and (spitefully) acknowledge that this was a HUGE release. And that I must have needed it. And that this was maybe one of the only ways my conscious mind was going to let my unconscious mind / my body have it.
Other thoughts that occurred to me in the aftermath of the great late March rage-quake of Virginia ...
desiring to RAGE
As Carolyn Elliott says in her (fucking game-changing) book, Existential Kink, “Having is evidence of wanting.” I’d clearly --- on some sick, kinky, masochistic subconscious level --- wanted this to happen (made even more apparent by the fact that this was not the first time this had happened, and I had not only not learned my lesson, but done it to an even more extreme degree this time).
Okay, so, let's just go with this, and go deeper. Let's say there was some unconscious reason I wanted this to happen. Why oh why, unconscious mind, whyyyyyyyyyy???
When I asked this question, the answer that came was that I had all this repressed animalistic rage in me that really needed to be let out. And I wasn’t letting it out; I wasn’t letting it express.
The last time I could remember being this enraged and expressing it was the last time this exact same thing had happened: When I had been working painstakingly and stress-fully on a blog and reached ready-to-publish perfection in wix, and then wix hadn’t saved my draft. And then I got ENRAGED at how cheated and wronged I was, at how all that work had apparently been for naught. (Although actually, all that "lost" work was, I could later see, just part of the process, but we’ll get to that).
Okay, so. Perhaps I (unconsciously) had (quite purposefully) created this scenario in order to let out all this rage and anger and frustration and hurt that otherwise I was giving myself no outlet for. After all, what other situation could spark and allow me to scream and rage in this way?
A person breaking up with me, even a person dying, would be too sad for me to be this purely angry about. Actually, had someone heard my feral screaming (and perhaps my neighbors did ... the horses certainly did, all staring at me at the fence with ears pricked and heads slightly cocked when I finally dragged myself outside, still sobbing) … the ones who heard it might indeed have deduced that someone must have died. What else could have made someone react, scream, RAGE that way?
Yet even then I knew I wouldn’t have been able to let out so much raw emotion, not like that, no so freely and angrily, even for someone dying. And so I couldn't shake the sneaking suspicion that I had literally created the only specific given situation custom-tailored to allow me to release so much rage, pure RAGE. Not sadness, not hopelessness, not self-pity, not despair, just RAGE. That was exactly what this exact situation had invoked, and I'd been in a time and place where I could let it erupt freely without lastingly damaging myself or anyone else.
I later saw a post on facebook from one of my fellow spiritually-minded friends, Tamala, that she had undergone a sort of animalistic cleansing in her own way on this same day, the day of the full moon in Libra, singing and dancing and screaming and releasing, and she ending up shaving her head.
This immediately cued me in that I had been part of, an instrument for, a channel for something larger than me that needed to be expressed and let out, perhaps even collectively. For me, in my relative life, this evaporation of a blog I'd worked all day on was the literal only circumstance that my higher self could think of that would allow me to feel justified… aka actually do it … in letting out all that rage. Whatever it takes… (sacrifices must be made).
RAGE against the machine (of time)
Even amidst my outburst I caught insights into where this rage, this volcanic resentment, was bubbling up from.
It wasn’t that I would have to rewrite or redo everything, really, or even that I thought what I had written was the best thing I would ever write (or even remotely close). No. It was this deep, deep, fundamental rage at feeling constantly closed-in upon, like the clock was constantly ticking and tocking against me ever-faster and ever-closer ... It was a deep rage at the perpetual emotional sense and societal messaging that I never have enough time.
I had spent the whole day finishing this piece I really wanted to finish, and now it felt like the day was wasted, that I had wasted or been cheated out of this precious time I could have spent doing the six billion other things I apparently need to do on any given day at any given time: Spending time with people and animals with whom I am in relationship, replying to endless messages, editing and curating my website, my videos, my social media, yoga, running, meditation, cleaning out my room (my life) and giving things away, getting my van ready for the road …
Well then, this rage was perhaps a sign that I am ready, or at least beginning to be ready, to not to feel like this anymore. I am ready to let out and express the rage at never having enough time, at feeling like time can be stripped and stolen from me, and therefore I need to hurry hurry hurry to produce produce produce, because checking boxes is the only way I can keep and conquer time.
I don’t want to live like that anymore. I DON’T WANT TO. So why do I keep perpetuating it? Even in my rage I felt trapped by time, like its victim still. Because it was time making me feel I'm losing it that triggered this eruptive release of rage.
oh girl, you so attached tho
This whole episode also went to show me just how attached I am to things like time, getting things done, my work.
If I thought that I was getting close to seeing that none of this really matters, that life is a game, that all that exists in the material world and in time WILL be destroyed anyway, then this episode, this veritable EXPLOSION, was also a lesson in laughing at myself and how far along I think I am on the path to enlightenment.
Really, Virg? You? Unattached? BAHAHAHAHA!!!! Lolzzzzzz!!! Good one though!!! (you were joking, right?). Because, clearly, you couldn’t possibly be more attached nor more under the illusion that you are in control. You couldn't possibly be clinging any more to this illusion that that which you make will last forever!
I mean, what if all electronics and the internet failed and burned up and were gone tomorrow? What if the whole world exploded? Then would all the time spent, all the love and creations made, be for naught? Just because something doesn’t seem to endure, and seems to be deleted forever, does this really mean that it didn’t matter, that it wasn’t part of the process of something larger and greater?
See, on some level, even that "lost" draft of the story was not completely deleted. It lives in me; it lives in the time when it was there on my screen; it lives in the brain that transcribed it and the heart that felt it and the fingers that typed it.
process, why you gotta take so long?
Beyond that, cooling down from the rage event showed me that what I lost was a first draft that needed to be deleted anyway (and I would have been too attached to do so.)
Honestly, that lost draft was absolute shit compared to what I came back and wrote, much more genuinely, much more humbly, much more directly, and much more from the heart, several hours later after dinner with my parents.
Because I often feel the pressure to hurry hurry hurry and be done done done and get things out there out there out there, I feel the process needs to be fast. In this paradigm, it seemed five hours had to be enough (in fact it was still way too much! Why does everything always take so long?!). I mean, if five hours was only part of the process (not to mention the five-ish hours I'd spent on the story even before that), if all that was only part of practicing on wix, part of practicing collaging pictures and texts and practicing writing --- part of practicing drafting --- well that was just unacceptable.
I don’t have time for this (or any) story to take 10 or 15 hours to write the way I want it to read. I need it to be done now now now now and already already already already. I don't want part or process --- I want whole and end result.
check yo intention, or intention gon check you
Later, walking out under the full moon in Libra, I could see, and was genuinely thankful for, the whole process. Before setting out to conduct my full moon ceremony on the ridge behind my cabin, I had sat down again and rewritten the 2,500 or so words I had lost. Like I said, I’d ended up completing that draft of the story in a much more real tone.
It was funny, when I reopened my original van story google doc to re-pen what I had lost on wix, this quote was all that was up in the doc, in giant bold letters:
“Good art originates not from the desire to show off but from the desire to show yourself.” ~ Glennon Doyle, Untamed
The relevance and poignance of the quote hit me hard. I'd wondered why I'd “randomly” pasted that quote, specifically, at the top of my van story doc. Cool quote I thought, not sure how I’m going to tie it into this story or why I pasted it here, just want to remember it for something cause I like it.