the saddest birthday i can recall with only the exception of the year my Grandma Elizabeth, Ever Elizabeth's namesake, died. that was the saddest birthday of my life and i did not celebrate nor desire to. this year my mom will take us all out to dinner and while i may not celebrate raucously i will celebrate gratefully. i am glad i was born, glad to be alive, and yes, glad to be American.
i wrote a long fb post after Donald Trump was elected. here it is:
I'm heartbroken and scared. And I know that nothing great ever comes easily; certainly, absolutely not a great nation. No great principles or beliefs, no profound and meaningful changes ever happened briskly and without suffering and enormous setbacks. The progressives and intellectuals and moral authorities in our country are nothing without backbone. "Faith without action is dead": a democracy without a struggle is a dictatorship. We don't get to choose that 'Trump is not 'my' President': but we do get to choose what we fight for, speak out for and vote for every day. That's a democracy. Personally, If Trump takes away the only insurance possible for my husband and I, I have two diseases that would like to ruin my life. If Trump changes abortion laws, I have two daughters who could be affected. If Trump tanks our economy like he has many of his businesses, we will suffer. And of course I have friends who might suffer much worse, if Trump moves to enact certain laws.
But we had Nixon. We had Eisenhower. We have had presidents who were so ineffective and flummoxed and overwhelmed and ill intentioned and in over their heads that they were dangerous. From the second our country was born we were bathed in blood and injustice. The miracle of our country is not that we were 'good'- we weren't- but that we always get better. Inch by inch. While we were butchering natives, there were those who cried out and risked their lives to do so, there were those in the government who risked their position and money and power to fight for native justice. And with every social ill you can name- against women, cultures, with slavery, with LGBT rights- you can name alongside those ills, thousands on thousands on thousands of Americans who fought for those ills to be healed.
Only a hundred years ago our country was a completely different place. In the eyes of Europe, America has just learned to walk. So many people have suffered such unimaginable loss to bring us to where we are now, and often, those people suffered in ways that were horrific and yet so common they were barely news. Now, those kinds of gross injustices are headlines, and we rally in hundreds of thousands of social justice organizations to push for changes. America is complicated and ugly and flawed and powerful and beautiful and dammit, we elected a black man, President Obama, who had what I believe will be the most successful presidency of my lifetime. We elected him TWICE. We are not hopeless. We are far from. We are a body of many cells and we are changing at such a rapid rate that it's no surprise at all that there is this backlash, this grouping of cells that resists change.
Obama's presidency brought out the deepest fears of the silent, often white, but not always, fundamentalists in this country: those the media (including my fellow writers) like to mock and name call. This was about race and gender but it was also deeply about class. Those people are listening, they see how their beliefs are mocked, and Obama did a stellar job of appealing to and showing respect for those Americans, something Hillary just did not do. Those people wanted their power to be heard and felt and this is how they did it: the way of democracy. Historically people like this make themselves heard through blood baths and terrifying violent uprisings, which we still see in many countries today. We are not those countries. I think if we demonize 'folks' (as Obama says) who voted for Trump we are digging our own grave. We need to work, heal, connect. Work, heal, connect. Ignoring and mocking and despising didn't work, so try something new. We have so much work to do and we cannot flail about and retreat and say 'i give up' and 'America has failed us' because a president was elected whom we fear and dislike. If we do, it is the greatest gasp of privilege we could exhale. We live in a working democracy. It is our moral obligation to do everything we can to ensure that the change we have will be ripped from us only by the last nail in our last working hand.
I have total confidence that Obama will speak to us soon and tell us to take a breath and believe in our country and get back to work. So I write this, most of all, as you may have guessed, to myself. So that I can go to sleep. So that I can sack up. So that I can mourn for the first woman president I was happy to vote for, and fear the man we have elected, while also recognizing the privilege of my ability to write this post, to publicly cry out without fear of being jailed or beat, to effect change through protest and writing and movements and love, and to continue working for what many others around the world continue to die reaching out for.
and all i wrote, i feel, i believe. i am depressed and scared but i am also frustrated with progressives and liberals who seem to have really cushiony ideas on what it means to create an equal society in a glorious democracy. i mean can any adult person really expect something like that to happen in an organized, palatable, orderly flow of voting and quiet arguments on C-Span? i was always taught that democracy is something you EARN. something we created, built, and work to sustain through voting and law abiding and peaceful protest and participating in our governmental processes and fighting back with your time and energy and talents and money if you have it when things get hard.
blah. i'm tired of myself. i'm tired of all the talking including my own although it's incredibly hard to shut my brain up right now, something i guess many of you can relate to.
sunshine. the leaves moving. the sun. the enormous, bone chillingly enormous, sky. especially the night sky, with it's coldness, stars, membrane that occasionally shimmers as if an alternate reality is actually right in front of our noses, and we simply choose not to see it.
tomorrow i was Scorpio born. i will be 42. i have four children and one husband who is the love of my life and the best friend i have ever known or expect to. i have extended family that i love very much. my mom. i have two dogs and one cat that i love. i am not very healthy but it's not from lack of eating well or taking care of my body. i am mostly poor. i have become what i always dreamt of being: a writer. a working writer who earns regular income- not much, but going up every month- from doing so, and not commercial jingles. i am editing the last bits of my novel. i am exhausted, anemic, peri-menopausal, often anxious, sometimes feel dull and emotionless. i am grateful, happy, hard working and intensely aware of my privileges.
my right breast hurts. i am naked while typing this. i worked out, then showered, and am swishing with coconut oil. i keep thinking about botox in the line between my eyes lately. feminist? yes no? i miss running. i've been too constantly anemic and struggling with my endometriosis to run: my muscles burn with fatigue just from holding the steering wheel of the car. running is impossible, but walking is not, and working out is not.
i am tired now. goodnight. love you all.