The words aren’t coming tonight, y’all. I’d intended for my second blog post to be a venture into our current pre-baby lives: a place to set the stage for what is (God-willing) to come, but I have to tell you a secret: I did something I wasn’t supposed to do.
I’ve been a bit addicted to social media these last few months. To set the stage for you a bit:
On November 8th, I had what felt like the last normal night in a very long time. I fell asleep watching the results of the election pour in on TV with tears in my eyes and a horrible sinking feeling in my stomach. My – then fiancee – stroked my hair and told me to go to sleep – that it was too early to make any predictions and that I needed to relax. “What if…” I choked out, a knot forming in my throat. “What if…”
I drifted off for a few short, relatively peaceful hours, and when I awoke, I checked Facebook simply to settle my fears as I’d hoped to fall back asleep peacefully – certain that what the news had been predicting as I’d fallen asleep had been wrong. Inaccurate. A mistake.
I scrolled past post, after post, of what I imagined to be guttural cries of disbelief, shock, and horror – if Facebook posts could could mirror the spoken voices of their written words. I began to cry: silently at first, followed by deep hiccups and sobs. I literally felt like someone had died. The last time I cried that much I’d gone through the most significant breakup of my life. I felt devastated. Defeated. Broken.
I woke my fiancee and told her what I’d seen. “Go back to bed,” she pleaded. “We both have to work tomorrow.” She doesn’t follow politics. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say she hates it, which is dumbfounding at times, because the actions of politicians in this country can have a dramatic affect on our personal lives and newly afforded rights as a married couple. Still – she hates it. I got myself a blanket, curled up on the couch ,and scrolled through Facebook for another hour or so – searching for any small signs that the world wasn’t completely different than the one I’d inhabited before I’d fallen asleep. I knew so few supporters of our new president, before the election. Everyone I’d spoken with agreed that he was unstable, uncouth, and unintelligent. The only people I’d seen support him before the election were people who were so far right that they may have casted a vote for der fuhrer himself, had he been on the ballot.I couldn’t fathom a world in which more people than not valued antisemitism, homophobia, racism, and misogyny – the only things it had seemed as though that man had stood up for in the months leading up to his election. That world made me so angry, so fearful, and so incredibly sad. (Note: as it turns out, I was incorrect in that assumption about what “more people than not” stood for, but nonetheless, our president is now our president and onward we move…)
It took a beautiful middle-of-the-night conversation with an old friend from college, some messages of solidarity and warmth from people I had not spoken with in the recent past, a few more hours of sleep, a day of mourning, and a few – very candid – conversations during which my wife let me know what she thought of my newfound obsession with politics – to realize that the world wasn’t completely different, my life not in complete disarray as a result of the election, and that hope and beauty still existed in the world – and perhaps more importantly at that moment- in my life. And that is still getting me through each day of our new reality.
So fast forward to yesterday – my wife bet me (or…let’s be honest, she gave me a kind ultimatum) that I couldn’t stay off of Facebook for one week (where I end up having access to more political news and opinions than I probably need access to on a daily basis). When I sat down to make this post, I’d been a little more than 24 hours Facebook free since I’d logged out on my phone, but I was still logged in (browser tab open and all) on my laptop. This naturally led to an unplanned relapse, and I’m once again after reading the hateful (and oftentimes plain ignorant) words of friends and family, I am left feeling angry, sad, and frustrated (three feelings which have been regular company in my life these last three months), so when I sat down to write a happy post about some of the background for our upcoming fertility doctor visit (and a little story about our wedding), I couldn’t find the words.
There is so much more I would like to articulate about my feelings about the election and the new demander-in-chief (and please don’t think that “gay rights” are what is driving me to feel the sadness and dread that I do, as it is so, so much more than that), but I think that’s enough for tonight, and probably for a while on this blog. I want this to be a predominately happy and safe space, but it is challenging because it doesn’t really feel like we live in a happy or safe world at the moment. Having a household led by two women puts us in a particularly precarious position in this “new” country, and I feel as though I routinely oscillate between fear and rage: the only two knee-jerk reactions that I think could protect us in a situation which warranted protection, and that makes me angry and sad.
Battles have never been won, though, by people curling up into holes and succumbing to their fears and rage, and I certainly do not plan to try. Each day, I wake up and think about the positive things I can do to impact the world around me, and have begun looking into regularly baking goods for an area homeless shelter, and volunteering time at an Islamic cultural center (if they’ll have me – still waiting to hear back).
I think one of my biggest fears still is the fact that I could be bringing children into a world that is less safe, less kind, and less welcoming than the one I was born into over 30 years ago and that is simply unacceptable. I think that parents have a responsibility to handing their children a world that is just a little bit better than the one they were given – otherwise, what is the point of it all? Of having children? Of LIVING?
I refuse to hand my children anything less than what I was given, and I am damn sure going to try to give them something greater than I had, and hope that I also gift them with the skills and confidence to make it even better.
I hope, I hope…