I love food trucks. The idea of a little restaurant on wheels makes me disturbingly happy. Recently, I attended a holiday party in which there were four food trucks sitting in the backyard. There was a Mexican food truck, a pizza truck, and an Italian food truck. But I was most excited for the fourth one: the cupcake truck. After an intense analysis of the cupcake choices, I chose a toffee one that had lots of giant chocolate chunks on top. So gleeful was I with my selection, that I found myself sprinting through the backyard towards my table, clutching my cupcake. My sheer happiness, combined with a few gin & tonics, resulted in me dropping my cupcake onto the ground and into a pile of rocks.
Not wanting to destroy my own happiness, I simply picked up the cupcake and brushed off a few rocks. “That oughta do it,” I thought. I sat down at my table, and in the space of the low-lit backyard, I bit into my cupcake. Immediately, I found myself chewing on a rock. “No worries!” I thought. I spit out the rock and bit again. The next bite was rock-free, and included a chocolate chunk. Happily, I bit again. Another rock. Another discreet spit into my hand. And so on. I was not going to let the possibility of yet another rock ruin my goal of finishing that frosted goodness.
That’s me in a nutshell. For my entire life, I simply refuse to let any obstacles get in my way. There is always a solution. Just like Pollyanna, who kept smiling in her wheelchair even after she fell from the tree, I like to think that everything will turn out o.k. Just as the blind girl from “Ice Castles” kept on skating, I refuse to think that even the rose petals that get thrown at me will make me fall down. I will shout “Donna Martin Graduates!” over and over again, until justice prevails. Nothing is impossible if you don’t stop believin’. I can fix it. There is always good in the world. Things happen for a reason.
That is, until now. For the first time in my life, I give up. Everywhere I turn, I’m climbing through an impossible one-person maze, and I simply cannot find my way out. I can’t convince or validly argue the points as to why someone should let me out. I can’t come up with an easy solution to set myself free. I’m stuck.
Our family’s dream vacation to Europe to celebrate our daughter’s 13th birthday that I described in my previous blog? We weren’t going to let fear stop us from going on this journey. Guess what? ISIS won. We simply can’t fight a global travel warning and escalating danger. We’re not going.
My daughter’s continued connection to her faith and friends that was fostered through her 2 years at Jewish summer camp that I also described in my previous blog? We lose again, due to the 100 year-old camp suddenly and without warning changing its admission policy to give priority to kids that have been attending the longest. The result? My Lauren, who took a huge leap of faith to attend a brand new camp in a brand new state at age 11, becomes the only one of her multitude of friends not admitted to the program. Even worse- she loses trust that there is beauty in the religion that we tried so hard to teach her to love.
Lately, every single day of my life is met with a level of frustration I didn’t know existed. I see people in impossibly dangerous situations that they cannot seem to change. There are children in danger due to their parent’s fears for their own safety. I turn on the news and see sheer evil and pure hatred. I see racism, hypocrisy, and terror. There are people with guns shooting abortion clinics based on the concept that life is valuable. There are known terrorists entering our country with the intent to kill Americans, who can legally buy guns here even though the President would rather they not be able to do so. Others choose their own financial agenda over our nation’s safety.
In the past months, those that I have trusted or believed in have suddenly let me down. People stir up trouble for their own sheer amusement, and then refuse to help when I am left cleaning up their mess.
I can’t find the humor that I used to see everywhere. It all seems so trivial to me now. I went on a “vacation” last weekend with 5 weight loss doctors: 4 of whom are my own personal weight-loss physicians. There was humor everywhere on that trip. I wrote a truly hilarious blog about my experience, but ultimately decided not to post it when I realized that the thing I love most about my life-making my readers laugh-doesn’t make me happy right now. I’m not a good faker. I want to laugh right along with you-but I can’t smile when I’m just so heartbroken all the time.
I want to believe that everyone around me will one day be fighting right alongside with me again, instead of against me. I want to know that I can climb onto a table, screaming for change-Norma Rae style, and that those below me on the factory floor will cheer from below. I want them to shout their support for what is right in the situation, instead of hiding from it, or worse, aggravating it simply to protect their own well-being.
I really want to go back to believing that I can simply munch and spit my way through a cupcake filled with rocks. But I have become the person who picks up that cupcake without even looking at it, and throws it away because it’s obviously useless.
Especially now. Now, I can’t see anything turning out alright in the end. Not when I’m fighting everyone from ISIS to Political Parties to Controlling, Abusive Men and Lying, Scheming Women to Summer Camp Organizations With Selfish Motivations. Not when I’m fighting a war I am simply ill-equipped to battle.
“We are how we treat each other and nothing more.” That is the saying from Lauren’s summer camp. If this is to be taken literally, then each and every person is really only as good as the good they do for others. And if they do no good towards others, if they only commit acts of hatred or behave unethically towards the people in their world, then are simply bad people.
I don’t want to believe that people are either good or they are bad-nothing more. But I think that Camp Tamarack is right. Lately, there is just no middle ground. Learning this as an adult is very hard. Watching a child realize it is painful and just wrong.
But I simply don’t believe anymore that there’s anything I can do to make any of it better.