My trip home from Canada has been pro-longed by at least one day due to the need for more time to recover from a sprained ankle. (this post will be some personal thoughts, so if you just read the political stuff feel free to skip this post)
I initially thought I could just go full speed ahead (driving 10 hour or so a day) and get back to Oklahoma, but the ankle soreness just wears me down. It’s not so much the pain itself (which really isn’t so bad) but more that it just tires me out.
So I decided last night after a very tiring day to stay at least 2 nights in Jackson, MI (a town of 30,000 or so between Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo . . . notable for being the birthplace of the GOP). Hopefully if I can get lots of rest and do what I should have wen i first sprained the ankle (R.I.C.E. – rest, ice compression and elevation) then the swelling and pain will go down and the rest of the drive home will be more pleasant.
So the unplanned stop has really given me some time to think (I know driving should do that, but your brain is too occupied with “did I miss that turn” and “that is one crazy billboard” and “the fall leaves are so pretty” and “Oh ****! That was a close call with that 18-wheeler!” and “Sandy, calm down! I’ll take you for a walk in just a little bit!”).
Spending almost a week in Canada was one intense exerience. I came away with a mix of confusion (the contradictions of Canadian society are just as crazy as those of the US, but still very different), appreciation (for the work of the War Resisters Support campaign and others giving up so much to help AWOL US soldiers in need) and grief (that Canada, as wonderful as it is, is still infested with the same poisonous brew of patriotism, capitalism and militarism).
In other words, someday I may choose to live in Canada (or not), but it won’t be a utopia and likely will just mean I’m trading one set of moral dilemnas for another set of moral dilemnas.
But then even more strangely, I don’t feel at home in the US either. Today for lunch I hit a local buffet and ended up being there with the Sunday after-church crowd. I had on my t-shirt from the WRSC (the one that says “War resisters welcome here”) and a high school aged kid asked me about it. I explained that about 200 US soldiers had fled to Canada. He was respectful and all about it, but i could tell he was dumbstruck by the concept that “our guys” (as he put it) would do such a thing.
And as I continued to be in the restaurant I felt like a pariah. I put on my coat so people would’t see my shirt, but then I felt like a coward. And I was angry. It’s not fair for me to judge them either, but I kept wanting to jump up and scream, “how can you be in your Sunday best, just out of church and not caring about the war. Just a few hours away, folks are fighting for their lives to stay in Canada, and you don’t even know about it, and probably wouldn’t care if you did know about it.” I know, I have no right to judge, but that’s what i was feeling. — And I thought of something that a friend told me, about the sky not bearing allegiance to anybody. To think that that the same sun and stars shine in the US and Canada and Iraq, and the wind howls and blows across those imaginary lines. To know that a few hours away and that folks don’t know or care about what is happening so close to them, just broke my heart. I’m sorry, again i have no right to judge and yet I’m judging. I’m just depraved as the folks eating at the buffet. I was there too being sure to get my money’s worth. Trying to drown all of this out in food. Goodness, I’m saying more than I really should here.
I guess as you might have guessed, I’m doing a lot of soul searching and emotional sorting. I am very frustrated that my desire to quit taking Paxil (a antidepressant that may have helped me at one time, but I’m now convinced that it is a poison. It’s made it hard to trust my own emotions and it is so, so hard to get off of. The withdrawal symptons are every bit as bad as the problems that led me to start ingesting the poison in the first place) won’t be enough and that the process of quitting paxil will take a long time (6 months? a year? there is no telling — it helps to know that I’m not alone in having such difficulty quiting paxil but it still doesn’t help the frustration to go away)
I also feel spiritually out of sorts. I can talk a good talk, but I feel disconnected and uncentered. And right now the path out of this place seems obscured by fog and busyness. And that’s another thing. I don’t feel like I’m doing everything I should do for my clients. I’m really overwhelmed right now and that feeling makes it harder to act to change it (a nasty circle of despair sets in)
So anyway those are the thoughts that are on my mind. I am trying to get some work done (lots of catch up to do for client work) but am hoping I’ll have some time to reflect and write. I know i’ll have a lot more to say about Canada soon.