I Cannot Think In Subject Lines Today, So Please Note That 2021 Wants You To Hold Its Beer.
|Amy Widdowson||Jan 7||2|
I couldn’t sleep last night. I tried: I hid my phone after I couldn’t scroll the internet anymore, my heart still racing after a day of news none of us could hide from, none of us could look away from, I got into bed and shut out the world and attempted the breathing practice I use whenever I know my cortisol levels will prevent me from resting. But then two loud bangs, maybe in my half-dream state, maybe in the real world, awoke me and I was up again, shaking and scrolling.
Yesterday was horribly surreal. As my father texted, it was “historic. Kennedy assassination historic. MLK historic. 9/11 historic.” It was historic in that “where we you” kind of collective trauma memory way: I was in the middle of a media training, and after coming back from a break, the executive we were training said “Has anyone seen? The Capitol’s been stormed.”
That’s my “where was I moment”, on Zoom “surrounded” by colleagues and clients. And what did I do? What I always do: I compartmentalized and threw myself into work, because the alternative was actually watching what was happening and dissolving on my living room floor. Did I ever think my career would include drafting reactive executive statements about an attempted domestic coup on the U.S. Capitol? Yea, high school Amy would be pretty damned concerned about 2021, that’s for sure.
And I’m angry. Those who’ve spurred this on must be held accountable for their craven ambition and willful deceit. The country is being held hostage by the mewling petulance and violent inclinations of a minority of tantrum-havers, grown-ass (mostly) white men and women fed a social media diet of lies and conspiracy, hell bent on recapturing a mythical before time that never was. They believe something was stolen from them because manicured politicians who believe that playing footsie with fascism is justified by a couple points in the polls have TOLD THEM that. Elected men and women, whose salaries are paid by my tax dollars and yours, think it’s cool to cosplay Authoritarianism and then are shocked - SHOCKED - when the tiger rips off their face and tears down the curtains. I cannot tolerate any disingenuous shock at what happened yesterday, it’s what we’ve been describing could happen since 2015. And those politicians should bear the full brunt of their actions in propping up a narcissistic Cheeto dictator with hurt feelings and a desire to watch the world burn. And don’t get me started on the Capitol police who may have literally opened the doors to this.
And all of this pain and fear and anxiety on top of our historic double Senate win in Georgia. It should have been a beautiful day - I’ve had the pleasure of assisting our amazing SF Call Crew led by the inimitable Austin Hunter in redirecting our phone bank prowess towards the special election, and seeing that result, seeing that a Black pastor and a Jewish millennial internet nerd won, should have been a moment of relief and jubilation.
What made me cry for the first time yesterday? A tweet at 4:12 PM PT showing the electoral college ballots marched back into the chamber, because a quick-thinking Senate staffer had grabbed them before the Chamber was breached. It made me cry because that person, that staffer, that one individual human did their job faced with one of the scariest moments anyone can imagine. And they understood the gravity of the moment, and they did what they could. That is beautiful and should be celebrated.
I didn’t want to write this morning. I didn’t want to tap into the dread and fear and deep sorrow I’m feeling, because I worry that if I do I’ll break, that if I let myself feel anything, I’ll slip into myself and never emerge. But yesterday, I did tweet about booze, saying “Seeing a lot of tweets about "well, guess Dry January's over now." Which, ok, I get, but if you are someone with substance issues and you've stayed sober, today is not the day you throw away your achievement because of these terrorist losers. They're not worth it. DMs are open.” And I received lovely notes about people newly on their sober journey, and that drew me back to myself.
We are all broken and angry and scared. But there are good, kind people out there. So what do we do in this situation, when we are so close to ourselves dissolving?
We take care of each other. Because that is who we are. Who I am.
And by the way, did we ever find out who was responsible for the Christmas gingerbread monolith in San Francisco? I would like to discuss that again, to talk about absurd and joyful public art, however temporary it may be.
Be kind to each other.