I am trying to knit myself back into a world that is not so much changed as noir. The contrast is way up, a black-and-white movie of the previous life. The villains belong to my childhood, so 1980s with their Cold War mentalities and their penchants for Reaganesque excess and their truly reprehensible hair. In some ways it feels time is sliding backward, and this is not helpful, because so much of my forward motion has been wrapped up in a sense of getting past early difficult days. I am haunted by a sense that time has folded at the apex and will now circle back to the beginning, Protozoan. The caterpillar deciding to fold back into the chrysalis; an abomination.
I think of myself four weeks ago and swiftly turn away, wincing at that hopeful woman who nonetheless feared in the pit of her stomach what has come to pass. At the same time, this brave woman lived in a blue state and yet–importantly, essentially–was afraid to put a Hillary sticker on her car. That means something deep and big, and I will suck the peach pit of that true knowledge until my tongue is raw. Nothing can take away the stone of my understanding or its noir whorls of light and dark. I will not surrender the stone of my understanding to anyone who tries to shame me into believing we deserved this. I will use this new stone to navigate, a pole star. I have gained a hard round thing that fits under my tongue, and any organization I join will have to take this stone and seriously consider it as true, to form its theories around this stone of what my gut knew.
Now, on good days, I am able to complete things on my To-Do list. On good days I put things that I need to do to take care of my body and basic responsibilities on that list. Today I add “Feed Spogs” (the bearded dragon lizard in my son’s room) and “Walk on the treadmill” because I need exercise to feel better than I do. To regain, for another hour, the sense of sequential time.
Every email that appears in my inbox seems to hang out there from a great distance as if it is performing an act of satire. Let us imagine that your mind is capable of completing tasks without laughing at the absurdity of how working sequentially is just another turn on the hamster wheel.
I have signed a thousand online petitions to stop the pipeline and to hold Congress accountable. I have called my representatives and other people’s representatives in states across the country. I have felt every tiny additional injury–the daily struggles of needing four new tires, the receipt to be submitted for some healthcare thing, the argument at home or the illness–to be massive ice floes. I question my own ability to navigate. I question my own ability to metaphor: look, ice floes–an artifact that may soon be of the past.
I feel the need to offer to myself and others a semblance of the peach stone we have gained, and all I can do is think in colors. I am hanging onto the number of votes for HRC–as a talisman that good people are everywhere. I am hanging onto the sense that the stone under my tongue will tell me where to go.
“Yes, I know, she was not perfect.” This ache–this is what we have to do. We have to bow down in this new world and say this constantly about ourselves. “Yes, I know, we are so flawed.” Noir, eighties, Gunny Sax dresses and big hair and the Brat Pack. My sense of a Midwestern winter that would never end.
I cannot think sequentially, these days. I am using my to-do list as a ladder. I am crying as an errand because it is a way to reconnect to my heart. I am done with being somebody else’s idea of a revolutionary and am willing to discover what my own vision looks like. I am noir, I am edged in dark, I have the peach pit under my tongue, I will not take it from any direction. I have the peach pit now, and I will guard it, and it will tell me where to go.