It's probably no coincidence that I watched the film, Gravity, last night. But the thought didn't occur to me until later during the sleepless night and I began thinking about the election and how it has made me feel.
The movie's visual effects included space trash speeding into and destroying whole space stations, astronauts spinning out of control and untethered into space and frantically grabbing for life-saving handholds in a gravity-free environment. All apt metaphors for how I feel and, it seems, how a plurality of the country's voters feel right now.
After several days of allowing grief to have its way (not that it's over, just that I needed to step aside and honor this part of my process), I'm looking around for handholds. Today I have two.
The first is intellectual, and something I've been thinking about for a while: electoral reform. Ideas I'm interested in and following are:
1) Remaking the electoral college not by constitutional change, but by statute. So far, ten states and D.C have voted for a change at the state level that makes a lot of sense to me;
2) Eliminate jerrymandering of Congressional districts;
3) Repeal Citizens United (I know, fat chance now that Republicans have most of the legislative, and - soon - judicial, power, but still).
My second hand-hold consists of self-care practices I've developed to deal with the pain of chronic migraine disease:
1) Remember to breathe deeply and slowly, soften my hands and belly, smile just a bit. A cup of tea.
2) Step away as needed from noise, chaos, news, and other anxiety-making things around me;
3) Go to the Y for a workout even when I really don't feel like it;
4) Meditation, reflection and prayer.
5) This is the handhold I determined on during those first shocked moments when the election was called for Trump, and the one that remains strong, if hard to follow: I promised myself I would not descend into hatred. That determination includes rejecting the impulse to do as the Republicans have done to Obama and Hillary Clinton - deride every move and word, refuse to see anything positive in the person or the policies, block all cooperation and collaboration out of sheer vindictiveness, and make up and disseminate lies.
I must admit, though I'm not proud of it, the impulse to hatefulness is in me. Parts of me feel vengeful, self-righteous and radically unwilling to stick to the high road. Give them a taste of their own medicine! It's their fault we're in this mess!
Even typing the previous paragraph makes my blood boil, and yet I know I'll be unhappy with myself, ultimately, if I allow those lower impulses to triumph.
I need to stop and take some deep breaths. But first I need to make one thing clear: taking the high road precludes me from what I described above, but it also gives me a place from which to point out misogyny, racism, xeonphobia, white nationalism, and other forms of prejudice (against persons with disabilities, for example) I fear have become normalized by President-Elect Trump.
< breathe >
< breathe >
< breathe >
This blog chronicles my work and thoughts as a writer. - Carol D. Marsh