january 6th journal

black lives matter

WHAT EVEN.

If you were on Twitter today, you may have noticed that it was a fucking nightmare for most of the afternoon and that only because they were WHITE PEOPLE they didn’t get teargassed, tasered, shot with rubber bullets, beaten with sticks, and/or any other kind of violence you’ve seen at BLM protests.

FUCK THIS SHIT.

I’ve taken two doses of my rescue meds (yes, they are prescriptions and things like this are why I have them) and I am trying to be as calm as possible because it’s not like this is the end of this foolishness.

That’s my post for today SEND TWEET.

permanent, intolerable uncertainty

Saturday was my last class session and I am now an INELDA-trained death doula. Earlier this evening I officially put my listing up on their site, which is moderately terrifying. I turned my f*book back on so that I can be in the student/support group that they host, and the dopamine hit has been pretty nice; although it has been disappointing to see that there are still people stuck in ‘how can this be happening’ and ‘what’s next oh no’ and ‘this is leading to [insert awful thing here]’. I am confused that people are still confused. It’s not almost fascism, it IS fascism. It’s not becoming a police state, it IS a police state. There’s not much point in staying in the head space of denial, hard as that is. I’m not expecting easy things of my fellow earth-dwellers; I’m expecting them to do the hard things.

Unless we do the hard things, what is the fucking point?

It’s possible that one day when I am decades older and my children are grown-ass people in their thirties and forties, perhaps with children of their own, there might be a sort of peace or happiness that is part of what’s normal. One day, perhaps, the things we struggle and fight for will actually happen.

In the meantime, everything is a weird dissociative chaos that makes me personally feel like I’m simultaneously going insane and also a large snow monster completely frozen in place. Teeth like icicles that break when I need them, legs that won’t move, unable to stop the world from being smacked right in the face with the consequences of our choices over days and weeks and years and millennia, all in the span of months.

I am very much in the present time, making sure masks are clean and sanitizing the fuck out of my hands, worrying when anyone needs to leave the house, ordering books and more books and even more books, because for some reason the possibility and hidden wisdom that might be in those books does actually make me feel better for a finite period of time.

I am also very much in the past and the future; the trauma that I’ve carried for tens of years becomes a problem at the most problematic of times. Trying to see forward into the future any further than the end of the day seems like a ridiculous effort, even though I constantly try, grasping for the shadows of hope. How can I possibly know what tomorrow will bring? All I can do is assume that I’ll be alive to find out what it is.

The worst part of reactivating my social media account is that I forgot that I had my ex-girlfriend on read-first — since when I deactivated, I didn’t realize she was already my ex — although undoing that option is either hidden or gone so I can’t change it and I really didn’t want to see her status updates. I haven’t unfriended her — she is still connected with me on keybase and on Twitter too. I did unfollow her Instagram because I opened the app a few weeks ago and suddenly there she was, talking about someone who wasn’t me, after months of silence. It hurt. A lot. And I’m foolishly pursuing the idea of having some kind of closure or a neatly tied up ending, and I think I’ll get none of that.

The most upsetting thing is actually that I left one of my most favorite blankets at her apartment so she could wrap herself in it when she missed me; and I want it back.

It’s weird to leave a social media platform, not intending to go back, then three months later realize that you’ll either need a throwaway account or reactivate your original one; and then logging in, everything looks and sounds and feels exactly how it did three months ago. There’s been no change and it’s distinctly uncomfortable. I love seeing people I’ve been worrying about, but the rest of everything else is just the same as it was before and I think I’ve gotten enough perspective on my life in these last pandemic months (six months and counting) to see bullshit where I didn’t notice it before.

What this bullshit-recognizing superpower is going to do for me, I don’t know, but there it is all the same. As my beloved Ursula K. Le Guin once said,

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

starting over again (again)

I’ve had so many start-overs in my life.

Not do-overs, either. Start-overs, picking up pieces, trying to remember who I am and why I am.

I’m cocooned in a blank sheaf of paper, unable to write what I want to write because I don’t exactly know what it is.

I shut down my Facebook weeks ago, and I think I’m going to have to activate it again soon so that I can be in the death doula group there. That’s a thing I’m doing right now: I am in a death doula class, and it is hurting my feelings and challenging my understanding of myself and how I relate to others.

I am on Twitter almost every day, my timeline locked down so my ex can’t see it. This website is public, so if he sees it, I would like him to know that I don’t care if he sees it. And if his girlfriend sees it I would like her to know that I don’t care if she sees it either. I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.

We locked down in early March here in our house. Many of us are immunocompromised and infection would probably result in at least one death. We are doing our best and being as careful as possible. One wage earner has been able to work fully from home. One wage earner leaves the house to work a few days a week. Another one has plans to do the same.

I write every day in my journal. I wonder, every time I write the date, if one day someone will be reading it the way we read Anne Frank’s diary. I am afraid of a fascist state as often as I remember to breathe, which is to say: almost all of the time.

It’s been over five months since our lockdown began, and I can’t imagine what life will look like five months from right now. It will be almost the end of January, just after the inauguration of what will hopefully be a new person as president of the country. It will probably still feel just as strange and confusing as it has been.

My work, supporting spiritual specialists, became all but impossible to do. One person walked away without saying a word. One person was gracious and kind and still needed to go their own way. My remaining clients are also stuck in a holding pattern; where do we go from here? What can we do?

So far my answer for myself has been to take classes, to learn things, to lean into the therapy I have by phone every two weeks (except on days when I feel physically horrid and can’t do phone calls), to make meaning for myself around caring for my family in the ways I’m able. School for the kids started last week, and they are already fully engaged in it. It’s a kind of respite from the rest of the world to get to sit and be with them as they work on their subjects. The rest of the time I’m usually doing the laundry or hanging out with my family or taking accidental depression naps.

The anniversary of a birthday in June was hard and it still hurts.

My own birthday just one week ago feels so completely unimportant. I was just happy to be with my loved ones on that day and eat food with them. I am now forty-two, which is supposed to be the number that is the answer to the life, universe, and everything. I don’t feel very different and I certainly don’t feel wiser. I did find a really long silvery-grey hair yesterday as I was struggling to figure out how to wear my extremely grown-out queer haircut, which I was weirdly pleased about.

But despite the ways I am getting by, I am devastated that I cannot do the work that I was doing six months ago. I miss the meaning and importance of it. I miss feeling like I was doing something that mattered. I miss the cadence of the way working fit into my days. There is nothing for me to do now except be a surrogate teacher to my kids, wash and dry and put away the laundry each week, and read and fill the rest of the time with either learning or naps.

I have so much grief.

One of the effects, for me personally, of regular testosterone injections, is that I am having trouble crying when I definitely need to cry. It’s like my pressure-release valve has got stuck. I’m not removed from my feelings; I’m in them, swimming in my grief and sadness and worry, wishing that I wasn’t.

I have a sliver of hope that this place to put my writing is going to be cathartic and helpful and not another thing on my daily task list. I want to be free of all these worries, but I don’t know how. I’m not sure anyone else does either.

Meanwhile I suppose I could try screaming inside my heart.