I’m pretty sure it was inappropriate for me to laugh out loud at the NPR story about the attempts to raise the fuselage of an airplane that crashed into the ocean killing hundreds of innocent people. According to the reports, the effort hadn’t been going so well… The fuselage was heavy and it was resting so far below on the ocean floor that when they got it up to the surface to a near completion of their goal, the cables pulling it above water snapped and it dropped back down into the black abyss. There was something about the way the reporter casually said at the end of her tale of crushing defeat, “the company says they will try again tomorrow.” The end. That’s it. Try again tomorrow.
I laughed because there was something comical in the lack of emotion, the technical timbre of it all. There is no way a PR talking point could match the weight of watching your work, your important carefully planned, everyone-is-watching work snap from its controlled ascent and plummet back into the Sea of Who Knows. Seriously. That’s all we get? “We’ll try again tomorrow.”??????
After I laughed, I of course started to see the poignancy of that statement. Lately, the disappointments of my day to day life have been pressing on me in a way only January could endorse. The interpersonal challenges, the academic setbacks, the professional pressures, financial imbalances – it feels almost like the threads of my cables are groaning and pinging in the direction of snapping. Actually, if I dispense with poetics for a minute and just tell the truth in plain English, I have crashed back down more than a few times with crying, wailing and flailing pumping fists on the bed. I’ve been angry and sad. why isn’t the wreckage raised? Why am I not who I want to be, where I want to be, and how I want to be even after all this work? Even more troubling, why are those I love not who I want them to be even with all this work?
Well, now, really. When that airplane dropped back into the sea were they really and truly right back at the beginning? Of course there was a collective cry of swears and frustration. Of course there was disappointment and the momentary chorus of “all is lost!” But then, the PR Lady walked into the room. She slapped a few sad faces and grabbed a few shoulders to shake them and she said, “we spin this. We always spin this. You are one attempt closer to bringing it all home. You have to reconfigure a few things, attach a new cable, but you haven’t lost the work you’ve already put in! You know where it is now! You know it’s possible to get to it, grab it, move it, make the water swell with its shifting. Tomorrow, we go again. We try again tomorrow. And tomorrow……AND TOMORROW. Now go to bed everyone. I’ve got a press release to fire off to the BBC.”
My inner PR Lady just shook my shoulders (after hugging me for a long time… She’s good at her job, but not a monster, y’all) and I heard her. I’m
adopting her talking points. And even on the days when it elicits nothing more than a jaded laugh from an NPR addict, I’m believing in it. Because I do believe in change and tomorrow and movement and forgiveness. For myself and others. And that is why I’m going back to therapy. Tomorrow.