Wednesday, November 9, 2016

November 9, 2016

Yesterday, almost from the moment I voted, I experienced a sensation of strength much the way voting always makes me feel. There was also a pretty sure happiness. This hideous campaign was OVER. Time to look forward.

What I was expecting, we do not have to look forward to after all.

The things this cannot take from me, though, are almost obsessively on my mind this rainy autumn morning.

Rainy autumn mornings, finally cooling down.

The tum of my sweet Pum, when I lean over her to hug her and wrap my arms around her middle. Gossamer's purr.

My health. This blessing, surrounded as I have been for ... years now, with people I love who do not have it, has come to mean a great deal. I am immensely grateful for my health. And the year or so I've been working out; how much *that* means to me, how good it makes me feel to do it.

My mom. My stepfather. My brother. My nieces. My friends - I have such ripplingly, gloriously, wonderfully fine and good friends. The mere knowledge these people love me. Nothing can take away what that means.

The city I live in. It isn't perfect, but its swamps, its architecture, its history, its beauty, its schools and universities, its people, so many such richly beautiful and interesting and good people. This home is mine, and I belong to the land I came from.

The little locket I wore to vote yesterday, that was my grandmother's and bears her tooth marks from when she was a little girl and tested it the old fashioned way, to see whether it was gold. The picture of my dad, inside. The family I miss, who are gone but are inextricably mine, my blood and my memory. The family I love, no matter how far away.

My talents. My writing.

Nothing can take from me these powerful, important blessings.

And, to my friends, nothing can take me from you. We have to have each other. I thought of so many people this morning, after a night of quaking in my guts, after a night spent fear-pooping through denial and horror. All the so-very-different people I love, who honor me back with their regard.

It would dishonor them for me to give in to despair. It would say the blessings I have are not enough.

I wore the bright, light clothes I laid out last night with different hopes in my heart. I wore the beautiful necklace Cute Shoes gave to me, and the stylish little shoes, and I brushed my hair and put myself together. Walked Penelope. Fed the babies.

My neighborhood is not less beautiful today than yesterday. What concrete things are mine are mine, at least today, and what ineffable things are mine remain in place: along with my gratitude.

You have to practice gratitude. It's like anything else - if you don't practice, you'll never get good at it. Ten thousand hours.

Today is my recital, and I have to nail it.

I am grateful.

I am afraid.


E.M. Goldsmith said...

Do not be afraid. You are good person. And no matter what I still believe most people are good and strive for high ideals. It will be alright and your reaction is a great credit to you. Keep that gratitude and kindness and no matter who thinks they are in power, it won't matter. You will add to the light and not to the darkness and that is all any of us can do.

If more of us than not can hold strong to kindness and compassion and resist letting those who are full of hate from provoking us into rash action born of anger, the world will get brighter. No matter who thinks they are in charge. Take care, Diane. You are such a cool lady with such wonderful passion. Nothing will change that.

DLM said...

Elise, you got me all goopy in the eyeballs there. You state it all so poetically - I can hardly recognize you mean me. Thank you. You're one person I already had reason to be grateful for, with the recent inspiration after I went to your blog (

Scritch Frankie for me. I'll be holding on to Pen and Goss for dear life. Because their lives are dear to me. :)

Donnaeve said...

Like Elise said, don't be afraid. It will be fine. Julie said, Trump has been/was a Dem, and only recently changed. I believe he will work across the aisle, and make good things happen. A lot of folks are worried about ACA. We had to drop it. Had it for two years - but, when we had to pay every bit of the subsidy back earlier this year to the tune of $10K we said, no more. Because we're both self-employed with our income as unpredictable as the weather, it's difficult to est. our future earnings. We took our best guess based on the previous year, and over-earned by $1,000.00. Think about it. Made $1000 dollars more and had to pay back $10K.

Anyway! It's going to be all right, Diane, I really think so.

DLM said...

I've known a long time you were being silent, and I've always respected you, Donna. Speaking with you, speaking with my friend at work who has a Tea Party license plate and voted for Johnson - these things remind me, people are not trying to be bad.

But my privilege protects me. I feel for those who have reason to fear - and, after the campaign we have seen, fear is not unreasonable. We've weathered hanging chads and Watergate and terrorism, domestic and otherwise, and I've always been fortunate, deserving or no. Right now, I don't know how safe I am. Or how safe those who are more vulnerable by far can expect to be.

Jeff said...

I didn't vote for the President-Elect (or for his rival—I left the president line blank) and I think the next four years will be a clown show. But we're so in debt as a country and as a people that I couldn't imagine it would be otherwise no matter who got elected. That said, I'll find it a ray of sunshine if we can finally de-celebritize the presidency and turn our focus on the local, where everything real and worthy happens anyway.

Let me share a little bit about where I live. We're an agricultural reserve, with gorgeous fields and forests protected by perspicacious liberals in the 1980s and populated by fairly conservative hunters and farmers. In the nearest town, the more conservative-leaning Baptist church provides space for the local charity that runs the food pantry, drives the elderly to their medical appointments, and helps pay the bills of people who fall on hard times. The local hunters' charity just provided them with 200 pounds of venison. The Episcopal church, which attracts the town's liberals, provides lunch each day for a hundred high-school kids and anyone else who shows up hungry, no questions asked. All of the churches in town have banded together to form a new charity that taps the skills of our many contractors by doing free home repairs for the elderly. When a single mom who works at the pharmacy fell on hard times, we raised $2,000 for her on GoFundMe in a matter of days.

I don't mean to suggest that I live in Utopia. Our community has problems, and every night over dinner the high-school teacher in my household makes me all the more aware of them. But I've loved seeing what neighbors gladly do for each other across racial, religious, and partisan lines when it's clear, as the outgoing president said today, that "we're all on the same team."

You know by now how sour I am about politics and politicians. I think we spent too much money and effort trying to elect our avatars to lofty offices where they're compromised by politics and money and constrained by necessary checks and balances; stuff would get done if that same effort were put toward local matters. The winner of this election raised $306 million. The loser of this election raised $687 million and spent $609 million of it—and that's not even counting the hundreds of thousands of hours of free labor by volunteers. When I think about how many people could have been fed, clothed, educated, and employed in the communities of those donors and volunteers, it makes me queasy.

Except in extreme cases, the presidency matters less to most Americans' daily lives than the media (especially social media) would have us believe. Take heart! Politics are ephemeral; our communities, our circles of friends and neighbors, the world around us and the art we create and the faiths we hold dear are all meaningful and real. My own circles are so politically and ideologically diverse that I can't look at people I disagree with and see the worst. All I see are people fumbling around, doing the best they can and often failing—just like me.

DLM said...

That second to last paragraph: ever so YES. And sigh.

The thing that bothers me is not my own wellbeing. I'm white and well-privileged. It's the well founded fears so many other people are facing right now. While the presidency may be a remote institution, the fact is I've seen numerous examples already of people up against the real-world consequences of losing health care and prescriptions, children whose parents are illegals, and on and on. It's not that easy for a lot of people to just get over this and go on with daily life, because they face the real prospect that the daily life they know and work for is not going to be preserved.

I may not succumb to fear, nor allow it to metastasize into hatred. But it is fear that got us here, and some of that fear HAD metastasized. Anger and hatred have become a driving political force around the globe. We've got nothing we can take for granted.