At first I thought this was grief I was feeling. I’ve seen a ton of articles trying to apply the Kübler-Ross stages of grief to the End of Days brought about by the 2016 election. But we’ve got the stages all wrong for this. We’re not truly experiencing grief and loss, we’re experiencing a never-ending spin cycle of Whatheeverlovingfuck?
Deep down I’m a shallow gal. I don’t like to spend my days worrying about politics, civil rights, and political correctness. I like taking shit for granted. I prefer for my biggest worry to be “Do I look fat in lycra?” and all my crazy to come from Kanye West. Let’s be practical I’ve made it to 50 without a single fucking wrinkle on my face. I really don’t want them to come from this shit. I certainly don’t want to have Breitbart headlines swirling around in my already weirdass dreams about ways to induce miscarriages by bingeing on dark chocolate so no one knows you’re getting an abortion. (Copyright claim right here if I’m right about that shit btw.)
And I love you like Kanye loves Kanye
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) March 31, 2016
But, instead, we have this constant swinging of the mood pendulum that ranges from “This isn’t going to be so bad.” to “FUCK! We’re all gonna die.” I woke up at 3AM the other day to the sounds of sirens wailing for what turned out to be a shopping center on fire, but my first thought was “WOLVERINES!”
I know smart, rational, well-educated people, who are freaking the fuck out. I have a friend who is in an interracial relationship who is pretty sure the old white guy who lives down the street from her house has started staring at her in a malevolent way since Wednesday. Another friend, who lives deep in the red south wakes up in a cold sweat worrying about the physical safety of her gay son and young daughters. Are they paranoid? That’s as may be, but it doesn’t diminish the experience. They are on edge and it’s making daily life a challenge. They are suffering from Whattheeverlovingfuck?
The Four Stages of Whattheeverlovingfuck?
Tuesday night we all sat around staring in disbelief at our TV screens as the Plague of Angry White Men spread red across the map of the States. We swore this wasn’t happening, many went to bed praying that when they woke up Anderson Cooper was going to tell us it was all going to be okay. We pinched ourselves bruised on Wednesday to make sure we were really awake.
This set in when we all watched Hillary give her concession speech, and we realized that while we’d put a major crack in the glass ceiling we weren’t going to have our first female president in 2016. It got worse when we realized that what this loss really meant to those of us who believe in marriage equality, reproductive rights, racial equality, etc… was that we’re about to get ass-fucked without Astroglide or a condom. We’re replaying Kate McKinnon’s Hallelujah video over and over again like teenagers who got dumped on prom nite until we don’t have any snot left.
Scrambling to make sense and meaning out of the chaos of terror, sadness, and our Facebook feed we’ve started signing every petition that comes through. Abolish the Electoral College, Appoint Merrick Garland, 4.3 million of us have begged the Electoral College to honor the popular vote, and for good measure we’re pressuring In-N-Out to get a veggie burger. We’re clicking all the click-bait we can click in the hopes that something, anything, will get us off the Wheel of Death. But it still keeps spinning.
For the foreseeable future, we’re on this perpetual roller coaster ride. One minute were all thinking “Bernie’s got our backs. It’s all going to be okay.” And next thing we know Trump has appointed a white supremacist as his top strategist. Obama has tried to make sure we don’t think he’s scared shitless of handing over the keys to the nuclear football to a hot head. We all try to keep our spirits up with Obama/Biden memes, until we find out that Trump wants top-secret security clearances for his smug-as-fuck children. Even if it is just so they can pee in the West Wing’s bathrooms that sends a resounding shiver down our collective spines. Whattheeverlovingfuck?
And here we sit, mired deeper and deeper in disbelief as the lists of the cabinet appointees swirl through the news cycles. Having conversations we were tired of having before we started having them. Giving each other civics lessons while we wait for the other shoe to drop. If this sounds like you, then yup, you’re in the stages of Whattheverlovingfuck? And in case it skipped your notice, there’s no final stage of acceptance. It just starts all over again. Like Groundhog Day.
It’s day 5 since the American voting public opened the first seal of the Apocalyptic document and the depression hasn’t lifted. The last time I felt this way was 9/11. That general overwhelming sense of loss, anger, revulsion, and futility that you just can’t shake or drink away. Barely awake this morning, not even a cup of bourbon laced coffee in my hands, and the conversation with my girlfriends is a mix of the validity of the Electoral College, explaining to the 30-somethings what Quaaludes are, and shedding tears over Kate McKinnon’s performance of Hallelujah. Welcome to the End Times bitches.
