I haven’t complained in my notebook for awhile. Suddenly, I miss my daily whine time. It completes a circle somehow, satisfies the untied knot in my heart to open my mouth and bitch. It feels good to get away from complaining, and good to return to it, and to the sympathetic pages of my notebook that never loses patience, never flaunts disgust, never rolls up in despair (“Oi vay…here she goes again!”). I can write and complain until my hands fall off. My notebook accepts it all without a whimper.
I have at it. I complain about my job (who doesn’t?), our growing financial squeeze, the price of gas, the snarl of traffic, cell phones ringing during meetings, my flabby muscles, the frequency of bad hair days. I go on and on. I have a veritable complaining party and then feel refreshed at the end of a simple piece of paper, like taking a cold shower. Get in, clean up, then get out.
These sessions are like nursing a spiritual cold. Whining are the symptoms, like a stuffy nose or sore throat. And as everyone knows, antibiotics won’t work; you just have to wait it out. Some people believe if you swallow pills to ease the soreness, it will take that much longer to heal.
Let the symptoms breathe! Complain!
Thoughtful people in my life sit back and say, “Well, I just think of so-and-so, who just crashed on Mars and doesn’t have cable. Then I feel better about my house burning down.”
I don’t know what to say to people like this. My sister has cancer. So does her husband. So does my husband’s beautiful 40-year old daughter, who is fighting her way back after surgery and months of chemo to keep her role as wife and mother of two young sons. I know about unfairness, death, disaster. I have choked in the quicksand of depression. I know fear by her first name. Anger and I have wild discussions. Feeling guilty about complaining just makes me feel worse, like I have no rights at all.
Well, I am standing up for complaining. My tattered notebook stands by my side, witness that we both survive. Complaining about the little stuff helps me hold the big stuff; the life-altering, mind-blowing, soul-spinning events you cannot plan for. In its weird little way, a little complaining is the seasoning that keeps living palatable.
And now. I’m done.