So… the world sucks.
I’m not trying to be edgy or tap into my inner goth-girl (though Lord knows she hangs out just below the surface.) I’m being honest. The world… the nation… the state of things… they suck.
There is a fear that is permeating everything, poisoning people’s hearts and minds. I’m very aware that hatred — racism, sexism, homophobia, your average, everyday Nazi-ism — are nothing new, and for those who are marginalized, this election has only reaffirmed what they already knew. There are people in the world that hate them for no other reason than who they were born to be. In my privilege, I was naive enough to think that things were getting better. I’m sorry that I wasn’t listening better.
My kids have come home in the last two weeks to tell me horror stories about the things that other children are saying to one another at school. We read daily accounts of casual hatred. I feel bombarded. I feel terrified for the future. I watch with absolute panic as people are named to a cabinet that will shape the future for the next generation. I cry in the shower, where no one can hear me. I try to remember that we’re resilient, that our kids will do better than we have.
To be clear, I’m in no way saying that everyone who voted for the President-elect is racist. What I’m saying is that I could not overlook the terrible things that he said, that fueled racism, and I don’t understand how so many could. I’m saying that I think too many people made decisions based on the fact that they could never see history repeating itself… and I fear that they were wrong. I regret not trying harder. I should have volunteered for Hillary’s campaign. I should have gone to protests and rallies. I should have donated more. I should have yelled from the rooftops, on the very limited scale that I can. I should have been a soldier.
And all of this grief (and it is grief — we’ve lost something), is making it difficult to focus on the things that I should be thankful for. But I’m going to try —
I am thankful for my home, which is never clean or properly landscaped, but is full of warmth and laughter. I am thankful for my job, which challenges me, keeps the bills paid, provides health insurance for my family, and allows me to work with an incredible group of people. I’m thankful for the education my children are receiving. Third grade through college, they’re all experiencing a diverse world, reading amazing stories and learning from exceptional humans. I’m thankful for our pets, who snuggle me when I’m sad, who adore me unconditionally because I fill their bowls, and who never fail to greet me at the door. I’m thankful for my son, who has the driest sense of humor on the planet and a mind like a steel trap. I’m thankful for my daughter, who creates non-stop and has yet to give up on magic. I’m thankful for my older son, who has a core of kindness drilled down through the center of his jock’s heart. I’m thankful for my eldest daughter, who never fails to text me when something funny or amazing happens, even though she doesn’t live at home anymore, and who hasn’t grown out of her funny accents. I’m thankful for a husband who believes in my dreams, even when I don’t. I’m thankful for family that are friends, and friends that are family. I am thankful for an extended social network that engulfs folks from all over the world, who have my back and really get me and my crazy love of tales. I’m thankful for doctors and therapists who have really seen our family through some tough stuff, this year. I’m thankful for support systems — biological, mechanical, and otherwise.
I’m thankful for hope.
The world is lousy. People are being hurt. I have so much to be thankful for, and I’m well aware that I take too much for granted. I am trying to be more aware, to give where I can, to stand behind and beside and in front of those that need it — wherever they need me to be. I’m trying to wake up and see the world as it is, ugliness and beauty alike.
I am trying. I will fail. I will apologize and try again. I’m thankful for perseverance. And if you’re reading this, I’m thankful for you.