Trauma Anniversary, Nov. 8

Some anniversaries of loss come, for me, in a kind of anxious restlessness, where I’m churning far above my body, wondering why I feel so disconnected. Others come with the feeling of being pulled into a pit. In many cases, I’m not self-aware enough to really understand what motions my body and psyche are going through until I look at the calendar. The body remembers.

I’ve been feeling an uptick of anxiety lately, and the easiest reason is always to look at the headlines. We have nonsense for a leader. We have people valiantly struggling to maintain some semblance of safety or reliability, and another crew working hard to set on fire or neglect the very bottom of the barrel in terms of the social contract. And North Korea and the EPA and CHIP… you know. You probably know it all and can recite ten additional completely alarming developments in the last 24 hours.

But the body remembers, and it occurred to me recently that we are approaching what was, for many of us last year, a supremely anxious time. Then, on the evening of Nov. 8, anxiety and hope turned to a feeling of “I knew it” or maybe shock mixed with additional possible layers of complete fear. The bottom had dropped out. November sucked, and he wasn’t even president yet.

I did a lot of crying in those days, and a lot of waking up crying. Like, coming to consciousness and finding myself already crying. I’m doing that less these days, and that’s not because I’m used to this as the “New Normal.” It’s because one simply must function, as one does in times of war and protracted national emergency. I’m feeling tides move in and out, tides of despair and overwhelm and then the completely functional instinct to do the next right thing. We are doing this as best we can, and people are doing amazing activist work.

I’m very interested in memorialization, in remembering. In looking at hard things and marking them so that we can integrate them, as hard as they are. I offer this because it has helped. Once I said to myself, “Some bad shit exploded last year at this time,” then I was able to settle down, to see it and say, “Yep. That was some serious floor-falling-out bad shit.” It’s continued to be bad, but that was a rough transition in those weeks.

The body remembers. So here we are. One foot in front of the other.

How will you mark it? How will you see it for yourself, nod to it and say, “I see you. And yet here I am”?

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