Wait and Ruminate

I’m spinning out today.

Some days I feel fine. Great, even. Others it feels like the sky is falling. Today is the latter.

I woke up with a cloud over my head and, because I live in a glass cage of emotion, immediately began sifting through the contents of my brain to figure out why. I came up with a few reasons, and my guess is that by embarking on this blog post, I’ll discover one or two more in the process.

Recently some people close to me have gotten their first dose of the vaccine. This triggered a simultaneous range of emotions. First, I am happy for them. I want them to be healthy and protected. I was also filled with jealousy. And I’m owning this as a reflection on me, not on my loved ones. If I were in their shoes, I’d have gotten the shot too. In a heartbeat. This is about my longing to feel safe again. I see others around me getting what I desperately want, and of course it’s going to trigger a reaction. It reminds me of how I felt when friends or acquaintances announced pregnancies when my own fertility status was unknown and precarious. I remember telling my therapist that those yucky feelings were getting in the way of my happiness for my friends. It’s my own junk that I have to work through, made more difficult by the fact that I have no idea how much longer I have to wait.

This is all compounded by my firm, often stubborn, adherence to standards of fairness and justice. Oregon leadership has decided to vaccinate educators ahead of seniors, and it makes my blood boil. They have decided that opening schools is more important than saving the lives of our parents and grandparents. Even so, many school districts are charging full speed ahead and are partially or fully opening even before educators have had the chance to get both shots and have enough time to build the required immunity for full protection, all in the name of getting kids into school buildings for 8 weeks – behind masks and plexiglass and glued to desks and working on computers. All this, while thousands of seniors wait and die waiting for vaccine doses with their names on them.

I have never been more glad that my parents do not live in this state. I’m angry now, but if I had to watch my parents wait through this, I’d be absolutely livid and out of my mind with fear for their safety.

The other fairness piece is that my immediate family and I have been social distancing as health experts have advised. We have sacrificed a lot in an attempt to ensure our family doesn’t get sick and that if we do, we won’t get anyone else sick. It’s hard for me to sit here, feeling like I’ve been a good girl following the rules, and watch other people enjoying extracurricular activities. I understand that my ability to social distance to this degree is a largely a function of privilege. My husband has a white collar job that he can do from home. We can afford for me to stay home and do unpaid childcare, unpaid tutoring, unpaid-keep-the-house-from-falling-apart. We have stable housing and a reliable internet connection, etc. etc. It’s because of this privilege, including that I’m young and white and healthy, that I can afford to wait longer for the vaccine than almost all other populations. As it should be.

At the same time, we’ve also made many, many choices to stay home when we very well could have gone out and socialized and taken risks. In that sense, I can’t help but feel anger and resentment when I see others get vaccinated who haven’t “followed the rules,” whatever that means. My “fairness and justice” button is large and sensitive.

And so I continue to wait and ruminate and worry and doom scroll. (Not to even mention the slow-motion race we’re in to vaccinate people ahead of these more contagious covid mutations and that’s not even mentioning the Brazilian or South African strains that may not respond to current vaccines…welcome to my brain.) I remind myself on a daily basis that I am safe (what a relative word that has become) – and some days require more intense persuasion than others. That I am doing what is right for me and my family. That this hellscape will not last forever. In theory. You know.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

You guys, I am so fucking pissed I don’t even know where to start.

As a courtesy, I’m going to say now that this post is about politics and I’m extremely liberal and I also am not looking to debate right here, right now. If bearing witness to my rage is not your cup of tea, then by all means, please stop reading.

While I am not surprised by today’s news, I am beyond angry. Throughout this process (and that’s using an extremely polite word for the fucking power grab of a shit show the past few weeks have been), I’ve been angry with Republicans. They’ve lied about their intentions and they’ve cheated and they have undermined the democratic process. They do not represent the majority of Americans because they have engineered election outcomes. The people (read: not all Republicans are liars and cheaters) who have done those things don’t deserve to have power and don’t deserve my respect, at the very least. At the most, they deserve to be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

But. Today, I found myself en fuego with rage at another group. Senate Democrats, but also Democrats in power. Why and how didn’t they fucking stop Barrett’s confirmation?! Why is it that Republicans continue to steal cookies from the cookie jar and never get the fucking time out from Mom? What. in. the. actual. fuck.

You know what this reminds me of? When I worked as a counselor to children who had just recently escaped domestic violence in the home, most often perpetrated by their fathers and endured by their mothers, do you know who the kids were most often angry with? Their mothers. They were angry because their moms couldn’t prevent the violence, couldn’t stop the violence, and often, in their minds, allowed the violence to continue. Other factors played into this: Their moms were a safe place on which to place their anger, and rape culture/violence-against-women-and-children-culture is SO embedded in the fabric of our society that these kids grew up taking it as a matter of fact that dads hurt moms and kids, so why get angry at something that can’t change?

Before I digress too much: if you haven’t figured it out yet, for me, today, the Republicans are the abusive dads and the Democrats are the victims/bystanding moms. And I feel like the powerless kid, watching everything unfold and having to endure the lifelong consequences and trauma. Fucking fuck, Mom. After so many hits to the head, I just want you to metaphorically kick Dad in the balls and TAKE THE POWER BACK.

I’m sick and tired of Dems posting shit to social media about how we need to dig deeper and don’t stop fighting and, of course, vote them out. These words have become profoundly empty in the cycle of violence we have been forced to endure.

You know what?! I do vote. And I march. I’ve done what I can in a rigged, fucked up system to get progressive people in office. I’ve done my part. And now, IT’S YOUR TURN. You know who is supposed to fight for me and my views? YOU. You know who is supposed to represent me in government? YOU! And yet, I don’t feel my values represented. Since this is coming from me, a privileged white woman, I can only imagine how women of color and other minority groups feel.

Don’t you dare tell me to keep fighting, when you’re the ones we collectively elected to do the fucking fighting. I realize that Dad is ultimately the one to blame here, but for fuck’s sake, he has proven time and time again that he can’t be trusted to govern the household with love, dignity, and respect. Kick him out of the goddamn house and start protecting your kids.

It’s for this reason that shows like The Handmaid’s Tale are so popular. The adaptation of June, the handmaid who gives zero fucks, is the personification of our collective rage. What we wouldn’t give to be able to shove the fucking Commander down the stairs, or run over a shithead with a car, because that’s exactly what he deserves and no one else is going to do it.

I don’t condone violence. My point is that my rage, and the collective rage I feel with other likeminded individuals, is so powerful and so intense that it hurts. There is this primal yearning to see those abusing power to feel just as powerless as the progressive masses feel right now.

It’s getting harder to bear all this injustice, especially when I know that the repercussions of today’s events will stretch out far into the future. It’s far from over and I’m so exhausted. I’m angry and scared beyond words can say.

And I’m especially sick and tired of waiting for people in power to do the right things.