I woke up this morning in despair.
I don’t want to hide that. I seesaw between getting my we-can-do-this on, and feeling paralyzed.
The paralysis is the same sense I had immediately after 9/11. I’m sick, sad, scared. Suddenly I don’t recognize this world. I don’t know what to do here, where to look, where to put my feet.
I’m saying this because I know many of you feel the same. And some of you have begun to be feel bad about it. To think that if you’re still dazed, still unable to see a way out of this, then you’re not strong, you’re behind, you need to get with the roll-up-your-sleeves program.
No. You need to feel what you’re feeling. It’s real. In her concession speech, Hillary said, “This is painful, and it will be for a long time.” The other side doesn’t get, I think, how much more than just a political loss this is to us. For women, for blacks, for gays, for people of any color and all disabilities, it’s a repudiation of our importance as human beings. We’re not mourning our candidate. We’re mourning our hopes for ourselves and each other.
But last night I met with writers who’ve been in a workshop with me for a couple of years. We ranted, we swore, we laughed; we actually read and commented on some work. People shared articles they’d found, and we all felt better.
I woke up this morning in despair. But after 9/11, eventually we found our way again. We were able to act again. I spent a year writing a novel set in those first few weeks after, called ABSENT FRIENDS, and I still get letters telling me it helped people understand what those times were like here in NYC. Those times were much like these times. I’ll find my way, we’ll find our way, again.
One of the pieces a student brought last night was this.
It’s “Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Dr. Estés is a touch too religious for me, but though I don’t share her faith in God I do share her faith in us. She says we were put here for a reason; I don’t know about that, but I do know we’re here. We’re here, our tribe, together.
I hope this letter moves you as much as it did me. We’re still here. This isn’t politics. We’ll find our way, and it’ll be a wide, bright road.