It’s day three in our new American nightmare. The thing we could not possibly imagine has happened. Again this morning I woke up and let the reality settle in. Yes, we did this. We elected him. This is happening. This is real.
This is not a hot take. Today I am thinking about going slow.
On Day Three, I’m eating okay again. There was a startling moment on Tuesday night when I realized I hadn’t really been eating much for the last week or so. On Tuesday night, I looked at the perfectly lovely meal my husband had made and thought it would take every ounce of willpower I had to take another bite. I love eating and I tend to over-eat when I’m anxious. Whole bags of potato chips have disappeared in an hour. This was new. And scary. But on Day Three, I can say that my appetite has survived.
I’m thinking a lot about anger. I’m angry. People on Twitter are angry. My students are angry. We have good reasons to be angry. But I’m also thinking about how corrosive anger is. It eats away at you. It turns you into something you don’t really want to be. It doesn’t hurt the people you’re angry at. They don’t care or they enjoy our anger. Our anger hurts us and yet, it is real. It is natural. What do we do with it now?
On Day Three, being white has never felt more gross.
I’m listening to Hamilton. In fact, I don’t really have to listen to Hamilton anymore. It’s in my head constantly. All the time. When I’m writing on the board in class, Hamilton is in my head. When I’m going to bed at night. When I’m walking. I’m hearing voices all the time. Leslie Odom Jr.’s voice. Lin Manuel-Miranda’s voice. They are with me.
On Day Three, I’m trying to make sure everyone around me is okay. I’m checking in. I’m keeping a tally.
I’m taking comfort in my students. They are sad and angry and scared. They are also strong and fearless and in many ways, smarter than me. I am trying to listen to them—to really hear them. I am trying in the smallest way possible to help them figure out how to be now and what to do. I am making sure they know that I don’t have the answers.
I am thinking about what comes next. I need to do something now. Something more than I’ve done in the past. I’m not sure what it is and I don’t think rushing into the answer is a good idea. I am taking my time. I’m thinking it through.
On Day Three, I am not a very friendly person. A white woman in town passes and says hello to me. I don’t answer. I don’t make eye contact with white people I don’t know. I live in Trumpland. I feel surrounded by the enemy. I want to stop people and shake them and say, “Did you do this to us? Did you bring this into being? Why?” I am made more nervous than ever by the sound of white men laughing together.
I’m reading. I’m trying to write but it’s hard; there’s not much room left for words inside my head. I’m making lists of books and art to save us. I’m thinking of stories as weapons to arm ourselves with.
I’m mostly staying away from Facebook and Twitter. It is not helping me. I am creating some healthy path between not-knowing and doing what I can. I don’t know if it’s possible. I don’t know how to get there. Each step is hard to make. I lift my foot. I wait. I think. I cry. I go slow. I take a step