“Describe my feelings? It feels like a truckload of peanuts just showed up at my door.” – Arlo, clutching his incredibly expensive epi-pens
— Los Feliz Daycare (@LosFelizDaycare) November 9, 2016
This sucks and sucks all the harder because we did this to ourselves. We fucked ourselves over and now we’re being asked to be gracious losers. Fuck a bunch of that. I’m told I’m not supposed to say #notmypresident. Well fuck that. He’s not. The America I want to live in isn’t represented by an emotionally unbalanced bigot. That’s North Korea. Not the good ole U.S. of A. We were supposed to be better than this, and until I see definitive proof that this asshat has the best interests of EVERY SINGLE MOTHERFUCKING AMERICAN in mind, then I am not willing to accept him as my president.
And can we please get on the same page about protesting and not be bickering amongst ourselves about it? Let’s just agree to support each other, no matter how we choose to voice our dissent? Sweet Mother of Cheezits first it’s good to wear safety pins, and then it is making a statement about white privilege. We’re both celebrated and mocked for marching in protest not just by the alt right who are jerking themselves off frenetically this week, but by our own “side”. This fucking country was born out of protest. Not suppressing speech, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, is one of the things that separates us from police states and is also what got Donnyboy elected. The white supremacists have their swastikas and we have safety pins. Everyone needs something.
I want to move past this. I really do. I’d like to make it through the stages of grief and get to acceptance, but no one is giving me a single fucking reason to do that. In fact, everyone is compounding it. My friends and Facebook feed are sending article after article that both raise and dash hopes. We won the popular vote, but we’re still not going win the election. There are few states that might take the popular vote instead. There might be a loophole to get Garland on the court. Trump might resign or be impeached. I feel like I’m swirling in a stained toilet bowl and nothing can make me feel clean. Not even 120 proof bourbon.
Maybe a little vintage Letterman will help…
Yesterday gave me a faint hint of what it must be like to have a mood disorder. I started off the day buoyed by a Facebook feed full of inspirational Pantsuit Nation posts and moving video feeds from Susan B. Anthony’s graveside. This was going to be the day I’ve been waiting my whole voting life for – a woman was going to be President. In a nod to the suffragettes I voted wearing a petticoat instead of a pantsuit like so many other women.
While I was nervous, because really, who wasn’t? I thought my bourbon fueled evening was going to end in glorious drunken celebration. Instead, after a fuckton of liquor I went to bed before it was over. I couldn’t watch the guys on CNN fuck with the maps any more trying to make sense of why all their predictions were as wrong as the clusterfuck that was unfolding. When I went to bed there was still a path to a narrow victory. I woke up at 3AM and asked my husband how it had ended up, and then sobbed for the next hour. (New rule in our house indicates that crying needs to happen before bed, not once the other party is asleep.)
Now I’ve liked Obama well enough, but I’m not going to lie, I was disappointed 8 years ago that we were electing another man, historic as his appointment was, I wanted a goddamn woman to be President. We’re not only due one, we’re overdue for one. Nations with lower opinions of women than the US have had female leaders. I’m not a dyed in the wool feminist, but fuck me we’re just as fucking qualified to run this country and Hillary was overqualified to be the first female President. And no I don’t want to hear your bullshit conspiracy theories about her, or that she’s evil, blah, blah, blah. Most of the people spewing that shit haven’t got a clue why they think that any more than we have the slightest clue how Trump is going to “make America great again.” You just like the way it sounds in your own head.
Yesterday, my country broke up with me based upon the rumours, innuendos, and lies told by a lot of angry old white men for the last 30 years. God am I tired of angry old white men. My whole life they’ve been trying to tell me what I can and can’t do. What my limitations are, making decisions for me, and spending way too much fucking time worrying about what I do with my twat. Sweet Mother of Cheezits get a new fucking hobby?
This morning well meaning friends, bloggers, reporters and social media tried to tell me to take the high road. That the world isn’t ending. That there are limits to the damage that the angry old white men can do in the next four years. They showed me pretty maps that said that the future will be better because all the 18-25 year olds voted democratic. (I’m pretty sure Snopes will be calling bullshit on this for years to come.) They warned me that unfriending people who differ in opinion with me won’t accomplish anything. Guess what? I don’t care. If you threw your vote away to “protest” you should be cunt punted for being stupid. Guess what? Some of those votes had the chance to make a difference. Your vote does in fact matter. You shouldn’t be allowed to vote if you don’t understand and appreciate that simple fucking fact. If you voted for Trump intentionally because you want what he represents then you and I have very little in common in our core beliefs and I’m not totally sure you and I should be friends to begin with. If you stop seeing my snark in your Facebook feed consider this your explanation.
