I don’t really know how to exist in this space.
It’s a strange hyperloop, seesaw, ping pong game. I feel unsteady. I fluctuate between grief and action.
Living abroad exacerbates the tension. I want to be home in the comforting arms of friends and families, processing this sadness together. I’m ready to sit around kitchen tables and office whiteboards, plotting what’s next. I’m eager to mobilize and organize. Confused about which I need, I don’t know what response is right.
I don’t know what’s right anymore.
We are wounded. I know I need, we need, time to heal. We may need healing for a good long while. I see friends, and strangers who now feel like friends, who are genuinely at risk. They see their world shrinking, their safety threatened, their identity under attack. Our sense of who we are, personally and collectively, feels undone.
We cry alone and together. Devastated.
We refuse to feel helpless. My world feels off balance. I just want to do anything and everything I can to stabilize it. It’s like the time Mom was diagnosed with cancer and I obsessively implemented a cancer-fighting diet. (Who knew we could eat so much bok choy and turmeric?) I went into full fix-it mode. When a friend died, I spent two straight days scanning photos for her memorial service until my eyes burned from screens and tears. It’s a pattern, how I cope. I feel out of control and I want it back.
I feel lost, and become desperate for find a path forward. Determined.
I’m convinced I’m ready to “move on.” I’m convinced I’ve found my footing again. But, when someone asks me about the election, the tears flow again. I worry I’m being irrational, my sadness unjustified. Then I see pictures of swastikas and posts about unprovoked hate spewed from stranger to stranger. I remember pussy grabs and women too ugly to assault. Realizations come that sadness and fear are wholly rational.
I’m homesick for a home I feel is itself suffering, sick. Devastated.
Inspired by friends full of strength and commitment, I make donations to organizations that protect and represent values under threat. I commit harder to causes of inclusion, disability, women’s leadership, affordable housing, child and family services.
I make my plan for the next four years. Determined.
This is the cycle. Devastated then determined. Over and over again. I, we, exist simultaneously in these two spaces. Right now, many of us straddle our desire to hide under the covers and march in the streets. We want time to grieve but we feel required to respond. We mourn the hope lost when the world as we understood it came crashing down. We commit to progress promised when we cast our ballots.
For now, I think, it’s ok to be both. It’s ok to read an article about leaning into grief and responding with a desire to fight. It’s ok to hear cries for action, planning, and the need to fight and just not feel ready, not yet.
You are held in your devastation. You are supported in your determination.