Tonight I left my house for the first time since yesterday. It was already dark but I was taking my kid out to ride her bike because I let her scream-whine me into the idea. Also, solo parenting. Imagine some wine glass emojis here.
Everywhere we went, everyone was suspect. The kind older couple in an SUV who pulled over to call out words of encouragement to my kid? Likely Trump voters, to me. The silhouetted men I passed by the light rail station? Probably all hated women. At the park, pushing my kid in a swing by the dim yellow glow of a street lamp, I heard someone laughing and wondered who could possibly find anything funny today. I wondered who could find anything funny for the rest of time. Could the shroud ever lift? Would the sun ever rise again?
The moon was out, which I’d forgotten about, and I was pleased to find it was still there. For all I knew someone, sometime inside the last 24 hours, had plucked it from the sky just to punish us. Outside the high school, Vera suddenly hit the brakes and pointed up at the sky. “Light, on!” she said. Yes, baby, that old light is still on and I’m so glad you’re old enough now to see it.
By the time I got back I felt a little better, I guess by dint of being outside or maybe just by dint of taking a break from scrolling through bottomless threads of cold fear and shock on my phone. After I put the kid to bed, the beau called from Texas. We spent nearly an hour on the phone — an instrument of communication we both despise — which says a lot about our need to not be alone right then.
We talked about how scared we were for the future, and we talked about how jaw-droppingly privileged we were to be this scared for the first time in our lives. We talked about how we were complicit in letting this happen, and we made concrete plans to never let it happen again.
The bullies won. Where’s the justice? Bullies don’t win, except they do. It took them finally winning on a national stage for those of us cloaked in privilege to really sit up and pay attention. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s shameful as fuck.
It’s dark now but the sun rises tomorrow. Later the moon will, too. It’s the same sun and moon that have risen over every horrific, disheartening, grief-stricken thing to happen throughout the course of human history. They do it again the next day, and the next. Today I’m finding comfort in that fact but listen, comfort isn’t the same thing as complacency.
It never should have been.
Here are the embarrassingly small things I’ve done so far:
- Joined my local SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) affiliate (thanks Liz for your gentle correction)
- Found a local refugee relocation assistance group and signed up to volunteer
- Re-upped my monthly donation to Planned Parenthood
Tomorrow, I’ll do more.