This is how the future voted. This is what people 18-25 said in casting their votes. We must keep this flame alight and nurture this vision. pic.twitter.com/ivuXrar869
— Eliza Byard (@EByard) November 9, 2016
Well, guess what? I don’t want to take the motherfucking high road. Right now I don’t even want to know where it is located. Don’t fucking program it into my Waze. Y’all want to be hopeful, y’all go right ahead. That’s your business, but not this girl. I’m sad. I’m disappointed as fuck in my country. I’m completely disillusioned by the electoral process. I’m afraid for people I love who are people of colour, LGBT, women, or trapped in communities where their beliefs are in the minority. I’m ashamed that my nieces and nephews are going to have to watch this epic world altering clusterfuck unfold and have it shape their futures. I’m angry that I’m going to be forced to listen to that arrogant ignorant prick for the next 4 years. That he will appoint the worst of the worst to the positions of power. I’m terrified of the fact that he will have the nuclear codes. And gawd… his smug fucking children? We’re going to have to hear and see them gloat – because you know they will.
But more than I’m afraid of what HE will do, I’m afraid what the people who think he’s so fabulous will do. Many of them will take this as tacit approval to turn off the few filters they have in place and just unleash all their pent up hate. Sure, eventually they will realize that all the reasons they voted him into power were wrong – they won’t have jobs, they will pay higher taxes, and without insurance they won’t be able to afford to pay the ER bill for the 3rd degree burns they got at a cross burning. But they will have plenty of time to wreak havoc on the country before they get that slap in the face. Which I will enjoy. Immensely.
So, with this in mind, you’ll pardon me if I ask you to keep your hopefulness to yourself. Enjoy it all you want. Do what you need to get through this. Take the fucking high road. Me? I’m gonna stew in bourbon and wallow in pity for a lot longer. It’s my fucking right.
This morning I read a New York Magazine article Pets Are Not Children, So Stop Calling Them That thanks to someone in my Facebook feed liking the article. (FYI I’ll be reviewing our friendship status when I’m done here.) While I’ll confess it doesn’t take much to fuck me off, this writer made a good solid effort at it. Especially since it’s been a year since I’ve been annoyed enough to write a blog post.
First of all, it doesn’t diminish the life of a human child that I consider my two Black Labs to be my children. If it makes you uncomfortable that is an issue entirely of your own making, and most likely stems from the fact that you want praise for increasing the population count in an overcrowded world. Bully for you. You figured out how to fuck without a prophylactic. Being a parent doesn’t automagically make you a better person than someone who chooses a different path. I know you think it does, but you’re wrong.
The article implies that because I did not birth my dogs I am not entitled to call myself a parent. Not all parents give birth to their own children. The more noble of us choose to take on an unwanted child and raise and care for that life. In essence a parent is nothing more than a guardian. As a guardian it is your responsibility to keep your ward safe, sheltered, nurtured, fed and to guide it through life. If you’re halfway decent as a parent your ward will be happy, healthy, well behaved and will enjoy their life. You choose to be the guardian of a human child and I choose to be a guardian of a canine.
Why should it bother you if my husband and I choose to refer to each other as “Mom and Dad” when talking to our dogs? They are just monikers. Not all parents choose to use those same terms. I know plenty of people, myself included, that refer to their human parents by their first name. Doesn’t matter what you call someone. What matters is what relationship you have with them. Our dogs look to my husband and I to provide them with the same love, care and guidance that a human child would. They look to us to fill the role of guardian, of parent, and we do that. In spades.
Where I really have you beat is that my children love me unconditionally. Yours will spend much of their life resenting you for the myriad of mistakes and transgressions you will make as the parent of a human child. Mine will forgive me my sins and omissions before I’ve even made them. Maybe this is what makes you so uncomfortable. I have to work really hard to fuck up my kids and make them ungrateful selfish brats like yours that undoubtedly scream “I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I WANT IT! I HATE YOU!” in the toy aisle at Target.
The author goes on to say that parenting is how we shape our future. Well, perhaps we’d be better off if the well parented animals ran the place. All I need to do is watch 2 minutes of a Trump rally to see what the blessed job of human parenting gets us.
