Mierdola approxima is a term whose meaning I’ve known long before I named it. In fact, the name of the term is of little consequence to me, because what it represents is much more personal. An approximate rendering of this term into English would be, ´the shit wave cometh´, deriving from the Spanish terms mierda (shit), ola (wave), and approxima (to approach). Mierdola approxima describes the fleeting moment of self awareness that occurs when you know that whatever words are about to be uttered next, whatever news delivered or actions taken, are going to create pandemonium in your world, a chaos that will take considerable time to recover from. It is more than a premonition or an anticipation of bad news; it is the realization that happens in a split second when you recognize that whatever plays out in the next few moments will deal a lot of damage to your mental health, morale, and spirit. I’d argue that the aspect of self awareness is the most important part of the meaning of mierdola approxima, because it’s what distinguishes it from existing similar terms, such as presentiment, intuition, or premonition. While all of those terms involve an anticipation of often foreboding feelings, the emphasis of mierdola approxima is on the awareness that the impending threat, whatever it may be, will wreck you in one way or another. In terms of the etymological timeline of mierdola approxima, I coined the term about thirty minutes before writing this essay, in response to experiencing said phenomenon. However, the essence of the term was first born on a winter night in 2018, when my 14 year old self was happily chomping on Chinese food, surrounded by my younger sibling and parents. I remember feeling odd that night, like everyone had been handed a script on how to act except me, because for the first time in months my parents were being civil towards each other. They weren’t arguing, or making petty comments, or sitting in stony silence. It was pleasant, which should have been the first red flag. Of course, Little Me was more concerned about the shrimp fried rice than thinking too heavily about the cautious atmosphere in the room. Barely any time had passed before I caught my mom and dad glancing at each other, an almost indiscernible signal that immediately had me on guard with my stomach clenching. The second after my dad said there was something they wanted to talk to us about, two things dawned on me instantly. One, I knew they were about to announce their separation. Two took me more by surprise - time seemed to freeze as I realized just how much this divorce was going to set me back. It was like I was having an out of body experience where I was pensively looking at myself, anticipating how much therapy I’d have to go through, thinking through how badly the break in the family dynamic would affect me, coming to terms with the fact that my personal growth would be stunted by the trust issues and fear of rejection that would result from my parents’ divorce. That night was the first time I ever thought back to my reaction and realized that in the instance before the news was delivered, I was aware of and calculating how my world would be flipped upside down.
It’s a phenomenon that has happened to me on multiple occasions, and one I'm fairly certain that others have experienced as well. Mierdola approxima is meant to put into words the instantaneous awareness that tragedy looms, and I hope that anyone who has experienced it may find some solace in knowing that they are not alone in their experience. At the very least, hopefully they’ll be able to chuckle at the translation.