Hi Folks. How ya doin? I know. It's been a tough week. I've had highs and lows, said things I'm proud to have said as well as things I'd like to crawl under a rock for having said. I have run the gamut, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone. As soon as I saw the country going red, like Fiver's dreams of blood covering the fields around the warren in Watership Down (my favorite book/movie with a soundtrack by Art Garfunkel), I flashed back to 2000, and I lay on my back on my bed staring up at the ceiling in total silence, listening to the beating of my heart and the rhythm of my own breath.
Then, like I imagine happens when one is falling, my brain flipped through my entire life from then, 2000, until now, 11/9. It was all pretty fresh, as I've been recapping it here in the blogosphere since my birthday a couple of weeks ago. It was like my brain cogs kicked into overdrive, and I blew through the memories like they were on a rolodex, a dense rolodex, my friends. Dense. Like the smoke over Georgia right now.
I'm going to finish the timeline (I know, thank GOD) after I say this.
I thought the world was going to end when W was elected president, and it mostly didn't, sort of. That was an exhausting eight years. I couldn't even get through all of em. Had to leave the country, and I racked up a sweet lil chunk of credit card debt that I later paid off with student loans trying to stay as far away from George W. as I could. And despite my plans, I did most of it on my own.
During that time, I graduated from college, got engaged and un-engaged, survived my parents' divorce, back-packed Europe alone, obtained a Master's Degree, sold my stuff and moved to another country and returned to the states to catch Barack Obama accepting the nomination for President in 2008, and it was hard as hell. All of it. Every single thing.
Don't ever get confused and think things are supposed to be easy. They aren't.
I made it through that, and I almost made it through the last eight years too. Speaking of "almost," it was almost a year ago that I found myself at the bottom of my depression, deeper than I'd ever been. My anxiety had driven me to cut back on my medication for fear of running out by screaming at me, "This isn't working," until I gave in and started taking two pills rather than the prescribed three. Within a week I could think of nothing else but death. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I also didn't know how I was not going to do it. I could not imagine myself alive in the future.
Yep. I even called some suicide hotlines, and you know what, they TOTALLY helped. One told me they were sending an ambulance because I needed to be hospitalized and the other said, "Do what?" after I explained to her my "reason for calling." Yeah. In the end I just laughed. Hysterically. Then I sent my therapist an email entitled "Suicide" about how I needed to see her as soon as I could to talk to her about how to get out of the hole and because I refuse to think about things before I do them.
Now here I am. The country just elected a con-man to its highest office. The church in which I was raised has revealed itself to be at the feet of a political party. My heart is broken for the marginalized of this country, for the women of this country, and I started my damn period! Dammit.
And who knows what's going to happen. I mean, holy crap. I've been coping by sharing New Yorker and Reductress Articles and memes on Facebook, binge watching The Crown on Netflix, and spending more time with my dog, running around, giving him long massages, spooning. He is oblivious.
Yesterday I practiced yoga while listening to both Chomsky talk about power structure and Franz Schubert Sonatas in unison. I'm training. I'm getting pumped up.
I've been honest to a fault my whole life, a terrible liar. I cannot play it cool. I have been, unabashedly, myself, and people tell me they admire it, but it's a curse, you guys. I mean...I'm a pariah. I'm like this guy mixed with a giraffe when it starts running, hilarious and majestic to watch, but usually completely misunderstood (yeah....that's the simile I'm going with) And I cannot stand injustice. I will not sit down for injustice. It's my dumb superpower.
Now the gloves are off. Everyone is out in the open, nowhere to hide, and I see all of you, just as you've been able to see me all this time. I've been training for this my whole life. I've been keeping my head down, putting up with a lot (despite what you might think, I have put up with A LOT), and now I don't have to. We're all telling it like it is. I get to be all me.
Scary? I used to be scared of it. All me. If you think I'm a lot, imagine what it's like for me to deal with myself. I spent a good deal of time last Christmas in my old room back home in Memphis with all my pictures, class notes, and diaries, and I discovered the part of me I have been ignoring for far too long, and she's hungry.
Both Bikram yoga and Bicycling through Chicago are great ways to relieve anxiety. The goal in Bikram is to stay in the room while in Chicago cycling it's to stay alive. So, I wear a bright yellow reflective vest, flashing lights, and sometimes a giant puffy bright white coat that makes me look like a big marshmallow wearing a reflective vest and riding a bike. I look good, is what I'm saying.
So I am not afraid of the coming months. I want to live. I want to fight. I want to inspire, to encourage. I want to heal, and I want to play with as many puppies as I possibly can until the day I die.
Anything worth doing is going to be hard. Anything REALLY worth doing. You can't let that stop you.