Friday, January 20, 2017

So...What now?

I think in circles lately about what's going to happen. What it all means. The state of everything. I ponder what faith means. I flirt, again, with the Catholic Church. I seek out sources of knowledge on philosophy.

In a time of great upheaval, when whatever embers of faith remain, you find them enflamed. Because when nothing makes sense, you have to try to make sense of it.

So I read Nicole Cliffe's testament of finding Christianity, as I so miss her guiding wit on twitter.

I read Ana Marie Holmes discussion of faith in trying times.

I signed up for online philosophy courses in Intellectual Humility and the philosophy of politics from courseca and am following those to try and understand how we got here and what government means right now.

I had previously tried to shop my way out of these doldrums where nothing at all seems to matter. And then became fearful of the coming recession and am over correcting by trying to save as much as possible. (But will it matter? If this all ends...why not spend what I have?) I vacationed. That felt shallow and selfish and turning off the noise only made me anxious about what was happening when I wasn't listening.

I donated to all the causes I hold dear. My December budget is an implosion of gifting. But even that was a temporary salve because it reminds me of all those suffering or about to be suffering that I can't help.

And then you feel like an ass. We're hardly the only place suffering. We're hardly suffering nearly as bad as most, even when accounting for those among our many who are.

But we are. And just because our suffering isn't their suffering, it's not suffering.

I feel a great need to question everything. When the land shifts beneath your feet, your faith in institutions you previously took for granted as stable and true no longer seems so sure. Nothing has made me question my general faith in the goodness of police like their unequivocal backing of the president elect. "Oh. THAT'S who you are. That's what you believe in." My dad, who spent 32 years in their ranks but is now a peace loving hippie, lamented in the run up to the election, "They want hoses in Birmingham again." They're gonna get them. And people like me, generally law abiding (hell, I took an oath to defend them) folks suddenly see them all as supremely flawed individuals who want to do us harm. So while I may have given the police the benefit of the doubt before, where I've hung out in their police stations and called them friends, are all suspect. And I sort of hate them. I hate them for contributing to us getting here. The leader of the Fraternal Order of Police got up and talked about how great Jeff Sessions was in front of Congress. He talks about their need to be protected. What about our need to be protected from them? How are they somehow more important and more special than us because they choose to do a job? Is their inherent racism there because police officers all over the country, including liberal NorCal are overwhelmingly white male?

Government, where I work, does not AT ALL seem interested in fulfilling its promise to HELP OTHERS.

It all feels so disorienting.

And yet. And yet and yet and yet...

It still feels like there's this innate goodness around us. People are good and happy and beautiful and deeply flawed. They are worthy of love. There is beauty in the rain on the windows and the sun in the sky and all that other weepy poetic bullshit that other people have and will say better than me. Art has extra importance now, not less. Fierce love has more importance now. I adore my people. I want nothing but the best in the entire world for them. And I am forever terrified now that nothing resembling good things happening is going to happen for them for the next four years and beyond.

All I've come up with for the next four years is:


But how? How do we "be good humans"? Protesting is nice. Except if today is any indication, we can fuck even that up and stand around with cell phones, baited by people inciting us, and making the police state, which is about to become a military arm, more powerful and lead them to earn more overtime which makes them wealthier which exacerbates the whole damn problem to begin with. We read 800 lists on "how to resist". We can call our electeds but let me tell you, as a dem living in NorCal that feels like a waste of time. "Yes, ma'am, I know. Yes, I get it. I couldn't agree more" doesn't inspire one to dial the phone a lot. It's not like Rep Huffman or Dianne Feinstein and I share wildly divergent ideologies.

How do you have faith in anything when a wildly unpopular man who lost the popular vote by 3 million people and who is hell bent on destroying every institution that protects us and makes us not China or Russia is in charge? HOOOWW? I mean, resist, rebel. Sure. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? We have no power over institutions. We have no power over a Republican congress. We. Have. No. Power. No one wants to admit that. We want to talk about the will of the people and the ability to change things and have faith in ACLU law suits that FOIA information. The reality is...when these small minded men use the arm of the government to make themselves richer and tighten the yolk on the very people they vowed to help (which anyone with three brain cells knew would happen), what the ever loving fuck are we supposed to do?

How do you beat a man who, as Masha Gessen said, continues to tell you he doesn't have your pencil box when you can very clearly see he has it and won't give it back? I don't know how you beat someone who denies the very existence of the reality you live in. He doesn't care. We could point out that NO ONE came to his inauguration and he'd attack us for being fearful liberal cowards. I'd love for all those in power to ignore him and frustrate him. I'd love for principled Republicans to say "we will not allow this to happen" but "principled Republican" seems like an oxymoron. We can't give him the attention he deserves and yet we can't turn a blind eye to what he's doing. Scylla and charybdis seems like a more pleasant mind fuck of a situation at the moment.

I don't know what to do when "speaking truth to power" has no effect because the power DNGAF. We can correct NYT headlines all we want. We can yell on twitter. We can yell in the streets. We can laugh and point at things to help us get through this. But does any of it change anything? I don't have any idea.

