I’m writing this on Monday evening. For most of the past week, I’ve forbidden anyone from talking about The Election with me. Since the latest Thing That Anthony Wiener Fucked Up splashed across the news, and since the “race became competitive again.” I. Just. Can’t.
Like waiting for Christmas as a child, what seemed like something to look forward to pleasantly a month ago, now feels like an unbearable wait the closer we get to November 8. It’s so almost done that I. Just. Can’t.
(Also, I literally can’t. I’m a Canadian.)
I feel that my breath gets shallow when I think about it. When something slides across my Twitter, or appears in my Facebook. I’m surprised to find I’m panicking. Frequently. A low grade but unmistakeable little panic microburst, over and over. It’s exhausting.
I go for a run. I put on the noise-canceling, ear-smooching headphones and blast out an Apple playlist — Indie Hits of 1989. The The, NIN, Jesus and Mary Chain, 808 State. I remember what the 80s felt like, the difference between The Day After Tomorrow and the low grade panic of impending nuclear catastrophe, and the fall of the Wall. I was in an environmentalist group. It felt like things were getting better, and that was when I realized, at the end of the Cold War, how scary the Cold War had been.
In between the songs, in those little quiet interstices, I hear my breath coming loud and ragged and hard, hear my feet pounding on the pavement.
I get a personal best time for a 5K. I wonder: what am I running away from, and where do I think I can get to this way?
I’m writing this Tuesday. I’ve been added to Pantsuit Nation and it helps, until I get scared again. I make myself busy: load of towels in the laundry, grad student writing club, empty the dishwasher, take down the Halloween decorations, open all the windows, close all the windows, finish and submit an encyclopedia entry. I try to stay off Facebook. All my American friends are happily voting. Wearing pantsuits. More friends than I imagine are very sad and hurt that their own families are voting to the Cheetos-Crusted turd. People are very serious, and very urgent. I can’t watch.
This evening, I teach a yoga class from 6-7:15. I plan a full media shutdown afterward. I plan a stiff drink, and The Good Sleeping Pills. I’m very scared.
I put my phone somewhere I can’t reach, because I’m torn between the possiblility that looking will make me feel better, or the possibility that looking will mean I don’t sleep at all.
My husband and I watch two episodes of Chewing Gum on Netflix. I drink two glasses of wine. I take the good sleeping pills. Goodnight.
I’m writing this Wednesday. I had a full blown panic attach when I got the text from my sister with the news. I have cried. I am scared. I feel like I might vomit. There is so, so much. Telling my daughter, and her sobbing with me, wondering how this could happen. Me trying to find a way to think of this as anything other than rampant, structural misogyny, racism, xenophobia, the celebration of complete ignorance as a governance strategy. I am afraid. As a woman, I feel crushed.
Politics is hyperbolic. Republican politics are not my politics, but I’ve never felt personally threatened and actually *triggered* by a president-elect before.
Hilary! My heart is breaking. No one deserved it more than her and I htink she didn’t get it because she is a woman. And Trump got it because he is a racist no-nothing.
How can I put one foot in front of the other today, when I can’t stop my heart from leaping?
It’s a bad day to be … pretty much anything other than a cis-het white man today. How they keep winning despite their losing ideas and their dwindling demographics is a testament to the tenacity of power and structuring inequities.
But I’m not feeling it at the structural level today.
I feel terrified, and I feel heartbroken.
My American friends, I love you. How can I support you for these next four years? How can I keep you safe, my many intersectioned women who were just yesterday in their gleeful pantsuits and getting out the vote. I can’t imagine how you feel, but please know that I care for you, and your feelings matter.