Thoughts on life, the IRS, and Prince Harry

Published on 11 January 2023 at 17:11

I’ve just finished lunch (leftovers from last night which deserve a post of their own, followed by diced mango and cool whip). My temples, sinuses and throat feel mildly pressured, the vague warning of tears shed or soon-to-be. In this case, I shed some already, but feel reservoirs at the ready.

 

The earlier ones came from relief. I had an in-person meeting with an IRS field agent at the Federal Building downtown earlier today. Months of mild anxiety about my mysteriously unprocessed tax filing culminated in a letter last week. I’d made a silly mistake which threw everything off and caused my numbers to be re-calculated. Not in my favor. I’d already been unsure if I’d done them correctly, and the foolishness of my mistake, and then another discovered, showed how well-placed my anxiety was. Never again will I do it myself, I just don’t have the confidence for what seems like it should be a simple filing.

Last night I was about to make tacos (Tuesday) and suddenly was inspired to fill spring roll wrappers with meat and cheese, then air fry them. Then I air fried some jalapenos. Y'all.

The meeting itself was painless. The field agent was amazing - human rather than the robots I envisioned behind those intimidating initials. She reviewed everything (thankfully I came prepared) and explained the process of how I’d ended up with a scary re-calculation. She offered to work on it personally and explained the expected timeline.

 

There is no worst case scenario really, I’m not enough of a fat cat to have too many worries with the IRS. What really causes my anxiety is feeling confused and unsure how to find answers or assistance. I’d called the helpline so many times only to have a recording tell me that call volumes were too high and I’d have to try another time. Over and over again.

 

What’s worse than a helpline saying it can’t help you?

 

Anyway, when I called yesterday I wasn’t kicked off. I was encouraged to stay on hold, which was something of a breakthrough itself. After thirty plus minutes of intermittent music and “please continue to hold” messages, a real person spoke. A thrill of a whole new order. Within another few minutes of discussion this miraculous human said he would schedule me for an in-person appointment. When he asked “tomorrow morning at 10:45 work for you?” I managed to answer yes before surprise short circuited my brain.

 

Ultimately the tears that started this rabbit trail came when I stood to thank the field agent and depart today. Relief that one more confusing thing in life seems to have been resolved painlessly.

 

The rest of my unshed tears are related to another corner of my internal landscape.

 

Ah here they come. Trying to put words to this landscape has released them. Pardon me while I pause to prepare a cup of tea. BRB.

So I’ve been following Harry and Meghan as close as one can from my position. For years really, but lately they’ve been increasingly a part of my daily thoughts.

 

I am an empath, so relating with others is how I navigate the world by nature. But with these two I relate deeply. Before any reader starts to ask how I, a very unroyal, middle-class, white, single mom with a colorful marital history and previous religious cult involvement, can relate so to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, let me say I relate to them as humans. Period.

 

It has seemed that everyone forgot they are humans.

Photo: Wikimedia commons

But today I was reminded that that isn’t true. It’s the media that’s forgotten they are humans. The same media that tells us all the other horrid things they tell us. The media that attempts (and sadly, often succeeds) to shape our experience of the world according to it’s banking bottom line.

 

Harry’s memoir, “Spare” came out yesterday. In the last week the articles based on out of context leaks claimed it was “unhinged,” “chaotic,” and questioned the author’s mental stability.

 

I’ve lived on this planet forty-three years and still fail to wrap my mind around the bullshit humans decorate their minds and populate their language with.

 

I can’t speak to the details of the book reliably, because I haven’t actually read it yet. I prefer to hear him read it with all the nuance of his own expression, so it’s gonna take a minute. But I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I checked Amazon this morning and there were already 293 reviews averaging 5 stars. It was comforting to read the words of others who feel like I do: compassionate toward another human with the courage or desperate need or whatever it is that motivates them to tell their story.

 

Later, an article popped up that “Spare” has broken sales records in the UK and sold beyond the publisher’s own highest hopes. Fuck yes. Damnit Harry, keep the faith.

 

And just a little while ago I did another search and came up with a review from the Financial Times that was one of the first humane posts I’ve seen yet. I was moved enough to email the writer, Henry Mance.

 

Rather than explain my deep emotions further, I just realized sharing my email to this journalist is probably the simplest thing to do. So here it is, a personal email that I now address to the whole wide world.

 

Dear Mr Mance,

 

I just read your review of "Spare" and wanted to thank you. I'm crying as I write this and I won't take the time to explain precisely, but it's also not that complicated - to have the platform you do and use it (in this case, I haven't read anything else of yours) humanely, turns out to be fairly rare these days.

 

I relate acutely with Harry and Meghan. I write that with confidence not as someone from the same background, but as a human. I'm not a fan. I'm a mother. I'm a daughter, a sister, a friend.

 

I'm sister to a retired Army officer who's childhood screams while my father beat him were more traumatizing to me than some of my own beatings. My partner is also an Army veteran who was never in combat but his MP status gave him front row seats and security clearance that few other humans can understand.

 

In what scenario can we imagine another Army veteran opening up about their traumatic childhood, tragic loss of a parent, decades of stalking and bullying, and we respond to their vulnerability with scorn and worse?

 

How can we not understand the impact of dehumanizing others? How can we claim perceived "privilege" gives anyone the right to attack the character and endanger the welfare of someone else?

 

I won't go on with questions about Meghan, and what scenario we could imagine a woman of color sharing her story and being publicly re-brutalized for it.

 

Every time there is a bizarre tragedy, families killed in a house of worship, first graders slaughtered in their classrooms, etc, we scream about laws and guns and the worthlessness of politicians. But we can't see the violent world we create with words. We claim innocence because we would never pull a trigger. But the world we live in is made up of all the atoms and molecules and building blocks we each contribute. There is no separation, there is only a concentration of quality.

 

Those who put words into the world are directly participating in the quality of the world we live in. Your voice matters. Everyone's does, but when you have a megaphone, it's just a practical fact that yours has a greater impact. Thank you for being human and treating this "hot topic" with humanity. Please keep in mind the power you possess and remind your colleagues of theirs as well. It matters.

 

Sincerely,
Rachel Bulkley

 

Y’all, it should be noted that I have spewed hatred in times past. It should also be noted that I have been guilty of things I now see others do and think, “WTF?” I have regrets. I have things I don’t even know to regret yet. But the one thing that brings me comfort and gives me the courage to speak without feeling guilty of hypocrisy is the knowledge that humans can grow and change. I am. You probably are too. We all can. And the world needs those of us, the ones who know what it is to fuck up royally, to have the humility to keep going and make our voices louder than the ones who still spew darkness.

 

Harry, Meghan, OMG please keep the faith.


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