January 26, 2021

After 5 Years, my Shoulders are finally Down.

I wrote these prophetic words back in 2017:

“There are times lately when I feel like I have sprung a leak and all of this emotion is pouring out, except it is invisible. Not too many see it. Because I function so well. I see clients. I write articles daily. I teach. I read with trepidation about what is going on in the world and wonder what’s next. What additional foolhardy actions and words will issue forth from the new administration? Never in my life have I witnessed such a fragile ego running the show. I know, I know, he is not the sole arbiter of what goes on in D.C., but at the moment, his choices are horrifying. Did those I know who voted for him really think he would attempt to shut down freedom of the press, freeze the work of the EPA, and cut educational programs? Are you certain that more major changes that are not positive are not in the works?

Everyone liberal/Conservative/Democrat/Republican breathes the same air and needs drinkable water. We all have children we love. All the new jobs he has promised and all the money people think they are going to receive mean nothing if people are dying from environmental toxins.

And all of this isolationist ‘America first’ rhetoric? I am not only a U.S. citizen. I am, and you are, global citizens. What happens here in this country, affects the world.

I do my best not to be angry at those who voted for him. I know we all have our reasons for making the choices we did. So, a challenge to those who ushered him into office…keep him on his toes. Hold him accountable to be a good steward, not a dictator. Let him know that you won’t blindly and blithely follow his lead. He is an employee of the citizens, a public servant. Don’t leave it to those who you may call “libtards” or “snowflakes” to be awake and aware. You owe it to yourselves and your children to speak out too.

For the moment, I am in fleece pj’s and robe, listening to Loreena McKennit to soothe my body, mind, and spirit.”

My body and soul have been on high alert since Election Day 2016. Even as I knew we, as a nation, would get through whatever occurred, since humans are a resilient species and my spiritual faith has sustained me through multiple losses, deaths, and illnesses in my life, I also was certain that something ominous was on the horizon.

Consciously or unconsciously, my body registered the assaults to our freedom and safety. In 2018, I found myself in the hospital with pneumonia as supplemental oxygen filled my lungs. Resilience won over, as six weeks later, I was trekking through Ireland, “FREE HUGS” at the ready.

What I discovered was a sense of unity with people from another country that felt like home. At the time I was there, the Yes Vote that made abortions safe and legal took place. I encountered people wearing buttons that read tá (yes, in Irish Gaelic), and my interviewer’s genes kicked in as I asked them why they held the position they did.

To one, it was about respect for a woman’s right to choose. A medical doctor (General Practitioner, called a GP) told me that she was not pro-abortion, but rather, pro-choice. She had treated too many women who had been traumatized by what may have led to unwanted pregnancy and the aftermath to vote any other way. An Irish friend who had moved to the United States in the 1980s had said, in part, in jest, that he wished I could vote in his absence. Instead, I brought him back a button.

It occurred to me that the process was peaceful—no riots and no bombing of women’s health centers, as there might have been here.

Since the former president ran on a platform of being pro-life when he was, instead, anti-choice, likely not due to any personal conviction, but because many who voted for him hold that position, he has shown himself to be one of the most “anti-life” on record.

Consider that the death toll from COVID-19 in this country has surpassed the shocking number of 400,000. While he didn’t start the fire, he saw it smoldering, and then fully ablaze, and did little to extinguish it—instead, fueling it with denial and false information.

Nearly a year ago, my body reacted to world events with another return to the hospital with cardiac arrhythmia (I had a heart attack in 2014, so I monitor symptoms carefully), spiking a temp of 103, with kidney stones, and E. coli. In retrospect, I wondered if it was COVID-related, but labs have shown no antibodies for the disease in my blood. It felt like a purging of toxins that had built up.

As Election Day approached, I could feel the palpitations returning. I took lots of deep breaths, wrote lots of articles, spoke with lots of family and friends, questioned lots of my beliefs about unity and division, donated what I could to the Biden-Harris campaign and down-ballot campaigns of Osoff and Warnock in Georgia, planted my sign in my front yard, and had a cardboard sign on my dashboard. All the while I was feeling a bit trepidatious, wondering if my car or home would be vandalized. I put a small American flag, that I received at a Ridin’ with Biden rally a few months earlier, next to the campaign sign. There it remains, as a reclamation of the symbol that was used in a way that defamed it over the past four years.

I felt glued at times to the television and radio, as I watched and listened to repetitive stories about the growing atrocities that were taking place months after the election. Even when it was affirmed that Joe Biden was the President-elect, my fear did not subside. I felt as if I was living in a dystopic, action/suspense/sci-fi movie with the ending uncertain.

As much as I wanted to be informed, it was re-traumatizing to watch scene after scene of death, denial, and destruction of truth that eroded my trust in justice. I had multiple-times-daily Godversations, during which I communed with the God of my understanding. How could this be allowed to continue? How could so many die when a simple act of mask-wearing and other safety protocols could have prevented it? How did kindness and responsibility to the common good become politicized? Why were people continuing to believe blatant lies? So many questions that I may never be able to adequately answer.

I question how I can love my neighbor when they want to do me harm. I ponder about trusting those who are charged with the responsibility to serve and protect when some were at the core of the insurrection on January 6th.

I held my breath, as did many I know on Inauguration Day, surrounding the city with prayers for protection as solid as the Secret Service and the National Guard that ringed the Capitol. A few weeks earlier, the scene looked dramatically different. My perception was that they were like a swarm of ants converging on the building. On Inauguration Day, it seemed as if there had been a cosmic power washer that purged the surface and permeated deep into the ground.

Amanda Gorman dazzled the world with her exquisite poem, “The Hill We Climb,” as her words heralded a new day. Seeing Kamala Harris, the first woman, POC, and East Asian person sworn in as Veep did my heart good. Taking in the words of President Biden as he took his oath and gave his inaugural speech (oh, how I love typing that name and hearing it uttered by journalists), inspired me to be forward-looking.

My soul is in it too, Joe. I admit that it is difficult to listen, as you suggested, to people whose views feel like anathema to all I hold dear. I know it won’t do any good to see them as the enemy, for they too have their reasons to see the world as they do. I can promise to continue to do all I can to show up, stand up, and speak out to repair the world, now with my shoulders relaxed, resting easy that a kind, compassionate team is at the helm of the ship that was swamped and sinking.

As my body is now more relaxed, I notice that I am not alone in that state of being. Even Dr. Fauci looks like he has youthed at least 10 years since he feels free to speak science to us without fear of repercussion.

Remember that we only get what we give.

I promise to give this new day in America all I’ve got.


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