The year of living dangerously (as a woman)

2017 was a hell of a year, as in it was a slice of Hell for many of us. With an 8,760-hour news cycle these days, it seems Trumpism and its unique mélange of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and (apparently, now) galeophobia has made booting up Twitter a cringe-worthy experience. I haven’t posted for months because, to be 100% frank, I haven’t had the emotional energy. All I’d be doing is posting the word FUCK repeatedly until I reached about 1,000 words and hitting “Publish”, and while that would’ve been a hyper-accurate download of my feelings, it didn’t feel like productive sharing.

And here we are, in 2018, following a year where I feel like a lot more punching of Nazis should’ve happened instead of punching walls. Yet it feels horrible even to have to say “punching of Nazis” because that brand of evil should be extinctShould be but isn’t.

I started the year off in protest: marching with a million of my closest friends in my hometown of Washington, DC, to remind the emoluments-soaked, newly-installed resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave that we wanted none of him. We still don’t. Three million more of us voted for the person who’s 1000% less likely to tweet fat jokes at a dictator sitting on nukes that he now knows how to deliver across the Pacific Ocean (or at least to Japan, which is bad enough of a threat).

 

I will not go quietly back to the 1950's

 

The year continued with work–and a lot of it. My job is super-busy pretty much all year long, and just when we finish one big thing at work, something new is about to begin (or already) spinning up. No rest for the weary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I like being busy, especially when it provides an excellent distraction from the horror of seeing friends about to lose their health insurance because people who have more money than they can count are happy to take insurance away from those who most certainly don’t.

By mid-summer, I was sporting a fresh tattoo–a constant reminder that we must always resist that which is wrong. That we never have to accept what we’re told we must, when we know in our hearts that it’s bad. That a woman’s place is in the resistance. (P.S. – I miss you, space mom.)

 

#resist

 

I spent a lot of time bingeing Twitter, following closely the many and varied attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act by people who lied prodigiously about Obamacare, as if calling it by that name made it any different from the ACA (*narrator voice*: they’re the same thing). The threat eventually died down for a short while–but it was more of a “to be continued”, since those intent on dismantling the government have no plan to slow down anytime soon and simply found another way around through a “tax reform” bill that only truly reforms taxes for the wealthy and businesses but that applies short-term changes of diminishing value to everyone else.

Self-medicating with ice cream from the local dairy has been the only option left, when there isn’t time or energy to work out and my body doesn’t accept caffeine or alcohol willingly anymore. (C’mon menopause, can I get my wine-o’clock back eventually?)

I took up cross-stitch, at first because it seemed like an interesting and fairly easy craft–and then because it allowed me to create feminist and empowering messages that I was able to share with friends and family (including this one, made to order per my daughter’s spec):

 

The future is female

 

In the Fall, it seemed that things were just exploding everywhere. Football players were kneeling on the field to draw attention to racial injustice while boos and taunts rained down on them. They aren’t allowed to protest loudly. They aren’t allowed to protest peacefully. They aren’t allowed to protest on the streets. They aren’t allowed to protest on the field. It’s a sick Seussian joke but the plain fact is that their protest isn’t accepted anywhere by those who simply don’t want to hear that racism is still a problem. But it is. It’s not about the flag or the anthem, and certainly there are few ironies more ridiculous than being lectured about patriotism by a President who doesn’t even know the words to “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

The topsy-turvy world continued to spin on end when a fresh take on the #MeToo hashtag came around, this time championed by a lot of rich white women–and suddenly the world stopped for a moment to hear the stories of women who’d had enough of harassment, sexual assault, and the bullshit sexism that has kept us in unequal status for far too long. All women have these stories, even if they’re not willing or able to process that the hand on their ass all those years ago, the undesirable look down the front of their shirt, or the tongue down their throat they never asked for really IS unacceptable behavior. It gets worse, of course, and we have to have these conversations until the recoiling that our male friends and coworkers have when we describe how we or our friends were raped gets the message across that sometimes it’s not just a bad date. Sometimes it’s way, way worse. Abandoning us when we get angry won’t fundamentally change that this demented, corrupted inertia must come to an end. It will only change the calculus of who we consider allies.

It’s been a year where intersectionality really made sense in ways I hadn’t previously processed enough, particularly as I saw the Women’s March and the #MeToo movements miss lifting up our trans sisters and sisters of color in a way that we should. We don’t get ahead by leaving people behind. Trans women and women of color have been on the front lines for YEARS, and disenfranchising them from a conversation where they are critical is more than a missed opportunity: it’s a sign that we haven’t learned enough yet.

 

Respect women of color

 

And so we now are in 2018. The Golden Globes saw the fresh emergence of the #TimesUp movement which, while REALLY WELL-INTENDED, needs to have an impact on women everywhere rather than just those in SAG-AFTRA. It’s fine when a bunch of rich folks applaud themselves for realizing that enough is enough already, but if the message and impact aren’t felt much beyond the Beverly Hilton ballroom, it’ll still be a failure. Time needs to be up all over the place. (Work faster, Bob Mueller, please.)

I fully expect more circus macabre in 2018. We’re not through this wormhole fully just yet, but the pressure is intense and it seems like the event horizon is squeezing us slowly to bits. I continue to distract myself with an immense amount of work (enough that things like movie reviews and such may be in extremely limited supply–not due to lack of opportunity but lack of time to attend), and I have to hope to make it to the midterm elections without going up multiple dress sizes from eating all my feelings.

2017 was bad. Really bad. Like, never again this bad and please don’t let it get worse.

This all adds up to the understanding that my writing will be less frequent, and for that I suppose I should feel some measure of guilt. Except that the only promise I made about my blogging was that I would be honest, not that I would be weekly. And who knows, maybe the “ALL FUCKS” post will happen sometime this year, even if my goal is to give zero fucks. We’ll see.

I’m not done being angry. Even if this nightmare were to end tomorrow, the damage will still take years to undo. It’s so much easier to tear something down to build it up. For now, I will keep busy and watch the destruction, fighting it how and where I can, and lifting a middle finger to it in tribute to space mom, who knew very well that we can’t give up: we are the resistance.

 

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