I so very often feel as though I am traversing that proverbial fine line, shambling awkwardly in a zig zag over and across it: the fine line between right and wrong; good and bad; honest and deceitful; joking and sarcastic; real or imagined; feeling or fact. We all navigate, with greater or lesser success, those very fine lines in our own lives. I’m struggling as I have only ever struggled once before in my life, with trying to figure out how to tread this fine line; the one between hope and despair. How can I blog about my insignificant life with it’s Lilliputian trials and tribulations when the world as we know it is on the brink of actual disaster?! When a narcissistic mean bully who outright lies and who engenders hate has just become the most powerful person on earth, how can I focus on and go on writing about such minutia as my teeny tiny thoughts and feelings?! I just want to fade to black and hide in the darkness until it is all over.
As we turned the corner in our neighborhood one day last week driving to school, and saw the sign in a neighbor’s yard with a picture of a freight train with TRUMP written on it, with the sign proclaiming, “Get on board or get run over”, Joita asked me why our side (democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever you call *us*) were continuing on our seemingly losing strategy of being, as she put it, “nicey nice”. There *they* are threatening to bash our heads in if we don’t “get on board” and here *we* are spouting rainbows and unicorns ( I would have said farting rainbows but Emily hates that). The whole “when they go low we go high” slogan doesn’t seem (even to a 17 year old) to be cutting it. The worst presidential nomination in the history of America has literally bulldozed over us and we’re sitting in circles weaving flowers in our hair and singing kumbaya. Joita asked, “why are we not fighting fire with fire”?! Because two wrongs don’t make a right honey. At least I think that’s why.
And in the meantime, as this all takes place on the U.S. slash World stage, I’ve still got to live my stupid little life! I still need to get up each morning and go to work, do my job, take care of my family, house, pet, car, yard. I still need to pay my stupid bills and taxes, shovel my driveway, do the laundry, grocery shop and prepare meals and other kinds of nourishment for my family. And yet, the whole chicken-little-time, the fucking sky is falling! It is a totally surreal mind-fuck.
I mean, these old folks are not going to take care of themselves you know. The bread in our family is not going to bake itself. And I’m still transgender and wrestling with whether or not I want to take testosterone. Which feels insignificant and monumental all at the same time. I remember when Nina was about 2. She came running into our room in the middle of the night, excitement coursing through her, practically illuminating her skin with electricity, she was exuberant with adrenaline, the look of a scientist holding a colossal breakthrough. She woke me up and breathlessly said, “Mommie, mommie! Joita is YOUR daughter and MY sister! At. The. SAME. Time!”
It was hard for her to believe that she could hold both those realities. That both of those realities could exist, be real, in the same universe at the same time. It stretched her mind, her sense of actuality. I’m feeling that same stretch right now. Which is the real reality? Are we on the brink of catastrophe? Or am I getting worked up over nothing that is going to actually affect my day to day life in any real way? And what about the lives of others? What about the progress we’ve made? Is it all going to be flushed down the toilet because petty little white, straight, Christian, cis-men are busy throwing hissy-fits? Or will the works just be perpetually gummed up by those same petty motherfuckers on each side trying to bitch-slap the other side into submission?
I went to the Women’s march in Boston this past weekend. It was amazing and up-lifting. Until they played “I am woman” by Helen Reddy. Those of us old enough to remember stopped walking and dazedly sang along. (I couldn’t believe I remembered all the words) Until we realized we were very near literally back in 1973 fighting for the same fucking things. From euphoria of the 175,000 estimated marchers singing, chanting and supporting one another, to the depths of despair. Within hours the new regime provided us with “alternative facts” of what we thought we had just witnessed and experienced. Something to the effect of “3 fat women with an ugly baby were spotted wandering aimlessly around the center of a small town in Idaho complaining about something or other. Nothing to see here”. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. We will tell you what the truth is. The march was small, insignificant, “not really against anything” they said. The inauguration was huge, at least a million and a half people exuberantly welcoming in the new president – despite photographic evidence to the contrary.
And I think that’s the hardest piece for me right now. The abject lying rejection of what I know (and can see with my own eyes) to be the truth. I spent too much of my life struggling to recognize truth and accept and embrace my reality, fighting against this gaslighting bullshit. I won’t go back now. I will not go back in the closet. I will not force myself to fit into the binary gender defined by others. And I will continue to be proudly Jewish. To the extent that I can stand up for others and speak their truth with them I will. I guess in some ways I’ve answered my own question (as often happens when I write – even though I’m struggling to write right now). My life is not so insignificant, even in the banalities, because as the song goes… like a small boat on the ocean, sending big waves into motion, like how a single word can make a heart open, I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion….
I will end with my version of a serenity prayer:
Grant me the wisdom to see the truth, the courage to speak the truth, and the patience to repeat myself. May I have the strength of conviction that allows me to continue even when I feel like I am shoveling shit against the tide. And may serenity come in the form of understanding the fact that every drop in the ocean creates ripples.