There are no answers. Or: there are a lot of think pieces that I don't find particularly helpful, anyway. There's just much gnashing of teeth and trying to remain sane and finding goodness and light in the moments that we can. And honing some survival skills for when this goes really south.

I just...I dunno, man. Shit sucks right now. And is going to for awhile. (I'm hella eloquent.)

I wish you all love and joy and peace and hope we come out on the other side.

Saturday, November 12, 2016


The last four days have been brutal. I threw out my back. Which was kind of a blessing in disguise because it means I was allowed to lay in bed watching West Wing episodes like they were a morphine drip and cry about the future of our country.

We, the People of the United States, in our infinite electoral college wisdom elected an absolute moron with no belief in anything but himself president.


This was a joke. This was supposed to be a joke. No one was taking this seriously. Sure, it exposed the racist, misogynistic under-belly of our country. But they were still supposed to be in the minority. Good and truth and light were still supposed to win out. We are a country of thinkers. We are rational and logical and wouldn't slit our own throats. I held this belief more deeply and truly than I really recognized. Because when Tuesday night happened, when hate won and reason lost, it left me devastated.

Which maybe wasn't helped by the endless watching of the West Wing because the other thing I realized is the value with which I hold public service.

I pretty close to the lowest on the totem pole of government service, local government isn't exactly sexy, but I'm in it; it's still government. And between my personal knowledge, and endless watching of a show about public service, I realized how utterly we've fucked up.

It is an important job. It is a VERY important job. We take it seriously. I may fuck around at work. I may get frustrated with dealing with my departments. But what I do, the things I dedicate resources to, the fights I take on, have a direct impact on people. That must go a thousand fold for the president. They have nuclear weapons and oversee massive staffs. They make decisions that get people killed. Actual lives get lost holding that job. And we gave it to a sentient corn puff. We gave it to a man with no morality. A sexist, misogynistic, racist. A man who thinks violating women is not only okay but an appropriate way to behave. Who thinks...a president who thinks I am not attractive enough to sexually assault. That I personally do not merit being sexually assaulted because my ass is not small enough.

I ask again: what the ever loving fuck happened? How did we get here? Intellectually I know. Intellectually I know that straight white people, generally boomers, wanted to clutch the power they know is slipping through their fingers and voted to keep what little power they have instead of voting for the greater good. That women who are so hateful they care less about keeping control of their own bodies than they are about continuing their hatred and disenfranchising others. Emotionally, this boggles my wee brain and I keep shaking my head going "WTF! HOW?! HOOOOWWW?!"

And I am terrified. I am selfishly terrified that there aren't enough layers of government to keep this man from affecting my job. That because he may shrink government, which will mean less government funds for local projects, which means...look, you can follow the thread. We're headed for a recession and things are about to get bad and that may mean they get personally bad for me earning a living.

I am also terrified about my student loans. I am on the low interest based repayment with ten year loan forgiveness. I am scared this gets gutted because...well...because he's capricious and apparently concerned about finance but only to the extent that they make him, or the country, or...whoever, wealthier. If that happens, I'd be able to afford exactly nothing in my life.

More importantly, I've spent a lot of time weeping for our country generally. I worry and ache for every minority in this country. Every person who wears a hijab and relies on the free exercise clause. I worry about the lgbt community and the increased hate that they will face. Every black, brown, Asian...every person who does not look straight and white is going to face unprecedented, or at the very least more open, levels of hate. What the ever loving fuck, everyone? I knew we didn't live in some post racial utopia. But I had belief that good people existed.

And maybe we'll actually see more good people. The good people are going to have to rise up and be even better. So maybe that's a plus. I know that I can't just ache. For the first time, instead of just writing a check and hoping things get better, I want to get actively involved. People will need legal services to protect their rights and that's a skill I actually possess so I've begun looking at opportunities to help. I'm not a trial attorney, but I'm a decent researcher and I can hopefully get people answers. I have a strong feeling that funding for public defenders is going to go away and that the promises of Gideon will go with them. And no one should have to face the legal system alone. Especially one bent and skewed through the funhouse mirror of this executive branch.

My husband has been trying to tell me that things might not be that bad. We've had awful presidents before. We had genocidal Jackson who ignored the Supreme Court. More modernly, we had Johnson and Nixon. I appreciate his optimism and his knowledge of US History, which always shames me, as an American married to a Canadian. I also reject his optimism. I think things are about to get very very bad. And I really don't know how to combat that fear. Which is partly why I'm blogging for the first time in forever. If I speak this out loud, if I say these things...well, at least I've put them out in the universe.

He also talks about our strong system of checks and balances. This is also not reassuring because this orange cotton ball faces a friendly congress for the next two years. He gets to nominate a supreme court justice. A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE! A man who made some of his only legitimate money on a television show saying "You're fired!" gets to appoint people to the supreme court. I can't. I'm disgusted.

