I learned a new term this week from my beloved little nephew’s behavior specialist.
Used to describe a tantrum so intense, so knock-down, drag-out, tornado rage of emotion, that by the end of the episode, the behavior that triggered the episode disappears, is eliminated, is put to rest forever.
They call it an extinction blast.
I want an extinction blast.
I want to wail for so long and so loud that I’m cleared of this grief, this heavy sense of loss. Our water is poisoned.
I want to throw myself to the ground, chest heaving, face soaked, and feel the anger slipping away. All Pacific bluefin tuna are radioactive.
I want to rage against the ones responsible for this, responsible for trashing the world, responsible for making people sick, and sad, and for making us forget everything is alive. I want to kick, and bite, and thrash until I can taste the rust of my own blood in my mouth.
And that’s just where I am tonight. There’s no ending on this one. I just want the sweet relief of a raging tantrum, just like my beloved nephew has sometimes. And afterwards, his eyes are clear, and he is calm, and he can focus on the next step.
I want that.
Thanks for listening,
Our guest writer tonight, and her subject matter, are very close to my heart. She’s my sister. I adore her, and love her son just as though he was my own. Thank you Andrea, for being so brave, for teaching me so much, for challenging me, and loving me despite my own flaws. I am insanely proud of you and love both you and your boy “way up to the sky.” Thank you for sharing your story here. xoxo
Finding a Center of Stillness
Today, I am in mourning. I mourn for the ones who struggle with mental illnesses that have been caused by the imbalances in our society and our world.
My son was recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Upon hearing this, I was devastated. The world as I knew it had come crashing down. The baby who I cradled in my belly for nine long months, the funny little boy who has taught me so much about love and life and laughter…I was being told there was something the matter with him. My heart broke.
My heart broke for him, for the stigma I felt from this point on would be attached to him, for the frustration, anger and confusion I know he often feels but can’t, as much as I fiercely wish I could, protect him from. And my heart felt broken because it isn’t his fault. This is just who he is, he was born this way. In his own, uniquely beautiful way.
Someday I will tell him about my own struggles with my own diagnoses, bipolar disorder. I will share with him my own frustration, anger and confusion…the way I have lived my own life often struggling to find a balance, a healthy middle ground, a center of stillness between the light and the dark of elation and depression…how I have felt at times like a wild howling wounded animal, lost and broken, a secret hiding with scars.
And I will share with him the delicate beauty of it all, how I have come to love this thing, which some might call an illness or affliction, but which I choose to look at as more of a gift. And I will tell him that his gift is just as special. Because these gifts, mine and his, and the gifts of countless others, allow us to experience the world in a different sort of way.
I’ve come to appreciate how strongly and deeply I feel emotions, and there is indeed beauty in sadness just as there will always be a hint of darkness hiding somewhere in the light.
So I will be fighting for the ones who think they’re broken. The ones who feel lost. Because they’re not broken. Or lost. I will be fighting because we are all in this together…and if we don’t fight for each other, who will?
In mourning, solidarity, and rebellion,
Light, love, and peace,