I’ve been depressed. I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of fear, anger and resentment. My wounds have been so deep that my wife told me this morning that she had been looking for words or quotes to steady me (sidenote: it is GOOD to be loved and deeply known by someone who understands that words soothe my soul).
I found words this morning that settled me a bit; words to hold to; words to guide my thoughts and energy during this time when I want nothing more than to hunker down in a cave with my own people and wait out the next four years, survivalist-style.
Megan, from whynottedit.com, sent out her regular e-newsletter that I browsed through this morning as I was finishing off my coffee and watching our students trickle in. She addressed fast drafting and my grumpy self-critic appeared on my shoulder to mutter about all of the non-writing that I have been doing despite my promise to write something – anything – during NaNoWriMo. It was the end of her newsletter that had tears falling off my chin as our 8th graders settled into their seats and were picking up their copies of Ayn Rand’s Anthem for today’s discussion (approppos, don’t you think?).
My dream is to help underrepresented voices in publishing, the ones who are the most scared about the direction this country is headed at this moment in time, tell their stories. Because we need them now more than ever. We need to hear from people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, and immigrants. We need to be reminded of what’s at stake, so we keep fighting for the America we believe in. (Megan at whynottedit.com)
I quickly emailed Megan – thanking her for her willingness to put herself and her thoughts out there despite the contentious atmosphere, but even more importantly, I thanked her for sparking an idea deep in my soul; maybe there is a global urgency and civic duty for me to finish writing and getting my novel published. Maybe – just maybe – I need to write to add another strong voice to the critical mass of lgbtq+ authors, stories and perspectives. I’ve put my writing on the back burner for years because, well, life. And complacency. And laziness. And fear. But now – now, my fear is real and deeper and much, much more terrifying that being vulnerable to readers and critics or not being well-received, or my work landing on an dusty shelf, in the long-forgotten rows of books that are never read. Now, my fear is for the well-being and safety of my family and of myself. My fear is now that the different communities that I call my own are going to be threatened and torn apart and all of the civil rights and social justice strides that have been made will be lost and eroded, if not demolished outright.
I won’t be marching or rallying or gathering right now. I thought that I could be ready and participate this past weekend but, no, I’m not there. I am not ready to play nice or build bridges or be understanding or compassionate or proactive or whatever else that may be perceived to be constructive advocacy right now. I need to be home. I need to be alone with my loves. I need to not listen to or see the news. I need to insulate and protect myself and mine. I need to sleep. I need to write – in my voice – with my dreams – sharing my stories and those that come from inside of me because that is all that I have the energy and strength for right now.
But I am seeking ways to settle. I am seeking life-saving buoys to surround myself with so that when I am ready, I can grab on to and take action beyond my home. A friend introduced me to Danielle LaPorte a few weeks ago. I browsed through a few of her posts and in this one, Ms. LaPorte reframes the idea of emptiness. She calls emptiness “space”. Space. Space allows for growth, creation, movement – it allows for possibility. Since Tuesday, November 8th, I’ve been empty. I have felt as if my guts were carved out and all that remained was echoing emptiness. But, for the past few hours, I have been sitting in the possibility of space rather than emptiness; I have considered that possibility exists instead of hopelessness.
I don’t know what happens next. I know that I pity the person who tells me to “get over it” or suggests that my mourning and fear are sour grapes over a political race. Do what you need to in order to keep yourself and your loves well.