Aside from fear, I also feel very very angry. My dad passed along a flip article the other day where everyone's favorite folksy grandpa Garrison Keilor advocated that elitist liberals fiddle while Rome burns. I went off. I went off on how dumb a notion that was. I went off on that I hope when my dad's former colleagues who were pro-despot have their benefits and retirements slashed and are in need of medical help die slow painful deaths. And I meant it. It may be the meanest thing I've ever said. But they got us here. THEY got us here. And they are most likely going to fuck themselves over. Because once this guy comes for the blacks and the browns and the muslims, he's coming for whites too. And I will not lift a finger to help them. I will help the marginalized who are victimized by this. I will not help anyone who actively got us here.

There's been a lot of talk about continuing friendships with those who voted for this man. Good for those open minded people. Here's my take: if you voted for him, if you got us here, you can burn with your choice and we share no values. There was no real reason, no logical, rational, truthful reason to vote for this sentient sphincter. I do not want to know you. I don't want to see it from your side. Your side is ignorant and I don't have time for it. I have time for those who understand the social contract, who understand the greater good, and understand working in public service and what an utter privilege it is to serve their fellow man. I know lots of cops who voted for him. They feel the wrath of the public as this country gets more divided between us and them. But if they can't see the value they provide, the people that appreciate them, and that their motto is to protect and serve and to instead constantly say "fuck this, fuck everyone, where's mine?", I have no room in my life or my heart for them. That may not be in the good Christian spirit. But, well, I've never been a great Christian.

So where do we go from here? Up, I hope. It may be dark now. It can't stay dark forever. Not to sound cheesy but we all need to practice self-care. Meditate. Take care of yourself. Take care of each other. Write a list of the things you love/that make you happy and hold the dear (idea stolen from @anamariecox). Practice them. And do what you can to help. Email me if you need suggestions or have ideas. I am open to them all.

I love you. Let's do what we can to actually make this place better and not use some cheap slogan on a Chinese manufactured hat.

Monday, March 28, 2016

As Tom Petty Said...

Waiting is the hardest part.

I am toe tappingly impatient over here. And as someone who likes to be driving things, I am not coping very well.

I am a finalist for two (2!) positions in places that are not what I have come to call Far West Texas. The me that got rejected from more colleges than she got into can hardly believe people actually want me to go work for them. And that is exciting and great and there is a whole world of possibilities that this opens up.

And it'll be hard and scary but good. At least I hope and pray so. It means packing up our entire life and getting out of here. Plans need to be made for getting a new place, cleaning the old place, pricing and then hiring movers (I am very much in the school of "there are professionals who do things & I want to pay them to do those things well and efficiently rather than try to take apart a king bed frame to get it out the door), so on and so forth.

Let alone the giant flip of the bird to management here on how they are terrible leaders as I go on to a new adventure. By which I mean nods and smiles and the requisite two weeks notice because no one ever actually scorches earth because the world is small and you believe in karma. 

None of which I can actually do. Because being a finalist for a job is a lot different than having an offer of new employment. And this limbo is why purgatory was NOT looked upon fondly.

I can't move forward. I don't want to move backwards. Here I sit, attempting to be patient, understanding that I work in government and nothing NOTHING moves quickly about that, but also being so utterly frustrated with the stasis, wishing someone would make a decision and at the very least let me know. I don't even care if it's not. I just want to know.

But. There's nothing I can do about it at this point, unless I'm the annoying applicant who is "just checking in on a status update!" Which I likely will be if I don't hear by next week.

I'm trying to convince myself to operate under the assumption of getting neither job. I'll keep applying to interesting stuff that's open. I'll...try to convince myself to go through stuff in my house. I'll continue looking longingly at vacation options that I'm not sure I'll have the budget to take, and can't actually plan because I'm not sure if we'll be in the middle of a big move or not, as utter distraction.

I'll sit here, externally being patient, internally screaming. And try to give a fuck about my current work when none of it may be my problem soon, but having to assume it will remain my problem.

I guess my point is: people hiring other people: be as communicative as possible, as timely as possible. It'll be good for your candidate's mental health.

*taps toes*

Friday, August 7, 2015

On Maintaining Friendships as an Adult After a Move

That's a wordy title. Sorry? And oft neglected blog blah blah. If anyone gets this still...some issues I'm dealing with: 

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year Resolutions

Oh hey there!

So as you can imagine I made a 2015 goal to get back to writing, which I did pretty much not at all last year. Hence this very post! I'm still futzing around with how that's going to look. I'm not sure I'll keep this a public blog or do something more private but...anyway. Here we are. Talking New Years Resolutions.

I have, like, a million. Or 5. Same thing.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hail Caesar! And Hello Again!

Missed me? You missed me. You totally missed me. I missed you! But there's been to live. And blogging takes a backseat.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Weddings Woes

Hi! Missed me? Maybe? I've missed you! I'll try and make more time to write. Promise. But, like, life and what not.

I want to preface all this with that this is THE most first world thing to bitch about ever. Okay? I understand. I get it. I'm gonna do it anyway.