As we are coming up on Valentine’s Day, I thought it high time I reach out and let you know how much I adore and love you Joe. Of course, I’m no home-wrecker, so let’s be clear, my love is strictly platonic. Besides I respect your Dr. Jill too much to turn your head. Undeniably, ever since you stood on the main stage and then stepped into the Oval office, I’ve been swooning. It’s more than your aviators or the way you roll up your sleeves with that cool let’s-get-to-work-attitude, but neither of those styling choices hurt. Who doesn’t love a man that knows how to get the job done and looks like a badass doing it? Oh Joe, Americans are so ready for someone smart and skilled and reliably ready to clean up the mess after four years of that incendiary would-be-King who lost the election yet lead a mob of ignorant and deceived to desecrate our Democracy and declare him Emperor. But to hell with that failed insurrection, just come on into our day to day and do your reuniting thing. Welcome you beautiful dish, President Joe Biden.
It strikes me as privilege to begin again. For a door to open when before there were only walls. There is no doubt my life has unfolded with tremendous privilege from the get-go. My first memorable do-over happened at 16 when living at home with my parents no longer suited any of us in that scenario. The whys are a whole other story, but after a short search, my parents landed me in a New England boarding school for my last two years of high school. Standing in a dorm room with my mother, my trunk and suitcase unpacked next to my unmade extra-long single, she told me, in no uncertain terms, to break from my childhood nickname, from all the troubles incurred in my childhood home, and leave behind everything that still tied me down. This is your chance, she whispered before leaving me in that unknown landscape. Needless to say, I stumbled, only to find myself lost in the dark, unprepared for such broad horizons. I was raised in the dust-storm of a large household not sure what part of me was me; I found myself hesitant what to choose when the whole palette of decisions was there for me to pick from. So confused, I fell into the blackness of night for many years. As Katherine May so artfully described, “Winter had begun.”
“By winter, she means not just the cold season, but “a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, sidelined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider“” (Mcalpin).
One by one the lamps were all extinguished, except that Mr. Carmichael, who liked to lie awake a little reading Virgil, kept his candle burning rather longer than the rest… [Mr. Carmichael brought out a volume of poems that spring, which had an unexpected success. The war, people said, had revived their interest in poetry] (Woolf, To the Lighthouse). Much like the characters in Woolf’s novel, we too, only yesterday, took a step away from our four year war against lies and misinformation, against bigotry and racism, against incivility and immorality, seeking solace from an elder statesman and a young poet, and on a historic Inauguration day, we got more than we could have hoped for in the wisdom of President Biden and the spoken poetry of Amanda Gorman. Unity. Light. A reminder of our America.