I'm sitting next to all my luggage (or my emotional baggage I should say), waiting for a shuttle to the airport, proudly wearing by Barbara Kruger shirt that says "Your Body Is A Battleground." This shirt is my armor today, helping me feel ready to face the new world, which is very different from where I left it 12 days ago. I hear that there's protests in airports happening today. There's yelling in the streets. And honestly, I feel so unprepared for what I'm about to walk into, having been secluded from so much of it, nestled in my little artistic cocoon, surrounding myself with like-minded people, sharing our hopes and fears regarding the new administration. Do I really have to leave all that? Yes.
I might not be prepared for what is happening (are any of us really?), but I know this is not okay. This is not normal. There's a lot of pain, sadness, and anger circling us. And we have a choice to either feel beaten down by the news or rise up and join the revolution. I choose to rise. It's time for further action. Please don't just sit back and watch it all fall apart. It's time to do something. For me, that includes continuing to call and send postcards to representatives, joining the marching in the streets, talking to people to gain perspective, encouraging others to rise, and fundraising for/donating to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. It primarily includes writing, because that's my voice.
The election and all that's happened since then was definitely a wake up call. But guess what? Now I'm awake and it's time to get back to the real work.
I said I was going to write one blog a week, and I'm committing to that goal. Now, my brain is nearly mush. It's been a long couple of days. There's been marching, crying, hugging, and work. So much work. But the other night, January 19, I pulled out my journal and jotted down the following words I want to share with you here:
"The last day of some greatness. The eve of a new presidency. I lie in bed in Park City, Utah, part of something larger than me. Everything is a movement. We are a movement and we can't stop moving. We can't stop fighting. We must stay strong, aware, and full of light. Light drowns out the darkness and illuminates the beauty hidden in the shadows. We the people. We, the people. Not us versus them. We. The power of unity and love. Not me and these few people. All people. All of us. In order to form a perfect union. Union. Unity. Like a quilt. We are like fabric. Like a flag sewn together, representing our divided colors, blending together in harmony to create something magnificent.
We will not be broken. We will rise. I refuse to give in to the fear. I refuse to back track and live in the past. We are the future. I am the future. We and I and you and all of us, we fight on. We carry the conversations forward and piece together what we can, peacefully.
Now I sleep. Scared of tomorrow but knowing we've been through worse. We rise and grow and carry on. We survive."
For over a week now, I've had the song "Be Prepared" from The Lion King stuck in my head. I haven't watched the movie recently, and just asked my partner to see if maybe he's been whistling it (he hasn't). So there's no logistical reason why this would just appear in my head. Unless... maybe... subconsciously I'm having this image on repeat in my mind and am literally telling myself to be prepared for what's coming on January 20th. Maybe.
The other day, I was walking to my favorite Thai restaurant to pick up dinner. As I was approaching the restaurant, a car whizzed by me on the street and some guy yelled something to me about a pussy out of his window. It really shook me up. I went home in tears trying to figure out why I was reacting the way I was. Yes, it was jarring and came out of nowhere, but I think my tears were coming from a place of pent up frustration and fear. I took it so personally. It's as if that guy knew I had a "Nasty Woman" t-shirt in my closet. He knew, and he saw me as "one of them," one of those crazy angry feminists. He knew how to hurt me and dig that knife a little deeper into my wound, reminding me of what we lost the day after the election. It broke my heart and made me angry at those who are thinking it's okay to objectify and demean others who are "different" like that. Because that's what it's coming down to isn't it? Us versus them.
I remember learning about "us versus them" in my musical theatre history class in college. It's a concept we can all relate to, even if it's not just people versus people. It can be us versus poor living conditions (Rent), versus the newspapers (Newsies), or even versus "the man" (School of Rock). But looking at what's going on in the world today, there's a lot of this happening. We see it in the long Facebook arguments. We hear it on the news. We feel it in our bones. And we're all learning as we go on how to be prepared for the next act.