I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Stepping into the morass

Gazing at the beauty around us
Well, here goes. I'm giving you fair warning that I'm going to be talking about politics a bit, and I ask that you be kind. This is my space for trying to find some solace within my broken heart. I have voted Democratic and progressive for my whole long life, and I supported Bernie Sanders when he was running. When it became evident that he was losing, I shifted my loyalty to Hillary. That doesn't mean I was thrilled with her old-style establishment ways, but I was simply horrified by Trump. I still am. He has never been elected to anything before, and nobody knows how he will govern. No one. And I am not reassured by the people he's surrounding himself with.

If the media and the pollsters had not been so wrong, I don't think I would have had the reaction I did to watching the election returns come in. I would have had some warning and a chance to get myself ready for what happened. As it became more and more clear that she was going to lose, I went over to my neighbor's apartment and started to drink wine with her. We watched with horror as we saw what was happening. Then I came back home to see SG in front of the TV, alarmed but nothing like I was experiencing. The knot in my stomach ached and the tears flowed. I went to bed before there was any resolution, but SG came in to tell me when Pennsylvania was called for Trump and it was all over.

I cried, not for myself alone, but for the country. I lay in bed, unable to sleep for the despair I felt. When Trump came out for his victory speech, I got out of bed to watch it. He seemed subdued and not bombastic, and if anything it felt like he couldn't believe he had won, either. I was awake for most of the night after that. I got out of bed early and looked at the news and tried to absorb what I was reading. It turned out that most of the entire world was also shocked and afraid, not just me.

I drove in the dark to the coffee shop, wanting to surround myself with familiarity and friends. I knew that the owner is a Trump supporter and might be celebrating, but she was sympathetic and understanding of the state I was in. Then I went over to the gym to take my usual Wednesday morning class, and people were standing around in small circles, stunned and sad. Tammy Bennett is the Activities Director at the YMCA where I work out, and I saw this on her Facebook page:
My Y Gmas & Gpas make me happy every day. They are tough, they are resilient, they are intelligent and they don't let their physical glitches stop them. But today, for the first time in over three decades at the YMCA, I walked into a room that was so heavy with sadness and disappointment that I was speechless (those of you who know me well know that is very rare). So we exercised awhile, and I noted their disappointment in silence until I figured out the safe space of acknowledgement. "Thank you for coming to exercise at the Y with me today. One thing we know for sure is that exercise eases stress so your decision to be here today was a good decision." And we move onward. Always onward.
 My exercise class did make me feel better, but still I noticed that I wasn't hungry when I should have been, that I didn't feel much like doing anything but wallow in despondency. Even so, I went to bed Wednesday night hopeful that I would sleep. Nope, still not able to. And I knew the next day I would be hiking all day. I got up feeling tired but glad to be able to be with my friends. Eighteen of us showed up, not one voted for Trump and we were all suffering. The hike helped, and when we got to Herman Saddle after wrestling our way through the snow, we had lunch and turned around the way we had come, deciding it was not a good idea to try to make the loop we had planned.

Friday morning I realized I was going to have to do something to help myself sleep, although long talks with my beloved partner, who is not as devastated as me, has helped me more than anything. After my usual workout, I decided to take a trip to the marijuana store, since my friend John uses a tincture, putting a few drops under his tongue, which he swears makes him sleep like a baby. I walked into a bustling business and got in line. Once I got to the counter, I asked the guy for something that would help me sleep but wouldn't make me high.

He directed me to a series of tinctures that help people who deal with pain, and I finally ended up buying an "incredible edible" labeled Crash. I decided to try a half dose in a cup of tea, and I was pleasantly surprised by how relaxed I felt, almost immediately. Although expensive, I think this might be just the ticket. Last night I took a full dose, and I slept like a baby. I also noticed that the usual aches and pains I have all the time are gone, or at least masked by the weed. And I never felt any untoward effects mentally. Quite pleased.

Now it's Sunday morning, sitting in bed with my partner sleeping beside me, and I'm rested, finally. The world looks a whole lot better now. In just these few short days since 11/9, the Democrats are beginning to take a look at how to get our party back from the elites who decided that Hillary was the only choice for us, and I've regained my equilibrium. I know how to grieve, I've done lots of it in my day, and I know that once you get through the first few days, your system begins to recover from the shock.

I am also reading the opinion pages on the New York Times and the Washington Post, taking in all kinds of different views on the election. I'm realizing that many of us on both sides of the aisle are plenty worried and scared about the future direction of this country. I found this article by Garrett Epps at The Atlantic that pretty much sums up my fear.

