Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

5Nov/200

The Waiting

We still don't know. It's looking more and more like it will be Biden/Harris, but it isn't done.

There are T* supporters with guns at election offices demanding that they be allowed to count ballots (Arizona) or that counting be stopped (Michigan). Like the supporters running the Biden/Harris bus off the road in Texas last week, these are the newest incarnation of the Nazi Brownshirts who intimidated people to push their political agenda.

I have felt exhausted today. As usual, teaching at 10am online helped anchor me into the day. I enjoyed chatting with a favorite student afterward, one of those people who's become a friend as well, and that helped me feel a little less hopeless.

I ended up napping after lunch for a little while with Obie. He's been wanting to lay on the bed so I've been turning on the electric blanket to warm up his bones. He reached out his paws and chirped at me, which is pretty impossible to resist. Having got to bed close to 2am, a nap with Obie and Bertie was a good choice.

I felt really unmotivated by food, aside from wanting to turn several ripe apples and pears into a crisp. CK suggested that we have takeout, we picked pizza which I really enjoyed, despite feeling unmotivated. I kept searching for recipes and ended up just making it up; I needed more salt! I also just realized I forgot the cinnamon!

What's weighing on me is how we're just barely holding back fascism. Some small part of me hoped for an outright repudiation, instead T* supporters doubled-down, recruiting more hateful people. Voter suppression has also been so successful, redistricting and gutting the Voting Rights Act continues to disenfranchise people.

There are millions of Americans who are so opposed to everyone sharing a piece of the pie, where everyone gets a smaller piece but everyone gets pie, that they would prefer to just burn down all the pie shops rather than allow the "others" to have some pie.

I see rounds of social media posts about educating "T* voting friend, now's the time!", and I'm furious. This is not about education, we cannot educate people who are willfully ignorant, truth denying, and cruelty seeking!

Also, quit putting work on those of use who are already exhausted and afraid of losing rights we've only been celebrating a few years!

How do we engage with people who don't care if they get hurt so long as they get to see the "other" hurting? How do we just shut it down? How do we say to them, "We don't really care about how you feel about it, this is what is happening."

3Nov/200

Dread not Optimism

CK asked me this evening what I think will happen tomorrow. I had to reply that I really didn't know.

2016 taught us not to trust polls. We know that people were misleading them intentionally. We know not to trust our broken Electoral College.

We know that we're one of the hotbeds of militia activity. We know T* supporters are behaving like Brownshirts and cops nationwide are enabling it.

My discussion group for the "Seeing White" podcast had some folks who are feeling optimistic. I'm not one of them, I'm just feeling so much dread.

It wasn't helped by the Governor declaring a preemptive state of emergency starting at 5pm this evening. There's all kinds of businesses boarded up.

Clearly everything will be done to protect property, not people, not our votes.

I'm wrapping up the last grocery pickup and getting fuel in the vehicles tomorrow. Then we're hunkering down. I'm going to open up a Zoom in the afternoon and invite folks to just come hangout online with us.

I'm already exhausted.

On the positive side of today. I was approved for 13 more weeks of pandemic unemployment assistance! I also delighted myself making a cover comic for my new journal, that I'll add to periodically, just for comics!

18Oct/200

Lost Voice

All day today my voice has been hoarse and faint. I worried a little.

Whole having a long soak with epsom salt I recalled indulging my desire to scream while driving home from a the local shop.

It started because of a policy at the shop to increase security against burglary that decreases health safety.

That first scream about all of it, COVID, the ghoulish mismanagement of the pandemic, Black Lives Matter, white terrorist militia, the mayoral race here, the presidential election, and feeling hopeless about the election changing anything...

The first scream of rage and grief felt so good I let out several more on the way home. Mostly incoherent screaming, a few rounds of screaming, "NO!", and swearing.

It felt good and didn't hurt at all. I came in, made tasty dinner, and watched TV with CK.

Today my voice is shot. At least it isn't a virus!

12Oct/200

Civil Discourse

I returned to Costco today for another weighted blanket for CK, one for a friend, and a new electric blanket for the bed. I had the same head pain and feeling anxious. I wore a slightly less heavy mask, but it was still there. I think my glasses mildly contribute to the sensation, where the ear pieces press.

I joined the podcast discussion group where I made dinner and had an outburst over someone using the phrase "civil discourse".

I feel like it's a tool of white supremacy, at worst, and tone policing at best. Who defines "civil"? I noted that there's some topics that there's no "agree to disagree", which is a hallmark of a civil discourse.

Then I spent the rest of the night feeling bad about it. And cleaned the kitchen.

30Sep/200

Stand By

We avoided watching the debates last night. We usually make a point of it, watching together over dinner and discussing. Not this year. Neither of us has any reserves of energy to give the spectacle that is Trump.

