Hopelessness and Heroines

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I do not usually take photos at my polling place, but this was to be a historical election.

Dear Reader:

My day started pleasantly which is not surprising. I’m retired and healthy, happily married with a successful college-aged daughter. My friends and neighbors are wonderful. I have a lovely home filled with shelves and shelves of books and bursting with dachshunds. And, yet half-way into my first cup of coffee, my husband looked at me and asked “What’s wrong, Michele?”

“I don’t know; life is good,” I answered. “I just feel so anxious and I don’t know why.”

That wasn’t the truth though. I knew why; I know why. I’ve felt anxious on a regular basis since November 8, 2016. On that morning, I rose early full of energy and ready to cast my vote for the first female president. The refrigerator held an expensive bottle of champagne and I couldn’t wait to pop the cork and toast her victory (our feminine victory)! Instead, I went to bed early after dosing myself with a couple Tylenol PM tablets.

I woke up still in shock as I know so many others did. We’ve elected an egomaniacal real estate mogul* to the highest office in the land. I was never prepared to forgive the man his former sins, but I was prepared to hope for the best. Surely, now that he’s the leader of the free world, his approach to leadership will change, I thought. And, yet, it continues. The insults, the lies, the ignorance, the incompetency and the narcissism laid bare for the world to see.

Since January, I’ve coped with the craziness of the new administration in an alternating fashion…get the news, eat too much or drink too much with friends…get the news, eat too much or drink too much without friends…laugh out loud with husband while watching SNL and Colbert…swear off the news to preserve sanity and waistline…begin watching news again…repeat. I’ve also tried to make a difference in the lives of others in small ways…donating, volunteering, listening and writing.

I watched our president today in Puerto Rico tossing out rolls of paper towels to the crowd. Tomorrow he’ll be visiting Las Vegas to offer solace to a city rocked by gun violence. I do not feel encouraged or consoled. There are people and problems that need attention. I’m worried. I’m afraid.

My husband understood. Yet, his concerns were slightly different.

“He was elected. He still has the support of most Republicans,” he said. “That’s my worry.”

We concluded our conversation in the same way it began. We are living through a difficult time in the history of this country. Divisions are deep and nothing is being accomplished. Suddenly I remembered what Michelle Obama said to Oprah shortly after the election, “This is what it feels like to have no hope.”

I can not allow myself to sustain the feeling of hopelessness, though. It comes and it goes, because I’ve always been an optimist and I’ve always felt proud to be an American. I continue to look for heroes and heroines and I find them each and every day.

Tonight I raise my glass to four courageous women:

Carmen Yulin Cruz, the San Juan mayor, who will not be cowed by our president and continues to fight for the survival of the people of Puerto Rico.

Gabby Giffords, who called upon Congress (again) to “find the courage” to address gun control in the wake of the latest tragedy in Las Vegas.

Katy Tur, the MSNBC anchor and author of Unbelievable, who devoted a segment to fact-checking POTUS’s claims about his Puerto Rico response

Senator Elizabeth Warren, who said she was “heartsick” for the victims of gun violence and called for action NOW.

The sky is vibrant with the colors of another beautiful sunset as I finish this post. I could not wish for a better life here on the California Coast, and yet I know that I will continue to struggle with the fact that while my small world is so wonderful, my country is without a moral, admirable, competent leader. I’m holding on to my belief that America is the greatest country in the world. I will not give in to hopelessness. Will you?

Michele

*I will never use our president’s name on my site

10 thoughts on “Hopelessness and Heroines

  1. So many of us feel this way, Michele. The heightened anxiety is profound and daily onslaught is relentless. I spent most of my birthday alternating between the joyous exchanges of notes, calls, cards and gifts from family and friends, to the other extreme of the day: the horrific violence (again) from legally obtained weapons, avoiding hearing 45 blather on about his superiority and the seeming ineffectuality of our government. It is hard not to despair. A few things that help: get involved with a local chapter of an organization making a difference. Find a candidate to endorse. Write postcards (it’s concrete and positive and gives you a place to put your energy). Attend marches and rallies. I went to a DACA march last month and the Women’s March in January. You meet other like-minded people. Be a part of your community. I volunteer at Sacred Heart Community Services and will be boxing food this November for Second Harvest Food Bank. I’m writing checks to women’s campaigns, the NAACP, the ACLU, etc. These are people fighting the good fight.

    And…self care. I garden, write, walk, hike, laugh and enjoy my work with clients. I pet the kitties, hug my husband and smile at everyone I meet. Hugs beget hugs and smiles beget smiles.

    1. Thanks for reading and sharing, Alys. Your coping strategies overlap mine quite a bit. Basically, let’s all do what we can!
      And, yes, to HUGS….one for you! M

  2. Dear Michele: Thank you for your writing . It Is so good. I feel the same than you since November last year, but I do not know how to express it myself. I is a shame that we have fallen so low. The treatment of the people of Puerto Rico by the president has been terrible.
    I would like if my daughter in law and two of my best friends could read your blog. How can I send it to them.?

    1. Thanks for reading Marietta! You can just have them google fromthepinkshed and they can subscribe to receive notifications when I post.

  3. I refer to that anxiety in my chest as my “trump lump.” My doctor recommended getting a fitbit and walking 10,000 steps at as many protests as I can fit into my schedule.

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