If you are a Trump supporter, I congratulate you on your win. I truly hope that we will find that he is not the con man that so many think of him as being, and that he will lead responsibly. In her concession speech, Hillary said we need to give him a chance, and I certainly will do that. What choice do I have? Do any of us have? As I walked out the door on Wednesday morning in a cloud of despair, I saw Obama on the TV, smiling and reminding me that the sun will still come up tomorrow morning, and that I have the privilege of living in one of the greatest countries in the world.

The only choice I have is where to focus my thoughts. I believe that love and mercy are some of the strongest powers in the universe, and I will surround myself with them. Be well, dear friends, until we meet again next week.


Hilary said...

I feel the same.......I didn't sleep that night either. I have been alternately angry and devastated since. I am trying to find my way, it's not easy. We all have to find our way. We have to be better than this.

Rian said...

Good post, DJan. I think you said what most of us feel. My post today was similar, but less expressive. I had voted early, and didn't watch any news election day... and haven't watched any since. It's just too painful. My phone alerted me of Trump's win in the middle of the night from some news source (?)... and after that, sleep was impossible. But life goes on. All we can do is hope and pray for the best.

Linda Reeder said...

I have shared reactions with many this week, on my blog and on Facebook. Most are women and most are going through the stages of grief and despair and anger. I have debated the causes and affects of how this happened on line with a a former student, now a prosecuting attorney and a Trump voter now living in Las Vegas. When you don't want to harm a friendship you choose your words carefully. I have tired to do that.
After the combined grief of the election and and the sudden loss of our dear pet the day before, it has been a jumble of emotion. Tom and I have walked and talked. We have both spent hours reading and reacting and now wondering "What next". We have cleaned house and worked in the yard. Now it is Sunday and I really want to move on emotionally. But I am still waking each morning remembering in shock and dismay that Trump will be president. And I am still talking to my kitty who isn't there.

Anonymous said...

I don't feel devastated right now, though I voted for Clinton. Let's just give Trump a chance to prove that he can be a reasonable and rational president.

Marie Smith said...

Take care, Jan. I am glad you were able to sleep finally.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am so glad you were finally able to sleep. It seemed to me that the press wanted to elect the President for us. I found only one news channel that seemed to report on both sides, other channels seemed to take Hillary's side completely without question as did most of the Political writers.

I do hope that the country will come together. I have many friends who are still upset just as you are. My heart goes out to them and you.

I didn't have much hope that Trump would win, but then I saw glimmers of hope, if they treated all rural areas the same, there were no Hillary signs but hundreds of Trump signs, I saw two local Hillary ads, where I saw many Trump ads. I received no phone calls from either party.


John's Island said...

Hi DJan, Great post and you echoed many of the feelings I’ve experienced in the last week. I believe I’ve gone through the stages of grief and this morning (Sunday) I’m pretty much back to normal and accepting the results (as much as I can) and now I simply look forward to seeing how Mr. Trump will “make America great again”. I never bought that slogan since I never thought America wasn’t great, but I now see that almost exactly one half of the electorate doesn’t agree with me. Already Mr. T is singing a different tune, a little softer … but what’s new about that? He sung any tune he wanted during the campaign and, apparently, his supporters liked it any way he wanted to sing it. You mentioned that you were reading the NYTimes … I wanted to be sure you saw David Brooks' column today. You will know he is the quintessential conservative columnist for the Times. Be sure to read the very last paragraph! Wow! http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/opinion/the-view-from-trump-tower.html?
Thanks for today’s excellent edition of Eye. Wishing you and SG a fine week ahead!

Elephant's Child said...

My sleep was interrupted too.
Watching and waiting.
And loving that you are finding your way forward.
Cyber hugs.

Gigi said...

As you know, I never discuss politics in a public forum but I have to say I was shocked when he won - none of us ever expected it. There was a lot of shenanigans in this election that helped this become the result.

Now, we just have to go forward and spread as much love and kindness as we can; as we all know that is the only antidote to hate.

Friko said...

Good luck to all of us. Given half a chance Trump will destroy not only America The Great but also the countries which were on America’s side. Please, don’t all just roll over and let him get away with it.
The morons are on the march everywhere and we need to be prepared to stop them.

Most of us (in the blog world I inhabit) are old and we may not have to suffer the effects of his Paris Accord reversal, the destruction of Nato, of Trade Deals, of cosying up to Putin and Russia, but the young will have to pay the price. Just as with Brexit.

Tabor said...