During the debate the President of the United States of America was asked to denounce racism. He refused. Not only that, he told the Proud Boys to "Stand back and stand by".

My therapist had been telling me that she didn't find the Proud Boys intimidating. They're too clueless and directionless, they only attack people who are alone, etc. I wonder what she's saying today with them being encouraged during the debate.

I'm increasingly worried about the election. A friend told me they feel hopeful. I don't get it. I don't think he'll stand down, I don't think all the power grabs are going away.

23Sep/200

No Justice, No Peace

Today the men who killed Breonna Taylor as she slept failed to be indicted. One was, for endangering property. None for her murder by cops.

There is no justice for so many in this country, but especially so for Black people. Tonight uprisings are happening all over. Tomorrow I'll be reminding students that these events are cries of pain, the voice of the unheard, and rage at police violence.

The President strokes the flames of hated and division. He doesn't discuss peaceful transition of power if he loses.

Today the CDC's website agrees that over 200,000 lives have been lost to COVID.

Today I went to the Japanese bookstore and supermarket. I picked up my calligraphy and ink themed art box, gifts for a friend, special grocery items for a couple of friends, and some food to make an extra comforting dinner. I also picked up comics and games. All tasks related to joy and comfort today.

21Sep/200

Preparing for Disaster Again

The election is coming. I've been restocking the freezer, snacks, comfort foods, and the like. Just like I did back in early March, when we thought somehow we'd all hunker down and COVID wouldn't be so bad. I'm planning to pick up another 5 gallon propane bottle so we go into November with 2 full tanks. I'll be finally deciding where our emergency water goes when those bottles are full.

If Trump wins, I think there will be unrest, protest, possible strikes.

If Trump loses, I think it might be even worse given the armed checkpoints brought on by fires.

Oh, and I awoke to the news that early this morning the Trump administration declared us an "anarchist jurisdiction", along with Seattle and NYC. There has been federal wiretapping of protestors here.

Each day I'm going to try to make a small step in our exodus. This week I'm going to prioritize all the bins of clothing I'm not sure fits. If it fits, or if I'm keeping it for emotional reasons (perfectly fine), then it gets kept and ready to pack. If it's usable winter gear, it sorts out to be donated on Friday. The rest into paper bags and into my van to be donated to Goodwill.

We made a plan for books over a game this evening.

Slowly we start to move forward with leaving even as I plan for us to be hunkered down at home in November.

I'm grateful I got to see my students today and chant with a couple of them!

9Sep/200

Another Day, Another Disaster

Parts of Oregon burned overnight. More burned, continues to burn. Places I went as a kid, places I had family or friends, places I went to with friends, a place I started my yoga therapy journey.

Places I love.

Unlike the Eagle Creek Fire 3 years ago, which devastated a beloved wilderness area, these fires are taking out small towns, hot springs, lodges and homes.

A friend shared with me today that a place she’d just sent me photos of, the home of friends’ she’s visited for over 20 years, is gone.

On a call with my yoga community and we talked about the load people are dealing with. In Portland that load is:

COVID
Ghouls in Charge of COVID Response/Country
Election/Post-election Chaos
Protests Against Police Violence (100+ days)
Fire Season Burning Away Oregon/West Coast

Then we have our cat dying.

Thankfully WE are growing closer and stronger together.

3Sep/200

Surprises

An unexpected package arrived for me today containing a gift arranged for me by my friend and teacher. Given how low with anger and grief I've felt this week, this was such a ray of light.

I was reminded of the studies on gratitude and how surprises, like this today, are more nourishing, as it were. It's good for us to really reflect on them, as many details as we can recall about the event brought into the memory.

This weekend I'm going to sit with CK and makea list of Things That Need Doing Before the Election. I've already started thinking about some food things, what to restock from early spring.

I'm also just moving forward with teaching. I'm making more space for people to talk about how they're doing, it's so isolating and, as one student put it, "There's no ended in sight!"

2Sep/200

So Much Grief

My memory of feeling worthless, not valued enough to be kept safe, is different in that it doesn’t directly involve my Mother. Instead it involves witnessing the caregiver I was left with abusing her children. I was accustomed to physical abuse within my family and was terrified this woman would come after n me next.

Something about this particular memory awakens profound grief. Combined with all the grief I feel about COVID, businesses I love closing, Black Lives Protestors being continually brutalized by police, the corrupt GOP, and our cat having cancer.

It leaves me feeling so tender, with tears right at the surface. This is a state I find painfully vulnerable, I do not have a friendly relationship with tears, still. It says something that I’m able to say that rather than “I hate crying”!

I said to students Tuesday that grief is so big at times, but e we keep working with it until it’s like a small, precious stone we set on the altar. We ultimately each create our internal Room of Grief where each precious stone lives.

I like this, I want to write more about it, but this beginning bit, when it’s all so much at once and so big, how to hold space for that? That’s the part I want to be better at.