Dec 20, 2016

2016... Are we done yet?

What with the disastrous result of the election on November 8 and the slow yet inevitable socio-economic collapse in Venezuela, I am feeling rather dark. Two of the three countries I consider my own seem always to be breaking my heart.

My self-imposed news moratorium continues and I am not at all informed of what is going on. I know what is happening in Venezuela because my friends let me know through WhatsApp. I catch a glimpse of a ‘Presidential’ twitter meltdown, of a cabinet placement and I want to cry and look away.  I have no idea what is going on. I am not watching Trevor, Samantha or John, or even the more acerbic Bill.   I am avoiding SNL. I am not clicking on anything.

I saw a picture of the last Christmas card the Obamas will ever send as the First Family. I might have hugged my computer screen sobbing.

I have hidden myself in the silent and mindless joy of craft gift wrapping. I focus on the glitter and the brown paper and twine. Yes, my Christmas tree (named Hedwig this year) fell and broke two of our glass ornaments with mine and DH’s initials which felt somewhat prophetic or something but it’s now up and looking rather pretty.  

To put it mildly 2016 has been an interesting year. I got to fulfill a life-long dream of seeing Orcas in the wild. It is not lost in me how privileged I am to be able to travel unrestrained from one country to the other, stay in a floating home, see the whales, eat and drink and be marry. I returned from that trip back to Florida to the heartbreaking news of the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando. I became a citizen, excited for the possibility of being part of this country and casting my vote, to find myself the future subject of a president elect who won by a system that makes no sense to the rest of the free world.

While I have never been the upbeat, blindly optimistic, cheery type, I have always ended every year of my life with a silent hope for something better and greater ahead. It was this knowledge of hope which kept me from spiraling into sadness when I spent my first New Year here in the country. Despite all the uncertainty ahead of me that New Years’ Eve 2003 I felt, mingled with the tears and sadness, a sense of wonder for what lay ahead.

I know that when my mom feels like I do, she places herself in the hands of her God and it offers her a blessed comfort. Nothing is in my hands, I place myself in yours. In your infinite wisdom, guide me. And all that.

Not even when I was a practicing Catholic did I have the personality to place myself fully in the hands of a superior power and let the chips fall where they may.

Part of me wishes now, I had the same escape route and solace.
What else is left for me to do than wait? What will 2017 bring? I have many plans for the year. Trips abroad with my best friend, visiting family in June, hopefully buying a house with a pool Zoey can enjoy. But what about the bigger things? The things outside my bubble? The ones I don’t want to care about but do? 

Maybe those I will put in the hands of…someone else. Maybe I will just be like the blind guy in Rogue One and just mutter to myself “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me” And walk into the fire and see what happens.

Nov 9, 2016

Why is this happening?

I woke up this morning with a feeling of uncertainty and fear so bottomless, so stark, it’s kind of giving me vertigo. I haven’t felt this level of sheer despair and impotence since I was forced into a plane, with no saying of my own, to come to the United States.

I feel I am having PTSD flashback of that moment, when I refused to cry and the tears and terror were choking my throat and making it hard to breathe. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me with unrelenting focus, knowing that if I blinked, or thought, or spoke, I would break.
 In the fourteen years, I’ve lived in this great country I have been called a spic to my face once. I have gotten mean comments on my blog calling me a beaner, but to me internet trolls don’t count. Maybe because of that I never truly believed that Trump would be elected. His vitriolic words, his rampant sexism, his ugly view of all Muslims, his mockery of the disabled was so over the top that I thought, naively, that those feelings were not reflected in the heart of others.

It makes me wonder what feelings people had been hiding when they look at me. Do they wish to say “go back to your country” and knew it was not PC and therefore bit their tongue? Do they feel now that they can do it, since the President Elect of this country so freely does?

I am scared. I am scared because all these years I have felt safe in the knowledge that this country was a shelter for all, I am scared for my mother, whose immigration process has yet to be completed. I am scared for my cousins who are also in the process of legalization. I am afraid for my rights as a woman and what laws that protect me will be the first to be repealed. I am afraid that there are so many, many people who saw all this hate pandering and saw it as inspiring.

Was it silly of me to think we all want to be united, together, as one, no color or race? Have I been listening to too much Imagine by Lennon? Was I burying my head under the sand, ignorant of the rotting core of this country?  It’s not the party I am against. I lived through one Bush administration with no problem. It’s the name calling and the wall-building, and the fear mongering and the seeds of racism and bigotry that are sprouting in the hearts of others.

I am afraid for the state of the relationship with my husband who fails to understand in all his straight white man privilege that HE has nothing to fear, but I DO. The same way he belittles that fear we all woman have of walking in dark alleys because we are conditioned since infancy to fear a predatory attack from a random man. A fear my husband feels is exaggerated and does not understand because empathy is a concept he never grasped. The same way so many other people in this country apparently don’t either.

There is a weight in my soul, not because Hillary didn’t win and we didn’t get our first woman president (which would’ve been awesome), not because Trump won…but because he won the way he did, spouting divisiveness and hatred and racism and bigotry.

Now they say we must rally behind him, but is he going to rally behind us? The people he mocked and threatened? The millions he put down and called rapists, the ones he sees as property to maul and inappropriately touch?

The truth is, he doesn’t scare me, he doesn’t worry me, he isn’t the one breaking my heart. The people who I share this country with, my neighbors, the ones around me who voted for him, those are the ones who scare me, who worry me, who made me feel like I can’t trust because I don’t know what is festering in their heart.

I will try to focus on the 2% difference. The small 2% that cost the election. That is a big number of people, who fight for good and inclusiveness and what is right.

I wonder how long it will take for this feeling to dissipate. I remember what shook me off my stupor when I first got into this country, it was a very small moment, listening to music from back home in a Sears store.  Maybe something equally insignificant will shake off this feeling of dread.

I will go home and hug my cat and my dog who have no idea what is going on and wait for hope to rekindle in my heart…for now, it’s pretty fucking bleak there.