Well THAT was a really long 7 days. Painfully long. Painful in a million ways that I never could have predicted. Not because I am in the business of predicting presidential elections but because I couldn’t have guessed how personal the loss would feel.

On Wednesday morning I woke after a few hours of sleep and spent the day grieving and raging and texting WTF WTF WTF over and over again. I huddled up with my tightest group of friends and we shared our anger and fears—for the basic respect and fundamental rights of dear friends and distant strangers. We watched as pundits and peers gleefully mocked that fear and called us fucking crybabies. “Get over it. Move on! Fair is fair is fair.”

On Friday morning, after yet another sleepless night, I stood at the elementary school Veterans Day celebration and barely held back tears. The flag raising, the singing, the honorable guests, the hundreds of kids taking so much pride in their young voices. I wish it had felt therapeutic and hopeful, but I was awash in despair. One nation indivisible…yeah right. Our principal asked everyone to join in singing This Land is Your Land, and I found secret pleasure in knowing we were sharing beautiful words originally written as a protest anthem. “As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking / Is this land made for you and me?”

On Sunday as the news rolled in of the incoming cabinet appointments I couldn’t bear to even make eye contact with people who weren’t openly horrified by the hourly developments. I tried the phone–I can do the phone! I tried to talk about benign things like Thanksgiving menus and travel schedules, but I found myself melting down in front of my teenager and needing her support for a change. “I cannot put on a fucking happy face. I cannot fake this, for anyone!”

On Monday I remembered something that my 12-year old said late last week. The whole family had been talking about the election, and my husband and I were trying to balance our outrage with reassuring, parental perspective. My son thought for a moment and said, “Maybe this is like a vaccine. Maybe the country needs a dose of this specific kind of evil to build up really powerful antibodies.”  My God. Maybe so.

And now here is Tuesday. Today I woke up, not necessarily rested, but renewed in a surprising and palpable way. The fog has lifted enough that I called my senators. I made donations. I mapped out a plan for ways our family can not only make a bigger impact on our community but gain new insight and stretch our comfort zone. It’s been a long week, but I know the road ahead is even longer. Today, finally, I’m feeling focused and relentless. It’s time to work.

 

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