For months I have been struggling, I’ve written about that struggle here a little, and I’ve internalized it a lot. I’ve suffocated panic attacks, and also let them destroy me in the dark hours in the middle of the night, leaving me exhausted but finally able to sleep. I’ve sobbed through books and songs that are not sad, I’ve been desperate for understanding. I managed to allow myself a little bit of hope. My struggles are not on a single track, it seems an entire web of hurt and pain and fear has been slowly closing in on me, slowly squashing the happy and sunny parts of my life, replacing it with dead shadows. I want to be clear that this is not entirely political, but the combination of politics, the hurts of humanity, my own relationships and my own demons. It is a very complicated web that I am tangled in, and it seems the struggle has only made the tangle messier.
For me, that web all came crashing down last Tuesday, watching in horror, sobbing in anger and fear, as state after state turned red. There are a lot of shitty things in the world, and also a lot of goodness. But on Tuesday night The Shit won. When you’re already walking on a tight rope, trying to balance and measure every step, it doesn’t take much to make you fall. I wore black the next day, in mourning. I have retreated some more, probably to a scary degree, actually. I am grieving the loss of so many things, and I cannot be comforted.
My entire life I’ve taught my heart to throw up walls, to grow spikes, to protect itself. For the majority of my adult life I’ve tried to remind myself not to build the wall and cultivate the spikes. I’m a warrior who is at war with herself. Years ago I received a piece of advice I think of often, but sometimes am incapable of the required follow through: Insulate yourself from the hurts of the world so that you may move forward shielded by your own, conscious strength. I’m still not 100% sure what that means, how do you insulate something without burying it in impenetrable layers? How do you move forward without turning into a prickly monster?
This is a puzzle I continually solve and then forget the answer. So I have to start at the beginning, again and again. It is exhausting. My unexpected, very emotional spiral immediately following the 2016 election is another setback for me, I’ve taken some time to be angry, and sad, and depressed. I’m not quite to the acceptance stage yet, I’m resolved to never refer to him as “President” but I’m also not (seriously) planning to move to New Zealand or Sweden or The Bahamas. But I am closer to moving forward. There is work to do, and I will sign up for all of it.
I’m not ready yet to sound my battle cry, I’m still picking up the pieces. But, soon.
I’m still grieving too. I’m 100% sure what my response will be to this election, but I am done being quiet and meek.
I’m sorry. Panic attacks are the worst. I’ve had a couple and I feel for anyone who experiences them regularly. Right now it feels really tempting to just want to check out of politics and current affairs, but I realize that it’s times like these when it’s most important not to. I loved the article that’s been circulating on Facebook about what you can do to actually get your elected representatives to listen to you (it’s written by a former congressional staffer). It makes me feel a little more empowered to do something.
I saw that article too, and it was super helpful. My default is to send an email or something, but I’m good taking the time to make a phone call every couple of days to drive home the point that THIS THING is important.