The night of the election, when things were looking really bad, I started up a bath and cried. I sat there for a long, long time. The optimist in me was sure that we’d see at least a couple typically red states turn blue to show that they were not going to put up with Donald Trump. I did not expect to see my own state of Minnesota, the only state that was blue during the 1984 Reagan election, a light blue. It was so fucking close. That is horrifying and heartbreaking.
The next couple days I had a lot of difficulties keeping myself from spontaneously crying. I cried at work, I cried at home. But Twitter was getting me amped up. There are so many people there who are also upset and ready to put up a fight. So many people compiling helpful resources and actionable things you can do to help. It was exciting, but I also think I jumped into it too soon. Obviously, we should not ever stop fighting for equality and protecting the environment, and all sorts of other things that are more pressing now than ever. But perhaps I should have given myself more time. A number of days after the election, I had the thought, “It’s good that nobody can really tell I’m of Jewish descent by looking at me.” Let’s read that again. It’s good that nobody can really tell I’m of Jewish descent by looking at me. It stopped me in my tracks. Nobody should ever have to think anything like this in a supposedly free country. We have come too far.
After that, I could hardly get myself to do anything. And, to be honest, I’m still struggling. I genuinely don’t think I’ve experienced feelings similar to this since my father died. I’m not trying to be hyperbolic, I’m just trying to say that this despondency and hopelessness feels so much like grieving a loved one. I’m grieving the progress I thought we were making and I’m grieving all the potential steps backward our country could take and I’m grieving for the feeling of safety my friends and family have lost here.
I want to apologize to my readers for not being present and for not responding to comments. I read and appreciate them all. I want to apologize to publishers & authors who have given me copies of books to review. I haven’t read more than 50 pages in the past 3 weeks or so.
I had every intention of following along with the routines I had finally put in place for myself. Everything just sort of fell apart this month. I haven’t read, I haven’t written (sorry, NaNoWriMo), I haven’t exercised, I haven’t talked to you wonderful bookish people, I haven’t done many of the things that make me feel good and enrich my life. I’ve spent WAY too much time playing Animal Crossing (if you want to visit my town, hit me up). Now, I’m left to slowly rebuild everything I had made for myself, but now I have to navigate with some new priorities. I don’t know if I’m ready, but I want to be. I have some relatively big ideas and goals now. I’m beginning to realize what’s really important and what I’ll regret not doing in my lifetime. I’m just going to take it a day at a time, making sure to do something for myself and something for somebody else each day. It’s time to rebuild and go further.
When people say, “Don’t just sit there, do something,” they’re urging you to act. But if the quality of your being is poor—if you don’t have enough peace, understanding, and equanimity, if you still have a lot of anger and worries—then your actions will also be poor. - Thich Nhat Hanh, "How To Sit"
I’m going to get myself back to a state of normalcy and health, but only to create a strong base within myself. I will never stop fighting. I refuse to let any of this be normal.