To Squish or Not to Squish
A similarity I noticed between emotional baggage and cockroaches
What do you guys do when you see a cockroach? Do you acknowledge the bug? Do you screech? Do you jump? Do you look the other way? Do you run away? Do you kill it? How do you kill it?
I feel like this response says a lot about how we deal with unprocessed emotions as individuals. You see, I’ve been reading this book, it’s hard to pin down what it's really about because it’s a collection of essays, but the main trend seems to be improving your emotional intelligence, breaking down the walls within yourself, embracing the beauty of simplicity…etc. etc. existential inward reflection, take it or leave it, self-help type thing. The reoccurring theme in every chapter though is everyone has shit, and there are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with it.
Now back to the cockroach, a bug as burdensome and resilient as our inner demons.
Personally, when I see a cockroach, I get a little spooked, but I acknowledge it. I used to be a squealer, and now I just tense up, so that, my friends, is growth. Nonetheless, I know the bug is there, and, much like my trauma, it scares me a little.
Now, after I accept that there is a cockroach in my space, I silently assess my surroundings and plan for the next steps, if I am lucky there is a way to trap the bug or send it back where it came from. In the kitchen, I reach for a cup or a bowl to hover above the bug and try to calmly and coolly place said object over the bug. In the bathroom, I use the water pressure from the shower head to force it into the drain.
If these plans are executed correctly the bug is either contained or gone and I go about my business. However, If the bug sees me, things escalate. In the kitchen, the bug runs for it and I chase it around with a cup, frantically slamming it atop the counter. In the bathroom, I stomp about with an active showerhead and soak the floor. In both instances, my emotions run high and the bug wins.
So, if I were to analyze myself by my own comparison… I see my issues, and my main coping method is hoping they suffocate and die underneath a porcelain coffee mug in my kitchen sink.
My mom, on the other hand, has a different approach.
I remember this one time back in high school when I was still a squealer and before I learned to wield a showerhead, I was rinsing off before school, and this monster of a roach crawled out of the drain and started scaling the wall. I was mid-shampoo, and I was so freaked out when I saw this sucker that I jumped out of the shower, soap dripping from my scalp, screaming, and my mother, Barbara, came running in a panic. I pointed at the bug and without hesitation, she stepped into the shower, fully clothed, and squashed the thing with her bare hands. She dropped it into the toilet and told me my peanut butter waffle sandwich was ready whenever I was.
Another time I watched her stab one with a knife as it crawled across the kitchen counter while she was cutting a watermelon. She wiped the knife off and threw it in the sink, before grabbing a fresh one, and going back to her melon.
Barb is a fighter, through and through, with roaches and emotions alike. I am awed by her fearlessness and I love and admire her for it, but I also worry for her. She attacks so soon, so aggressively, and so head-on that there is little to no time to process what she was killing, and when you kill a roach, they release a pheromone that can potentially attract more and the last thing anybody wants is an infestation.
It may seem like my family home is riddled with roaches, but it's not and I know that I’m not alone in seeing the occasional critter because I googled it and in fact, roughly 124 million housing units reported roach sightings in the just last year. For some, they are out in the open, crawling around kitchens and showers, scuttering across bathroom floors, and for others they are deep beneath the surface, crawling along the plumbing, waiting for an opportunity to wiggle their way inside. Either way, they exist, and much like emotional baggage, everyone everywhere has dealt with some. The best way to deal with roaches is to take preventative measures by keeping your space clean, and when things get bad call a therapist, I mean, an exterminator.
So, how do you guys react to the cockroach? I’m not sure about you all, but I’ve got a big boy stuck under a mug in my kitchen sink right now that’s been there for about three days, thinking about naming it.
Sidenote, I wasn’t expecting to spend my Sunday evening googling cockroaches but I definitely did, and here are some absurd things I learned:
• Roaches can withstand up to 900 times their own weight, so if you’re gonna squish, squish it like Barb and squish hard.
• Cockroaches are very good at playing dead, so you may not have successfully squished if the roach disappears
• They are very vengeful emotional creatures, so don’t let them survive the squish
• Cockroach brains might someday contribute to *shudders* bacterial infection treatment, so preserve the brains and send them to a lab if you do squish
• Cockroachzone.com exists, yup, it’s a real ass website.
About the author
I’ve always been the kinda girl who calls herself a writer but hardly ever writes and definitely doesn’t let anyone read what little words do make the page. Maybe that’ll change…
Most of what I write is true. Most the time I wish it wasn’t.