The majority of those who voted are going through all the stage of grief. The angry ones threw caution to the wind and selected the dangerous guy who says EVERYTHING and NOTHING. We do not know what he will do. I actually feel he is less dangerous than the hard liners he has selected to be around him. They will have his ear and they hate everything I love. I am picking small battles, local battles now. We will have our day.

Red said...

Some of you had a great deal of ownership in this election. Naturally you would have some disappointment. I was shocked and saddened and I'm not an American. Will there be better days? I certainly hope so.

Linda said...

Jan, I don't recall anything in my life, short of a death, that has so shaken me to the core. Finally today I gave in to admit I'm deeply depressed. I don't want to come out of my bedroom, want the blinds closed, don't want to go out in the world. I won't give in to that but I'd like to. I'm going to be watching closely as the two parties in this country find their way out of this mess. It grieves me to think of the Trumps in the White House. That building represents so much of the history of this country. Trump doesn't know that history and would not respect it if he did. It just feels wrong for him and his gang to be there. I'm also grieving for the loss of the Obamas. Never once did I worry Obama might say or do something to embarrass our country. I used to cringe when George W opened his mouth. I can't imagine how bad it's going to be with Trump. At this time I don't feel I can watch the inauguration, it will be such a mockery. I have to say though I put a lot of the blame for this on the Democratic Party. I'm going to be watching to see what steps they take to reform the party.

Carole said...

Oh DJan, I was heartbroken too. I just did not seem possible that Hillary did not win! Steve Bannon is going to be Trump's Chief Strategist, whatever that means. I just know that Bannon is an extreme right wing guy, so that scares me.

Thank you for sharing with all of us. It feels good to commiserate.

The Furry Gnome said...

So sorry you have to go this at all, but your marijuana solution for sleeping is defintely one I would never have thought of! If it heads off aches and pains, you may have me sold! As for the bigger questions, I can only sympathize and indicate that many Canadians are almost as concerned as you are. Canadians in general now know more about the American political system than ever before too! Our minister even preached on your election results this morning (although I didn't agree with everything she said). I do hope that people can set aside the bombastic bigotry long enough to come to grips with the underlying questions of why this happened. I just can't believe that 50% of your population is also bigotted like Trump. But I can believe they are fed up with the political establishment in Washington. Good luck with your new relaxation!

Stella Jones said...

Almost everyone over here in England thinks the U.S. is mad to vote for Trump, but if it does my country any good, then we have to give him a chance.

June said...

I did not watch the election results closely. I voted and went on with my day. After all, the polls said... And then Wednesday morning, when I woke up...

I'm glad you are so active in seeking out ways to cope with this step toward Idiocracy.

Arkansas Patti said...

Aww Djan, there are so many of us in the same boat. We just legalized medical marijuana here so I have not chance to enjoy that magic fix you were afforded. Sure would have been nice to get a decent night's sleep. I do OK till I wake up in the wee hours and my mind just gets humming.
I can only hope that the carnival barker we saw during the campaign who said what ever stirred the crowds, truly meant little of what he said. Just a glimmer but I will take it till we see where he really stands. Also we do still have power via letting our feelings known to our representatives and the White House.

Cynthia said...

My reaction was much the same as yours to the results of the election. We walked around in a dark cloud on Wednesday and went to the beach to walk and sit.
The issue that frightens me most is the denial of climate change and all that goes along with that. I feel responsibile to hand over a world that is not-self destructing to my young grandsons one day.
All we can do now is watch and wait to see what we can do as each issue comes up because the election is over. Life goes on.

Rita said...

Still speechless.

Hilary said...

Well.. I don't usually come to this blog (as opposed to your other one), and I haven't been doing much in the way of blog visits at all.. but I clicked on this today because I wanted to hear your sane, beautiful voice in regards to all of ths. I think you have expressed exactly the despair that so many are feeling - even up here, north of the border. The results of an election shouldn't evoke such horror and angst. I can't think of a time, despite many undesired outcomes, through my years that it has ever been this visceral. And warranted. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I feel heartsick for my beautiful neighbours to the south. You have expressed your grief so clearly.

I do believe that he will not serve anywhere near his full term. My gut tells me that the turmoil is not over yet. He can't cope with this job. It's work. Real work. It takes a brain. And to a certain degree, it takes heart. I think he will be done before summer. Let's hope, eh?

The Broad said...

Oh, DJan, how sad it all is! But I was not completely surprised. I think it is the disappointment of Brexit, made me fear for the worst. And the size and enthusiasm of his crowds. And I kept remembering what happened in 2004 when all the pundits thought John Kerry had it in the bag.

