I am guilty of it, too.
What does owning being a shitty person actually do?
“Please don't ever apologize for having a reasonable response to something difficult.”
― Sarah Polley, Run Towards the Danger: Confrontations with a Body of Memory
Last Tuesday night, I got a phone call from the Alameda Sheriff’s Department. The officer on the phone said that there was a warrant out for my arrest. I had just picked up M from school, she had requested ice cream (something she never does) and I was in a really good mood. With M’s oral aversion, anytime she puts something willingly into her mouth, it is just cause in my mind to celebrate.
Her cystic fibrosis is this weird thing where she really needs high-fat foods to maintain her weight. Of course, to my dismay, she likes fruit and veggies. But she barely eats anything so when she asked for ice cream, I was over the moon. And she ate about 6 bites of ice cream. That was really cool. We were in the car doing her tube feed after the six bites when I got the call.
It was Lieutenant Dale Flemming. His badge number was 59723. He told me that the Oakland PD was trying to tack me down. He knew my name. He knew where I lived. He knew what car I drove.
Anyone who is a parent, or person around a screaming child, knows that the screams of a child greatly debilitate your ability to think straight. I am sure I infected her first, with my nervous energy. That she then took and amplified it until our collective cortisol levels were that of a lion chasing us in the jungle. Or a tornado touching down on our family farm.
I know you know this, but I can never figure out why our stress responses have not evolved with the environment we live in. They are still activated in a way that brings us back in time to the type of instant bodily harm that we could fall victim to at any moment. There is time implied, perhaps implicitly, within the term evolution. When we think of it we think of millions of years, generations of humans at the very least. For us to make actual changes in our DNA would take a number of moments that are not computable in our brains.
There is now evidence that within a generation, there can be rapid evolution, not only in microorganisms, but also in fish. Yes, and probably humans. So why can’t my body change its stress response? Or perhaps I should think that there is hope for us humans after all it just exists in the drastic alterations of our offspring. The rearranging of molecules, if some by chance, restructuring our bodies to the changes in climate that are coming for us all.
I didn’t calm down. I couldn’t calm down. I couldn’t model calming down. Sometimes the “fake it until you make it” in terms of coregulation works. Other times she can see right through my theatrics. But we both were crying. Not knowing where to go, what to do, should we drive to the police station right now?
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