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May You Live in Interesting Times

This is not a great time to be a sensitive person walking the world.

I’ve read a number of lovely blog posts that are clinging to hope, despite the dark and interesting times that our new administration seems to have put us in.  I’ve read poems and shared in the general outcry of the many, many people that are horrified at the recent actions of our country to tear apart Muslim families.  As the wife of a former green card holder, it’s been difficult not to walk around in panic, because our story can’t be told without also being an immigrant story that is very much like the people that I am reading about now — people who are being detained not 10 miles from my house.

My heart is not light, so I’m finding it hard to write light-hearted.  I have half a dozen blog posts that are queued up in draft, because I can’t quite seem to get to the right frame of mind to put something silly and frivolous into the world.

There is much that I could tell you about, much that I should have told you about by now.  We moved into a new house at Hallowe’en and settled into it. There were new couches and holidays and visitors and movies and books. I’ve been deep in research for a big writing project that’s now transitioning into plotting and draft writing.  I even went to a really big feminist party the day after the inauguration and cried at the sight of the hundreds of thousands of people with me that were standing up to say that they were watching the new administration.

I even got a new hat.

 

 

But it all feels very trivial, when turning to news or Facebook is such an onslaught of terrible things.  I found myself crying at work as I came across an article of a breastfeeding 11-month-old that was separated from her mother for a full day because of Trump’s Muslim travel ban.  Each story of adult children just trying to get their elderly parents back home or spouses trying to reunite or refugees that nearly made it onto what were once safe shores has hit me so hard. My Irish in-laws keep asking me what is going on in my country and I am terrified by all the answers that keep coming out of my mouth.

It is very tempting to go hide in fiction for the next four years.  That is, actually, part of what I’ve been doing to restore myself.  Each night, after we talk at dinner of all the terrible things that have happened each day, I hide on the couch and cover myself in blankets and let myself luxuriate in story telling.  If I close my eyes, will it just go away?

Unfortunately not, not if I want the world to be a place for Baba, with her double passports and international family.  Not if I want to lift my head and look back at these days and respect myself for not standing by the side and letting others speak out against deep injustice.

And so.  There is work to do, even if it feels like my efforts accomplish very little.  I saw a tweet recently quoted somewhere that said that if you always wondered how you would have behaved as you read about history, then you’re getting a good chance to know, because whatever it is that you’re doing now is what you would have done then.

That’s stuck with me – as both a calling and a command.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Tough times, indeed. I gather strength from reading The Weekly Sift, a blog written by a New Hampshire liberal who takes a reasonable, deep look and analysis of life now in our political world. I take comfort from reading the reactions of people who thought Trump’s presidency would be otherwise. What really scares me is Trump’s and his staff’s disrespect for the truth and for facts — does that mean he won’t honor his oath of office? He won’t defend the Constitution? I write a commentary blog, Eyes on Life, where I’ve written a couple open letters to Trump and plan more. It helps to get it out there. Whether it makes a difference, I don’t know. But I’m doing something.

    Another thing I’m trying to do is confront the negativity with something positive. It can be hard when I’m feeling negative, but like Obama, I have faith in the people, even those low-information voters who believed every word out of Trump’s mouth and who want results, no matter the consequences of those results. I take heart in knowing I am not alone. I too have friends who have immigrant stories much like yours and they are confused, angry, hurt, frightened. Put your writing skills to go use! Write your federal representatives (both Congresspeople and Senators) as well as those in Congress who don’t directly represent your district. Write Speaker Ryan for example. Write your Governor also. Keep writing them. Make certain they understand you will not go away. Encourage others to do the same (and help them with their letters or postcards if they don’t feel confident in their writing abilities).

    What is important now is not to be passive.

    • Mae McDonnell Mae McDonnell

      I could not agree more. Thanks for the references for new reading, Cinda!

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