I don't know what Trump will do. I don't think he knows himself. I fear the people he has chosen to advise him. They are making dangerous noises and we must be prepared to speak out and keep our voices heard. After all we are the majority that has lost.

If we are grieving, we must make our grief work for us. Be watchful, fellow countrymen because there will be work to be done...

C-ingspots said...

I'm so sorry to hear that you're experiencing such a dramatic reaction to this election. Truly sorry, I hate to think of so many people feeling real grief and especially fear. Hopefully you or anyone else here won't take offense, but I have peace. I don't even understand it but give credit to my faith and belief that God and Jesus Christ reign supreme over all world democracies. I know that. That is likely why I don't give any elected official or anyone else, power over me or how I feel. I get scared sometimes, we all do. But true and deep fear is not something that has any power over me. I know who is really in charge and He loves us. I know where this all ends up going and know it's not a good end, but is inevitable. There is one way to get through it though. My prayers include your peace of mind, and I wish I was closer so we could have a cup of coffee and go for a walk. Fresh air and exercise, and quiet do much to quiet the mind. And so does pot! So glad you're open-minded enough to give it a try. It has many quieting, healing and relaxing properties, aside from pain relief. I will keep you in my prayers and hope you feel better. Even though I voted for Trump this time around, I too have been a life-long Democrat and more recently, Independent. My parents and grandparent were democrats. These days, they are all so lacking...I vote for an individual and I try to be educated and prayerfully make my choice. That's all I can do. I chose not to watch any of the results, instead hubby and I watched a movie and went to bed. Knew it would be one of two possible outcomes - but I was totally surprised! If we paid any attention to the media, the pollsters and the journalists, we all were led to believe that HC was already the winner. What this decision says to me is that there are many in our country who are not being heard and feel like their wishes for the direction of our country are being ignored. Whichever affiliation, there is huge opportunities for becoming better. I remain hopeful and choose to stay focused on what really matters. Have a wonderful week.

Penny said...

Grief is my response. Not usually quick to weep, it's now a daily occurrence, especially as his appointments are being announced. Having watched Neil degrease Tyler say make the statement that we should now Make America Smart Again, I could at least be clear on what needs to be done. My grief can be assuaged through taking personal actions in the manner of Bernie and other liberals. I'll not go down the road of anger and hatred, only in taking actions that create love and community for those who are standing on the side of love.
Thanks for your post.

MsGraysra said...

I have been working on a post but not able to properly contain my thoughts and feelings about the election You did it for me....beautiful. It is a hard time but taking action.....and putting one foot in front of the other will see us through. Thank you, DJan......

b+ (Retire In Style Blog) said...

Perfect! I thought President Obama was so gracious and even kind in the face of what must have been devastating for him too. I am grateful for having had him as our leader for 8 years.

Be well.


CrazyCris said...

Hi Djan! Thanks for such an open post.

It's 10 days later and I'm STILL in shock!

I hesitated at staying up all night to watch the results come in (Spain is GMT+1, so would have meant 0 sleep), but I decided that even if the historic results I was hoping for came in, it wouldn't justify being a zombie at work the next day...
Instead I got up extra early and turned on the news. And was just stunned! There was still a chance Trump wouldn't win. Then the results for Pensilvania came in, and it was over. I stayed to watch his speech (that was a pleasant surprise, I expected more "rah rah rah" rhetoric!) and got to work an hour late and in an extremely foul mood that lasted a couple of days and hasn't really gone completely away.

Politics I would have preferred Bernie as a candidate rather than Hillary (he is still "tame" by European standards for the "left"), but I honestly didn't think he could win because of that ingrained fear in so much of the US population of "socialists/communists" that is still present. And I really wanted the US to FINALLY have a woman president! Someone who had done a lot of work for families etc...

Here in (continental) Europe we're even more stunned by President Trump than by Brexit (which is saying a lot). Seems like people have gone nuts and the planet is going to hell in a hand basket. Even more so now that a climate change denier is put in charge of the EPA, an ultra-right wing will be in charge of the White House staff, and someone who has shown zero temperament or ability to "keep cool" under stressful situations will have his hand on a nuclear button. I'm scared he'll lead the world down a nuclear war path with North Corea, or he'll push Iran into reneging the deal and developing nukes. He'll gut the Paris accords. I'm scared for the friends and family I have in the States who are female, or black, or hispanic, or asian, or muslim, or LGBT (I have friends/family in each of those categories). I'm worried what it will mean for my sister and niece living there, for my cousins' kids.

So yeah, it's been 10 days and I'm still in shock and angry. And scared.