So, we all have those friends whose names pop into our heads and we wonder whatever happened to them. Most of the time we can Facebook stalk them and satisfy our curiosity. Sometimes we reach out and make contact. Other times we click away and read something stupid on Buzzfeed and move on with our lives. In recent years I’ve reconnected with a lot of my old childhood and college friends. We don’t spend a ton of time together, but we meet, we drink, we Facebook. I like old friends because they knew you before life was complicated and you were fully formed. They knew you when you were awkward and weird.
In college I had a roommate named Carmen. We met in college in Switzerland, went to Kenya on Spring Break one year, and later, back in the States, we were roommates in San Diego for a year. I liked Carmen a lot as I recall. Everyone did. She was bright in all the senses of the word. She was fun to be around. She was pretty, yet unassuming. We were good friends.
Unfortunately, as we would come to find out, we weren’t suited to be roomies. Some people are. Some people aren’t. I’ve learned over the years that I don’t like having a roommate- The Poor Bastard excluded. I’ve had some great roommates and I’ve had some horrible ones. (Some day I’ll tell you about the one who was dating a mortician.) Carmen and I just didn’t have the stuff to make it work, and close to the end of the school year we parted ways.
I don’t remember it being a particularly hostile break-up, but 25 years has a way of breaking down memories. I don’t know what we said to each other then. I know that we’ve not spoken since that time. Once, about 7 years ago I looked for her on Facebook, but didn’t find her. I found someone I thought might be her on Google, but with no photos, I couldn’t be sure. I moved on. Until last night. No idea why, but she crept into my mind and I went looking again thinking maybe I’d reach out if I found her. And find her I did. Or rather, I found her obituary.
So. Fuck. She’s dead. She died young. She died horribly. And along with her passing died any chance we might have met again as adults and remembered why we were friends. Now all I have left are some jaded memories and a couple of snapshots. At least that’s something.
Still as true today as it was 7 years ago.
It’s been a year now since Parrish passed away and those who knew and loved her experience their grief in unique ways. While I frequently go to pick up the phone and call her to get her take on the latest installment in our family saga only to realize she’s now got the divine 3rd person perspective; it is really when I log into Facebook and see the box entitled “People You May Know” that I truly miss her the most. Because, the problem is, that while I may know these people, I don’t have a clue who they are, and my one resource for this information, Parrish, forgot to leave me CliffsNotes.
It’s not that I don’t remember anyone or anything from high school. The problem is that I remember my fabulous 80’s wardrobe better than I remember the names and faces of my classmates. I remember old boyfriends…
View original post 627 more words
Since my coach took away the option to listen to music while we train for our Ironman, I’m stuck spending a lot of time alone with my own thoughts. As y’all can imagine, that’s a bad idea. I spend a lot of time thinking about all kinds of shit that would be better left buried in the relatively shallow depths of my psyche. Contrary to popular belief, I ain’t all that deep.
The last few weeks I’ve been obsessed with another girl on my team, Sara. She’s this nice, pretty girl that is always just ahead of me on every run work out we do. I literally chase her around Los Angeles on the weekends. Usually just as I almost catch up to her she jackrabbits off ahead of me. She’s the Road Runner to my Wile E. Coyote.
During our 14 mile run last weekend I decided that if they were to make a documentary of my quest to complete an Ironman, the working title would be “Chasing Sara… a Middle Aged Woman’s Quest to Catch Up With a Perky 20-Something Blonde With a Perfect Ass.”
During this week’s run, after cursing her with “Damn you Sara!” each time she passed me on the run course, I started doing a little mental compare and contrast activity to keep myself busy. I compared Sara’s inherent qualities to mine. Here’s a basic breakdown so you understand better my obsession with Sara.
Sara for her part is tolerant of my obsession in that way that all well-raised young people are tolerant of the elderly. She’s too well mannered to say “Surly, you’re one weird ass old woman. Leave me the fuck alone.” Which really, is what she should say. It’s true, I am. And I should. Only chasing Sara, and the fleeting hope that I might actually catch her, is what distracts me from the aches in my legs, stiffness in my shoulders, and the seemingly never ending stretch of asphalt under my shoes.
One thing that Sara and I do have in common, other than thinking I’m a freak, is that we’re members of the Dead Relatives Club. We’ve both lost people important to us to cancer. Doing something to help find a cure binds us, although if she didn’t know me from this experience, odds are her gut instincts would warn her to cross the street if she saw me approaching – and, again, she’d be right. I’m lucky she’s a good girl and a good sport, as chasing Sara is now an integral part of my making it to Cast Iron Bitch status.