Hello, dear, neglected blog. It’s been a while. Not my fault. The world has gone all cattywampus, and I’ve lost my sense of humor. Very few things seem funny to me these days. Well, except for that obese and malignant cat that lives a few blocks over. His regal distain of all living things always makes me chuckle. He’s just so over it.
So am I, kitty. So am I.
The new administration hasn’t even gotten near the White House yet and I am so over Trump’s White Supremacist, KKK-endorsing inner circle that I am seriously exhausted and it’s not even 9 AM. I cannot see what is remotely humorous in the spike in hate crimes or of having to endure years of Trump’s opportunistic, pocket-lining, big-game-killing offspring–Sure! Give them all security clearance. What the hell! I’ll be over here, subsisting on my end-of-the-world toast and merlot diet for the duration. I tell you what, I had better shake off this glum nihilism or the first fatality of the Trump administration is going to be my liver…Okay. That was a little funny.
A couple days ago, I needed to have a tooth extracted. Because November wasn’t depressing enough, obviously. As part of the process, I had my blood pressure taken. Interestingly, I had another appointment, pre-election and I knew for a fact that my blood pressure had been right about normal for me, hovering in the 107/70 area. This week? 137/87. And I was not particularly upset at the time. Forget the liver, my heart is fixin’ to explode long before the cirrhosis sets in.
Still, the rational side of me, the part that is mature and not prone to weeping every time a video surfaces of neo-nazis chanting “Hail Trump! Victory is ours!” is struggling mightily to find the lessons in all this. You never learn more about yourself than when, as my Grandma used to say, “It’s all gone to pot.”
Example; a few months ago, I read a great story in a book by Thich Nhat Hahn. A group of monks were sitting on a hillside when a farmer ran up and frantically demanded to know if they had seen his cows. The monks hadn’t and the farmer was pushed to despair over the loss. When he left, one monk turned to the others and said, “Brothers, do you know why you are so happy? Because you have no cows to lose.” Hahn then spoke of the cows as being all the things, positive and negative, that we believe we must cling to in order to be happy. He encouraged his readers to name their cows, so to speak, and then let them go.
Being from Wisconsin, I love me a good cow metaphor. So I thought about it and named my cows. They were;
Sanctimony–and because this was back when I had a sense of humor,
Flash forward to mid-November and I hear myself telling Hubby, “I hope it all goes to hell. I hope he drives this country straight into the ground. I am willing to go, too, if all those idiots lose everything and understand what they’ve done!” Then I stopped, startled by my own vehemence.
“Dude.” I said, shocked, “I think one of my cows is named Vengeance.”
Let me tell you, I am lucky to be married to this particular man. Instead of looking disappointed in me, or chastising me, he looked at me so very kindly and said that given my experiences growing up it only made sense that this election would be a trigger for me, that I would be so fearful. I’ve mentioned before that Monty-Python watching, theater performing bookworms weren’t exactly embraced in the town I grew up in. On any given day, I would be happy enough, minding my own business, humming show tunes to myself, right up until someone threw a basketball at my head, say, and called me an “art fag.” As a result, I have some dark suspicions about human nature. Dark.
Safety has therefore been a big issue to me, something I didn’t feel in the small town I grew up in. So I moved to a much more diverse city. I adopted beautiful brown children and cheered when gay marriage became a reality. I was living a big Kumbaya moment with the possibility of a female president, and then they won. Every asshole I knew growing up. Every racist, horrible, close-minded, violent jerk in this country won and the fragile sense of safety and optimism I had built up disintegrated. I cried for days. I’m crying a little bit, now. And yet…
Worse men than Trump have tried to bring their dystopias to pass. Men who were truly twisted and not just weak. History is littered with them. Our current day, too. And yet all the values that I cherish still exist. Every gentle inclination of the human heart. How is that possible, I wonder? And then I think of our patio. I think of how we dug away the fertile top soil. How we covered the earth with pebbles and weighed it down with stone. How solid it seemed, how impenetrable. And I think of the tiny blades of grass that I find constantly peeking through the surface. How? Why? Because it is their nature to be tender and green and to reach for the sun. The oppressive weight of the stone does not deter them. Nor does the darkness. I currently find it very inspiring. It makes me think that the very least I can do is rename one of my cows Kindness. I’ll let go of the rest, but him I’ll keep. You are welcome to come and sit with us any time you’d like.