2017: The Year of the ?!?!!!

My brain is not okay with tomorrow’s inauguration. All week it’s been buzzing and racing and running “omg, omg” on a loop. I’m usually pretty calm, collected, and organized. (At least outwardly.) But this week I left the gelato out and it melted, I forgot my umbrella when it rained, I cried in the car, I missed deadlines, I slept through my alarm. About once a day, I feel sort of numb and detached. Then my stomach hurts. That last part isn’t so new.

This sums up my 2017 so far pretty well:

Knowing I’m far from the only one feeling like this helps. In that way, Twitter helps. It also reminds me that the next four years hold very high stakes for America… so yes, take care of yourself and allow these hard days or weeks, but stay in the fight and keep moving ahead. It all feels very devastating right now. but also right now, Barack Obama is president of my country. He’s a really good person and his leadership was more than legislation or speeches. (Although a lot of that was really good too.) Knowing he’ll be among us as a citizen is something I think I can take comfort in tomorrow and the long days ahead.

barack-obama-photographer-pete-souza-white-house-180-5763f4da5ea1a__880

Work in Progress

I’ve started bullet journaling and it’s really helping me prioritize my daily tasks so I’m more productive. I needed the help. I too often find myself sticking things I need to get done or want to accomplish in the future on arbitrary lists in tracking apps that may or may not get much attention. Now I’ve been writing out plans daily, and doing the work of reminding & prioritizing myself. This was on my list today: BLOG POST – SOMETHING. As soon as I hit “Publish” I get to experience the (surprisingly strong) satisfaction of checking off that task in my journal. Happy New Year!

img_20170107_104121I tend to second guess my plans… quite a lot sometimes, which is why it’s hard for me to post consistently on this blog. I usually talk myself out of it. Lately, I’ve been thinking of posting and then getting stuck because half of me really wants to write about a movie I liked or a recipe I tried, but then the other half of me is frozen in after-election despair wondering, “Is there anything I can share that won’t feel inappropriately lackluster?” Not a helpful thought, I know. I’ve dealt with anxiety before but never this constant or concrete. It’s a struggle. But the attitude that we should give up on sharing the stuff of everyday life because there’s work to be done is not helpful. Sharing is part of the work… Publish!

Processing…

I haven’t really been able to think about the election results in a real, constructive way yet. Honestly, I’m still grieving for my hope for the first woman president. I’ve been lucky in my life to have experienced grief only a few times, but I know how it feels, and it is this. Basically fluctuating between:

rawAnd,b7ba163c39e6cf10a643de77acc48159I do know that we’re scared and many people, directly targeted by messages of hate, don’t know if it’s safe to live their lives anymore. Donations have been pouring into organizations who offer support, like Planned Parenthood & the ACLU. I set up recurring donations this week. A good first step, I think.

A couple more good things:

A Letter From Leslie Knope

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From Emily’s List, an organization that works to put pro-choice women into government:

“As tough as it is to not take back the Senate this year, four incredible women will be heading there next year, and three of them are women of color. To put that in perspective, consider this: Up until this year, only two women of color have ever served in the Senate, and they were elected 20 years apart.

In January 2017, we will greet Senators Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada, Kamala Harris from California, Tammy Duckworth from Illinois, and Maggie Hassan from New Hampshire as they join returning EMILY’s List Senator Patty Murray from Washington State.

Catherine will be the first ever Latina in the Senate, and this year she successfully kept Harry Reid’s Senate seat blue. Kamala will be the first Indian American and the second African American woman to ever serve in the Senate. And Tammy will be the first Thai American and Democratic woman combat veteran in the Senate. Their historic victories will have ripple effects over the decades to come, and they will bring with them perspectives that are both necessary and long overdue.

The House

We also elected eight new pro-choice Democratic women this year: Val Demings (FL), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Stephanie Murphy (FL), Pramila Jayapal (WA), Colleen Hanabusa (HI), Carol Shea-Porter (NH), Jacky Rosen (NV), and Nanette Barragán (CA); along with eight returning members of Congress who faced uphill reelection battles.

Six of our incoming congresswomen are women of color, with several shattering glass ceilings this year, including Pramila Jayapal, who will be the first Indian American woman ever elected to the House; Stephanie Murphy, who will be the first Vietnamese American woman elected to Congress; and Lisa Blunt Rochester, who will be the first woman and person of color to represent Delaware in any capacity in Congress.

These women will hold Republicans accountable at a time when we will need it the most.

State and Local Races

And finally, we’ll be welcoming 75 women to office at the state and local level next year, including 30 women of color. Our state and local candidates play a critical role in protecting choice and fighting for women and families in state legislatures and local offices across the country.

We are proud to have worked with Susana Mendoza of Illinois, who will be the first-ever Latina to be elected comptroller in the nation, and Kate Brown in Oregon, the first openly LGBT person elected governor.”

We are down, but we are not out.

Between Numbness & Despair

Between Numbness & Despair

I need to sleep so my thoughts aren’t eloquent or all that clear right now. That doesn’t matter though, because I need to be less worried about being eloquent or “saying the right thing.” Choosing when and how to speak up to suit my own ego is a luxury of privilege that I can no longer accept. Had I refused it earlier, I may have spoken up more and had more helpful conservations. Maybe I would have been more aware of my own failings as an American too. I don’t know…

I voted for Hillary Clinton (early, a couple weeks ago) because I believed she was the only viable candidate, I wanted a woman to lead us, and the other result was too devastating to even think about. (Also see her  willingness to keep fighting for change despite the constant tsunami of sexism trying to keep her down.)

Since then, like many people, I felt fairly secure about her win. So yesterday evening I put on my “A Woman’s Place is in The White House” shirt and sat down to watch the votes roll in, already daydreaming about attending the historical inauguration of the first woman president of the U.S.A. My mom, who rarely talks about politics, sent me a blurry, typo-ed message of excitement.

I don’t feel dumb for hoping for progress, but I’m not going to pretend like what played out was some twist ending no one could have foreseen. It’s not shock I feel, it’s heartbreak.

Lindy West on Why This Loss Felt So Personal to Women

Trump voters came from every state (even the ones that went blue on the map). They were white women who may have even had  “feminist” in their bios. And here’s the thing: Trump votes came from people in my family who I could have questioned but instead just mostly avoided because “they’re not going to change anyway, so why ruin this dinner with an argument?” I’m ashamed of my silence.

Now I just want to scream. About how rejected I feel as a woman. About how hard it is to watch President Obama speak about all this with grace. About the way the news is reporting on this as if something utterly terrifying didn’t happen. About the excuses on social media, the passing of the responsibility, the jokes, and everyone just going about their daily life. This is on us, white Americans. We have to have those hard conversations. We have to stand with those who have literally been fighting for their lives for years… without us there. The fear and insecurity is real and bigger than ever. We can’t follow this on Twitter from the safety of our couch. We have no choice but to forge ahead into the “after” trying to do better than this, supporting and educating each other, pushing. We have to show up for the fight.

Photo Credit: Hiroko Masuike via The New York Times

It’s been a while.

I landed here after a couple of months away being slightly depressed, binging TV shows and comforting foods. I’m 35 now. We just returned from a trip to Colorado that shook me alive again with its light, cool air, bright sunlight, and fall colors.
img_20161016_084311img_20161015_172304img_20161016_090940I think I’m starting to feel better.