Content warning: the complete dumpster fire of the Kavanaugh nomination, talk of sexual assault and trauma, no talk of hope or solutions.
I want to say up front that there will be nothing of substance in this post. Nothing new that hasn’t already been said. But since this is my own special-snowflake Millennial platform, here I am to repeat a bunch of things that are better said by others, because I feel that not saying them would be inauthentic and because I almost feel that I cannot move on to writing about other things without plunging through this dirty river first.
You know how we often get caught in cycles where the cliche “doing the same thing while expecting different outcomes” applies? (Hi, welcome to my career, relationships, exercise goals, and life in general.) Well, I feel like this has happened for progressives for at least the last two years: re: our current administration. Two years ago, when “grab them by the pussy” was part of our daily soundbite consciousness, we thought that there was no way that dude could hold the highest elected office in our country. Then, when that indeed came to pass, we thought there was no way any number of other parts of his agenda would make it out of his on-a-different-planet brain: the Muslim ban, the wall, the continuation of his narcissistic tweets and racist rallies. We continue to watch him say appalling things about whatever minority he feels like mocking and squashing at the moment. You know this. I know this. Why summarize it? Why continue to give it air time, which so often, regardless of our intentions, can mistakenly become legitimacy?
Why indeed. I believe my repetition is incredulity. I’m still shocked. I still feel punched in the stomach when I hear the president mock a victim of sexual assault. “I had one beer. Well, when was the party? I don’t remember. How’d you get home? I don’t remember. Was it upstairs, downstairs? I don’t remember. But I had one beer!” I feel dizzy and about to vomit when that mocking gets cheered for and laughed at by a huge crowd of my fellow humans. The wound scabs over and opens again and again. I feel like I can’t breathe, like I will faint, I’m screaming and who will hear me.
(Please note: the quote above is not in order verbatim because I could not actually bring myself to go back and listen to it again. I would apologize for any misquoting or inaccuracies, but frankly I could care less at this point.)
I have been walking around in a fog the last two weeks, which have felt like years, which have felt like a lifetime. A fog of despair and fear and helplessness and bone-deep rage. I’ve heard so many women say this week, “I no longer feel safe in this country.” I nod and think about the generations of marginalized people before us who never had the privilege of feeling safe.
I am thankful for my therapist. And, interestingly, I am thankful that he is a man. I know it’s his job to let me rage and cry in his office for an hour. I know it’s his job to listen to the sexual trauma I have wrestled with and slept with for years, because I felt I would not be heard or believed by those in power if I set it free. But even though it’s his job, I still hear the compassion in his voice, the generosity of his silences, the respect he has for me in the questions he asks. As far as I can tell, he has never not believed me. I am glad he is a support in my life because he reminds me of all the individual men I love, even when my hatred for the men with the most power feels as though it will crush me.
In conclusion. If your name is Brett or Mitch or Lindsey and you are thinking of changing it, I wouldn’t blame you.
In real conclusion, and on the risk of sounding pat, please, please take care of each other right now. Reach out, check in, hold one another, belong with each other. The three seconds it takes you to say, “I’m thinking of you” or “how are you feeling?” or “I believe you” can be the steeliest strength in the armor that helps us keep fighting. For justice, for love, for safety, for survival.