What do I do now?

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.14962656_1174069676020606_8122524643330499631_n

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.

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What to say? What to fucking say.

In typical New York fashion, everyone swept along as if nothing had happened. We all laughed when no one here gave a shit about the bomb, but now I feel resentful of New York’s reticence. When I so desperately cast about on the train for another despairing gaze to mirror my own, I saw only facades of indifference.

I had a comedy podcast on but realized I couldn’t bear to hear laughter from the audience, whose recorded merriment was free of the knowledge that I now hold within my bones: our country has elected a rapist to be president. We value racists over women. After months of watching our own stories acted out in caricature on television – a blustering, entitled bigot spews lies over the calculated, educated truths of an overly qualified woman – we meditated on the presumed fact that all would be redeemed in the end when she won.

And she fucking didn’t win. She didn’t fucking win. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts.

Last night when it was clear he would win, I went to sleep. I don’t know how. I think my mind was somewhere else, taken away by my new medication that makes sleep inevitable. I didn’t have an overt reaction until I was on the train. I spent a significant amount of time staring at nothing all morning, until I realized I was just staring into the face of the future and broke down.

I turned off my podcast and turned on A Seat at the Table. I bathed in a pool of fear, anger, despair, and love. Anger for the violence of the oppressed body and love for the varied yet collective beauty of the oppressed mind. I thank whatever is out there that I have A Seat at the Table, I have Moonlight, I have Lemonade, I have To Pimp a Butterfly. I have Carol, I have Jane the Virgin, I have Brokeback Mountain, I have Atlanta. Many of these artworks are and were not made for me, but they give me the chance to peek behind the curtain from a distance I am so privileged to have.

For the first time, I cried on the train. Even with all the fucked up shit that has happened to me in New York, even with the crippling anxiety I have been harboring for months and years, this is the first time I have cried on the train. I cried on the walk from the train. I cried at my desk. I text my friends and family, and I know some are too devastated to pick up their phones and respond.

It hurts.

Election Day

For all of you fuckheads who somehow got through life so far with the understanding that your vote doesn’t count:

This is an elementary fucking concept, and by elementary I mean you literally learned it in elementary school. No one is saying that your stupid vote counts – alone. That’s the whole goddamn point, dummies! It’s the collective that matters. Every dumbass in this country that forfeits their vote rolls up to one giant, hairy asshole that has forfeited its vote to DONALD FUCKING TRUMP, a fellow giant, hairy asshole. So good fucking job.

I’m not trying to get into the specifics of the electoral college and the inevitability of corruption in the voting process. I’m talking about this weirdly obtuse concept that “statistically, my vote doesn’t count,” which obviously is the reality of the situation – like I thought everyone knew that? It’s just that if you and a hundred other people say that at the same time, it’s no longer true. And that’s the whole thing about voting.

So STFU and vote! You only have three more hours left, fuckers!

vote

#imwithher

Fabio & Me

Did y’all know that one time Fabio rode a roller coaster and got hit in the face by a goose?

Sometimes I feel just like Fabio on that fateful day. I’ve come to the understanding that my life is roller-coaster-esque – I celebrate the ups with as much zeal as possible while bracing myself for the lows with a firm grip – and then a fucking goose hits me in the face. I didn’t factor in the goose when my ass first trembled in the roller coaster’s cold, plastic seat. I didn’t factor in the goose when the pock-faced boy in the throes of awkward adolescence pressed the protective bar a little too snugly into my fat rolls. And I certainly didn’t factor in the goose when my goddamned nose was smashed by a goddamned goose.

By the way, here is the entry in Wikipedia for this momentous occasion:
“On March 30, 1999, a goose hit Fabio and died when he was on a roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, located in James County, Virginia. Fabio rode in the first car of Apollo’s Chariot, a roller coaster, during its inaugural ride. During the rapid descent on the 210-foot drop after the lift hill, a goose collided with Fabio, leaving his nose covered in blood. Fabio received a one-inch cut but no one else on the roller coaster was hurt. He was later treated at a local hospital for the cut. That same year, he started his website.”

The world is so full of magic.

I guess all I need to do this year in order to merit a Wikipedia entry is start my website – I think I can do that.

Prospect Perks

Lo and behold, yesterday morning the train was in the station when I arrived and I watched it speed away as “Total Eclipse of the Heart” played in my head.

There are upsides to not being able to count on anything, and I try to accept those moments into my consciousness as often as I attempt to allow the less positive moments to bounce off and fall away. Ugh, I sound like that fucking psychiatrist that told me taking a deep breath will enhance my feelings of love. Like, can. you. not.

I was fortunate enough to experience one of these moments on a bike ride through Prospect Park a couple days ago – enjoy:

Have y’all seen Moonlight yet?

Beauty and the Briefcase

Despite my harried and limited time on this earth, despite my life hurtling towards its end like a meteor en route to the fiery surface of a not-so-distant star, I decided to spend my evening watching the ABC Family original film Beauty and the Briefcase, “a movie so impressingly, almost endearingly bad that it’s worth celebrating.”

This is how Mary Grace Garis of Bustle summarizes the plot:
“Lane Daniels ([Hillary] Duff) is a freelance journalist with a penchant for tacky hoop earrings and a list of qualities she desires in a ‘magic man,’ her dream guy. Somehow she gets an assignment [from] Cosmopolitan, which has her go undercover into the business world to find a boyfriend. That’s it. That’s literally it.”

