Is anyone else having the experience today of momentary amnesia? I’m being trained for new job responsibilities, so my mind is occupied by learning for perhaps an hour at a time, and then a jolt (less a jolt and more a menstrual cramp) of reality washes over me and I remember that we have elected Donald Trump to be our next president.
Menstrual cramp truly is the correct word for this, because it feels like I’m on my period. I’m feeling fatigued. I’m feeling achy. I even had a lower back ache so akin to a menstrual cramp last night that I was certain my body had brought my period early, desperate to flush out the toxicity of what is happening. I especially felt a phantasm of such a purge each time I felt that familiar glandular rush of tears trying to escape, at random, throughout the day. When I looked in the mirror yesterday morning, I had lines in between my brows where they’d embedded themselves in furrowed worry all night long.
I want to write something funny. I have been known to make jokes at inappropriate moments, perhaps because I am so entrenched in discomfort all the time – and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so many people in discomfort at once. It feels like trying to make a joke at a funeral. It just hurts so badly, so absurdly that I want to laugh.
This isn’t to say that it didn’t hurt before. We all live in the water of hegemony and it takes insight to view the murkiness of it. It’s just that all of a sudden the dirtiness of the water is in stark contrast for everyone now. Is that a poor metaphor? It’s hard to come up with images for how complicated this situation is. I don’t want this to be too long. It’s just hard to collect my thoughts enough to be concise.
So anyway, a few ways I plan to keep my fucking shit together during this trying time (and hopefully help some other people keep their fucking shit together):
1. Take video when I see interactions between people of color (especially Black/Latinx people) and the police: this is something I started doing recently, when I realized that video can be (but frighteningly, often isn’t) a way to hold people accountable for their actions, and when I realized that when people of color do this they are at risk of being arrested.
2. Watch documentaries. Read books. Make more friends whose experiences are different from mine. Challenge myself to accept discomfort in my privilege instead of avoiding it.
3. Take care of myself, so that I have the ability to take care of others.
4. Fucking meditate or some shit.
5. I’m already guilty of paying too much goddamn attention to the shit that’s happening around me (one of the reasons I’m on Lexapro) but y’all mothafuckin KNOW I will make a big-ass fuss if I see someone acting on any Trump-inspired impulse.
6. Give more hugs. My hugs kick ass!
7. Laugh like hell. Laugh all the fucking time. Access my Jewish roots and make fun of myself endlessly, until it hurts less.
8. Listen, listen, listen.
9. Support art by people of color, support art by women, support art by disabled people, support art by trans people. Demand that I have a place in the worlds that I inhabit.
What else to say? Making even the smallest of jokes feels wrong.
I don’t feel like I can offer very much, but I will ride a bike to you, and with you. I will watch Arrested Development with you. I will make a dish with you and then make a lot of jokes about how gross it looks. I will go with you to Planned Parenthood. I will walk down the street with you. This shit is so fucking scary.