So it's 3:10 in the afternoon as I'm starting to write this down. I'm sitting at my kitchen table with a bowl of white and orange mini-pumpkins carefully arranged in a piece of servingware at the center of the table. There's a fall themed candle burning to my right, and a stack of children's books gifted to my impending newborn on the left. It is 67 degrees and I am looking at the fiery leaves of the Blue Ridge Mountains through the window of my house.
And I am crying big huge tears.
I don't know that I really know, to tell you the truth.
I think it started because I was feeling really overwhelmed about whether or not I chose the right car seat.
But from there, I started thinking about the baby that will be sitting in that car seat, and how excited I am. And then how much I hope that everything goes well with its delivery and first few days on this planet.
And then I started to worry a little about this planet, because everything just seems to be exploding around us.
I can't reconcile the actions of the President. I don't think anyone can. I think there are people who voted for him and are so sorry they did, and if they aren't, then I think they probably know they ought to be sometimes. I know there are people who aren't ever sorry and who don't think they should be even an iota of sorry, and it makes me sad and scared that some folks in the country think everything he says is good and right. I don't recognize the country around me, and I don't know who I can talk to about it because a great majority of people I know helped elect a man who is devastating me.
I feel so heavy, wanting to talk about the bad things, but not knowing what to say. I'm so grossed out by Harvey Weinstein. I'm so supportive of the Black athletes who are taking a knee, and of the White players who have spoken in favor of those actions. I want politics to stop being driven by what special interest pays our elected officials the most money and to stop ruining the optimism of our young politicians. I think gun reform should be easy and common sense. I don't understand why it hasn't been. Puerto Rico is something we should all still be talking about. And what about education reform, and animal abuse, and homelessness, and normalizing mental illness, and gender inequality?
And then I see people just screaming into the void on Facebook and Twitter, unwilling or unable to listen to anyone but those who agree with them, the progressives and hardline conservatives spiraling themselves deeper down the wells they're into which they're shouting. I throw out my two cents on Twitter and almost always wish I hadn't.
I kind of hate my phone. I kind of hate Instagram. I hate the compulsive need to check in with what's going on in a robot lightbulb box of doom.
I watch too much reality TV but it's because I feel like engaging is so hard sometimes. I want to learn to meditate and yet I fear what would bubble to the surface. I am against animal cruelty but I had McDonald's for lunch.
I don't think I'm the only person feeling this way in the world. Or even on my street. I think we all have the "cry about nothing, then about everything" moments in the privacy of our bathrooms or showers or closets or cars. There is a lot to deal with and dealing with it, even in the smallest degrees, scrapes layers off our hearts that are removed more quickly than they are regenerated. Optimism gets shaved down a bit at a time, and courage along with it.
So I'm going to go get a tissue (or more likely the hem of my shirt) and go outside for a little while, which always makes me feel better. And I'm going to keep doing the things that a person does, like water the plants, and reminding myself that my life is actually so ridiculously good in all the ways that count. And I'll cut myself a break for crying at my kitchen table, because, if nothing else, I'm 32 weeks pregnant, so I get a pass.
It doesn't mean I don't believe good is greater, because I do. Crying doesn't mean I've given up, because I haven't. Simply that I needed a moment to sit here in this stillness and really feel all the things the world needs to toss at me, instead of running from the rip tide of all the bad news. Now that I've done it, I think it's necessary, not weak.
But I have to go change the laundry now, and I can't be here for long. The problems will be here when I get back. And by then I'll have found something new to offer in response, likely sourced from the smell of the detergent that's cleaned these impossibly tiny baby socks. This is how we recover, and re-engage, and decide that the world is beautiful and terrible, and that we won't be afraid, after all. Next week, the clothes will be dirty again. And I'm going to wash them.