Some highlights of this film, starting from the beginning (but you truly must watch this film to grasp the spectacular failure of writing, acting and production value):

1. The very first line in the film is “Nine million guys in New York City – you’d think there’d be one for me to date.” There are only eight million people in New York, total.

2. She grabs a magazine from a newsstand and just walks away without paying for it.

3. The set design in this film has been executed with so much nuance and thoughtfulness.
friendslove

4. Lane’s first pitch to the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo: “How about wearing boyfriend jeans when you don’t have a boyfriend.” She somehow still wins her over in a conversation about how there are no dateable men in the fashion world and how each year the editor knocks an item off her “checklist,” which is the subject of an actual article from The Onion:
theonion

5. “Once you have a job undercover in the business world, you are going to find a man that has every item on that list…you’ll be like Woodward and Bernstein.”
Honey, no you will not.

6. The black lady who is her headhunter is the only fucking sane human in this movie: Lane’s like “as long as it’s a business-y type job where the guys wear suits” and the lady stares at her briefly and then cackles and says “For a second, I thought you were serious, girl, you had me going!”

7. She somehow lives in Times Square but thinks that $42,000 is a massive salary.

8. “You look nice!” The first thing her new boss says to her on her first day. Not to mention every guy in the office asks her out and she goes out with all of them – just an HR nightmare.

9. This movie is basically a screenplay version of the response that basic dudes have when you complain about being a woman in a male-dominated work-place – some dude at my office was like “Seems like that would be a good thing” when I complained about it one time. It’s a fantasy in which women love being objectified and surrounded by men ogling them. It intrinsically dismisses the idea that being surrounded by men, especially leering men, makes many women uncomfortable. Am I reading too far into this film?
Nahh

10. She and her roommates somehow play Go Fish with these playing cards:
gofish.png
This was the moment when I realized I was about to spend another precious hour of my life watching this movie, and there was nothing I could do about it.

11. “Life at the investment bank is fun! I get to make my cubicle beautiful and creative, and I get to date! A bunch.”
-A Real Line, In This Movie

13. Lane is thoroughly impressed by the fact that her boss can play the harmonica.

14. “I enjoy long walks on the beach, kissing under the moonlight, and the world of fashion.”
-An Actual Line, Spoken Earnestly, In This Film

15. Inner monologue after hearing about her crush’s heartbreak: “There is so much pain in the world. I declare my one mission in life: if it’s the last thing I do, I will heal Liam’s wounded heart.”

16. Lane continuously interrupts the photo shoots of her actually competent photographer roommate, who for some reason has her photo studio in the apartment that they share???? And the roommate just like stops the photo shoot each time to have a conversation about how hard it is to find a man in the business world. Oh, and also the only model she shoots is their black best friend, who only has one-liners.

17. She literally apologizes for walking into a meeting in the conference room and distracting the creepy old guy on the video call, who can’t help but stare down her shirt as she passes them documents they need. And this is her fault in the narrative of this film.

18. Homegirl lives in a giant apartment in Midtown, drinks martinis all day, and takes cabs everywhere, but doesn’t have a job and has written one article for one magazine. This is the least believable part of the movie, tbh.

19. She professes her love for the predictable love interest in the conference room of their office as he is leading a meeting, and he says he loves her back, and then he carries her out of the conference room, like during the meeting, idk y’all

20. The Editor-in-Chief surprises Lane by putting her picture on the cover of the magazine. No, she didn’t have a photo shoot earlier in the movie. There is no explanation for how they got a cover photo of her.

21. And my absolute favorite:
writer
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#me

On luck, or the lack thereof

This city has a way of making you feel like luck is real, or perhaps that instant karma is, and that one of the two is following you around everywhere. After choir as I was swiping through the turnstile I noticed my train was already sitting in the station, a situation which always sends my stomach a-dropping, because I know I’m probably about to be waiting on the platform for fifteen minutes even though the train is before my eyes. I sprinted and just as I cleared the end of the train, the doors closed within arm’s reach. A typical, God-is-fucking-with-me moment in New York. But then the doors, as they occasionally do, reopened and I got on! I thought back to earlier that day, when I helped a lady carry a hefty stroller down two flights of stairs ~

How can you not believe that someone is looking out for you at such redemptive moments?

Probably because as many times as those serendipitously “lucky” moments have happened, I’ve missed the train by the skin of my teeth when I’m running late already.

If you are a believer in coincidence, as I am – luck and karma in such an unequal world don’t sit well with me – you have to hold steadfast when you live here, because New York, a city of eight million, has a magical way of placing you right next to someone you know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve uttered the words “What are the chances?” How can it be a coincidence that I ran into this awful guy I dated three separate times in completely absurd places? How can it be totally random that I saw one of my old college friends on the subway platform the very day she moved here? But it is.

This post is so boring that I’m actually falling asleep right now, so let me just tell you that this morning when I got on the train I grabbed onto a pole that was still warm from whichever nasty-ass diseased hand was holding it. It felt so gross, like sitting on a toilet seat still warm from the previous ass.

Speaking of falling asleep, I’m on Day 3 of the full dose of Lexapro and I’m pretty drowsy. I think the drowsiness will pass, but I haven’t felt particularly motivated since I started the medication. I’m wondering if this is a result of some abatement of that latent anxiety – that undercurrent of “I need to be accomplishing something right now or I will feel bad about it” – but I still feel bad about it. My mom tells  me I need to be patient with myself while I’m shifting my brain chemistry. I HATE BEING PATIENT!