I'm ashamed of this post

2019-07-08

Let me tell you about a time that I was ashamed.

I was having dinner with my partner. I had had a bad day, and she was eager to hear about it. She listened attentively to my boringly common story of office worker angst. I don’t even remember what was going on that had me so worked up. I felt trapped, and it was kind of her to let me vent.

As I was wrapping up the story, she interrupted me. “What are you doing about this?” she asked. I remember how she looked when she said it. She looked like she was ready to spring into action - for justice. She looked like she wanted to sprint out the door and slap someone until everything was better.

I also remember what I said next. “Wh…” I stammered, leaning back a little. “There’s nothing I can do.”

That makes the short list of dumbest things I’ve ever said. I wish I hadn’t said it, but I blurted it out before I knew it was coming.

She looked at me with serious skepticism. She clearly found that answer unacceptable, and she was right.

Helplessness is the last thing a person should feel. I had so many options in that situation that it would be hard to list them all. My actions and reactions were totally under my control. But I had given up my control and resigned myself to the inevitable future.

It wasn’t the last time I felt helpless. But I’m trying to remember that moment and do better.