As I sit down to write this post, I'm waiting for my Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies dough to chill, so it might seem like things are calming down in my world, like things are getting back to normal.
This past week has been rough. Yes, I'm wearing my candy cane apron, there's flour everywhere, my hair is up. But I haven't interacted out in public with human beings other than my cat and M in a few days. When we go out grocery shopping or out to lunch, I feel a vulnerability I haven't felt ever before. I want to walk around hunched over and covering my head, as if the sky or bricks are going to fall on us any minute now. With this batch of cookies, my dark purple lipstick, and my indie dance party playlist, I am fighting off the darkness.
This past week has been waves of nausea, panic, rage, and upset stomach. I've had hours of numbness, of denial. I've had hours of complete depression, despair, helplessness, hopelessness. I've had rage that has typically manifested itself unwisely by unloading on well-meaning folks on Facebook (and if you know me, you know that 10 times out of 10, I don't fuck with internet fights/debates/conversations) about safety pins.
My anger always fuels me. I usually take a day or two to rest, recover, and rebound. This time around, I still don't feel rested, recovered, or the closest bit to being on the rebound. And I don't know how to muster the energy/rage necessary to get my ass out of bed with gusto in the morning. How to approach the day with any kind of resolve.
I've spent the past 7 days in a state of restlessness. Nothing feels right to me. I tried to read one of my fave romance novel authors in an attempt to escape reality for a bit, but my mind was only half engaged. The other half was cry-screaming into a void. Buffy worked for a second -- when Buffy doesn't cure my ails, it is a sure sign that we're all fucked. So M and I spent our weekend watching Ink Master, because it's easier to focus our disdain on specific aggro dickish white guys than it is to just be in the world surrounded by aggro dickish white guys.
At this point, I'm only sure of a couple things.
1. Caring for ourselves and each other is the most important thing we can do. The next four years are going to be an absolute and utter shit show. This country has shown us outright that it doesn't give a shit about marginalized and underrepresented folks. So we have to care for ourselves and our communities. Because if we don't, we won't be able to keep fighting. White supremacy's goal is to keep us spending our energy/time on hustling to keep the lights on and roofs over our heads. At the end of the day, we don't have energy/love/time/thought left for ourselves. We have to fight to care for and love ourselves because the white supremacist patriarchy tells us that we're not worth even that.
2. In the past week, I have found solace and comfort in family -- both blood and chosen. We've sat together (virtually) in shock and tears. We've checked in on each other in the days following, expressing our confusion, disbelief, horror. We've processed with each other the strange ways we've expressed our devastation and rage. For many of us, this world looks so much different, and I'm grateful to have the people in my life that I do. I just have to remember to keep reaching out and asking for help when I need it.
I don't know, y'all. This is all I basically have to say right now. I have some other things to work out about activism and organizing, how to show radical solidarity, how to get ourselves on the road to being co-conspirators rather than self-appointed allies. But that's for another post. When I'm feeling more calm, more clear, more ready to articulate the nuance of the world we're in now, and how we can move forward.
What I am ready to say is that there is no easy answer. There is no formula to showing solidarity. Wear a safety pin if that feels like a useful thing to do, but make sure that you are also speaking up loudly when you witness oppression and bigotry. The conversations around safety pins are a distraction. It's an easy receptacle to dump our feelings of futility, anger, etc. I'm so definitely guilty of getting sucked into it.
It's easier to get upset about safety pins rather than sit and do the constant self-reflection and examination of what we do and how we act in the world. To ask ourselves: when and where do I hold power and privilege, and how do I use it amplify marginalized voices? How do I participate in white supremacy and how do I replicate systems and methods of oppression in my activism and in my daily life?
I guarantee that the answers to those questions are hard and humbling.
I'll end with the things that are giving me life right now: John Oliver and Samantha Bee.
John Oliver: "Keep reminding yourself that this is not normal...a Klan-backed misogynist internet troll is going to be delivering the next State of the Union address, and that is not normal. It is fucked up." The entire 30 minutes is well worth the watch.
And Samantha Bee. Some of her jokes are too real for a studio audience so soon after the election, but that's cathartic for me. Making a probably pre-dominantly white audience uncomfortable with the truth of being a marginalized person in the U.S. right now is exactly right. Go, Samantha Bee, and so many kudos to your writers.