It really isn’t because I’m reading Claire Dederer’s latest memoir, Love and Trouble, but I must admit, she’s gotten me thinking. About how I wished I wrote with her daring pen. About all those crazy-ass years when I was running straight into the black, and these slightly more stable years, when some of that crazy is boomeranging back. But it isn’t totally that either, it’s my job and the demands that are clear insanity but you can’t actually admit to it because it’s your job after all and you need to keep it a few more years; it’s the guy in the White House who I can’t bring myself to call president or give his title a capital letter but still, you know he’s there and the whole world is acting like he didn’t in fact steal the election but somehow might be qualified even though he’s the very definition of shit show; it’s about summer’s abrupt end and my love of drinking a tad too much rosé, okay my addiction that hasn’t stopped even though I know better and one should stop drinking Summer’s Water; but ultimately it’s about racing and racing every day ahead of just about every deadline so that I can feel like I have it together but know I don’t. Yeah, today, it’s all of that.
But life is more than that, right? It is more than the rushing and the falling and breaking apart. We have those illuminated moments when we see the blue in the sky and know for certain that we are alive for a purpose and we exhale the day’s excess and take in the light. We embrace love. But. We remember that lies are part of our news sources, running like invisible wires through our internet and personal feeds but we just don’t care because this universe is bigger than SnapChat and we inhale hope. Exhale crap. For that brief moment. We put down our phones. We look up and out. We laugh out loud. We say what we want to say. We yell. We forget. We remember. We ride right into dusk smiling.
I can’t stop the president’s lies or the soaring uncontrolled gun violence or the hatred stemming from the newly galvanized white supremacists waving their dusty Confederate flags but I can support the transgender student in my classroom, and the service club formalizing their platform of acceptance and action, and the same sex couple who sit with me in the guidance office wanting to help their child and the church that opens their door and the daring policies crafted to create safe spaces amidst discrimination in our state legislature. For there is a new wave, and we can feel it rippling when we talk to the young members of our community. They are ready for a rainbow world. They see the light through the trees. Just ask. There may be a shit show on the big stage, but on the smaller one, they’re questioning. Connecting. Holding true.
I can’t help but wonder, what if? What if we did elect the woman who won the popular vote? The woman who spoke with perfect grace, and stimulating intelligence, who might have bridged differences instead of expanding the divide. What if? I am almost afraid to let myself imagine. It’s like the greatest sexual fantasy, the one that drives you right into ecstasy so fast that you are embarrassed and spend the next twenty minutes apologizing because you wanted to be way cooler than exploding like that. That’s how bad I wanted her. Still. Want her.