Somehow, this week seems harder than last week. Last Wednesday, my bright blue friends in the bright blue town in our bright blue state felt unified. Everywhere I went, people were crying and embracing. My Facebook feed was covered with all my like-minded peeps writing like-minded grief-ridden things, or posting hopeful, inspiring thoughts. We held an impromptu free concert and sing along at Lander Grinspoon Academy last Saturday, and it felt like a wonderful funeral. We cried, hugged, and attempted to lift each other from despair. We all sobbed the next morning when Kate McKinnon did Hillary doing Leonard Cohen–a perfect performance of satire, mastery, sympathy and poignency. Last week, we all floated a bit in that first stage of grief: denial. Maybe the Big Orange Tarp wasn’t that bad. Maybe he would stymie the Republicans. Surely he was just an actor, saying a bunch of fake lines to get elected.
What is the next stage? Anger. Then Bargaining. Then Depression. Eventually acceptance, but I have a ways to go on that. Depression seems more the mood of today, complete with a gentle but persistent rain, thick clouds to cover the supermoon.
It’s the not knowing that is so hard. We don’t know what will happen with a Trump presidency. We can guess, and all of us who were alive in the last century have some PTSD over the post Gore/Bush election, and how 9 months into GWB’s administration we got 9/11, and then the wars. This time around, instead of a laughable clown with bad grammar and a scary right wing cranky Cheney at his side, we have a hateful narcissistic bigot and xenophobe with Bannon in as his chief advisor. What could go right????
We don’t know. We don’t know. This is the mantra I keep muttering as I try to cope with my despair. Here is what I do:
-I fix the broken water filter in the fridge
-I change the batteries in my tuner
-I practice “One Hundred Names” for my piano recital
-I change my strings for our show on Saturday morning at Flywheel, a benefit for Hilltown Families.
-I send emails to Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Jim McGovern, just to tell them I love them and to fight the good fight in the months to come
-I get on my knees and thank God for the Obamas
-I call my friends and family and plan some music for Thanksgiving
-I wear a safety pin, even though I know it’s an imperfect white-privilegy thing to do
-I write my 16th poem for 30 Poems in November to help new immigrants to Western MA.
-I watch Modern Family with my kids and laugh and laugh
-I send money to Foster Campbell from Louisiana so we can put one more Democratic senator in congress
-Stop the fake news! Don’t post anything without fact-checking. Don’t believe anything without fact-checking.
-I plan to go to a meeting at my kids’ elementary school to talk about how to cope in the aftermath of the election
-I make lists like this, of things I can do to stay positive and connected, because it’s connection that will save us. Here are some more resources.
-I read this poem by May Sarton to my writers:
Take Anguish for Companion
If the one absolute is suffering,
And if the only absolute is doubt,
From these alone belief must be wrung
Or else the bitter poverty found out:
Take anguish for companion and set out…
But if we dare to keep anguish companion,
We feel spring in our throats a living song,
See man leap from the rocks toward the sun,
Refuse to be imprisoned for too long,
His anger storming at the walls of wrong…
For to be desperate is to discover strength.
We die of comfort and by conflict live
Who grow in this knowledge till at length
We find it good, find it belief enough
To be anguish alive, creating love.
– May Sarton