It’s a little premature, perhaps, but it’s been a YEAR.
In the public sphere, the US of A elected an idiotic sexual predator with the temperament of a spoiled toddler to the Oval Office. He brought with him a shit-show of toadies, criminals, and incompetents. This is why I’m a Monarchist Social Democrat. (Ask me how!) While the world waved a sad good-bye to Barack Obama (the most scandal-free president in history, with exactly Zero) and his admirable family, the grifters moved in, and promptly added insult to injury to insult to injury, ad nauseum. As in, every day has brought another reason to vomit. At this point, my jaw is locked into immobility, just to hold it in. Say Hi! to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) for the next X years. Hopefully, less than four. Although, I would rather not the present administration end with global thermonuclear war, I’m not ruling it out. More on that later.
Also in the very public sphere, 45’s election seemed to prove a tipping point for women. He was ushered in with the largest global protest in history, as well as the largest organized protest in US history. It gave me a tiny spark of hope, which has been fanned into a tyger burning bright against the forests of the night. Burn it down, my witches! (h/t Samantha Bee)
And so, it has gone. Across the US, women have been coming out about rape, abuse, assault, harassment, and just plain gross, entitled, asshole behavior on the part of apparently ALL MEN. The Al Franken allegations, while relatively minor, caused me to pause. Briefly. I liked his book, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think… and then, I thought, fuck him. Burn it down, no exceptions, and that means you, too, Louis CK and Kevin Spacey, who have respectively ruined stand-up and The Usual Suspects, by association. And I fucking loved The Usual Suspects. Bastards!
If Steve Martin and Sir Michael Caine turn out to be shits, too, I will give up all hope for the male of the species.
Wasn’t that what the Trump electorate wanted, after all? Change, no matter what or who? Well, this is what change looks like. 50.8% of the American populace is ready for change, and it begins with dousing the patriarchy in gasoline, then dropping a match. What rises is a mystery, but the flames are pretty and good for toasting marshmallows.
I don’t know a single female past puberty who wouldn’t be able to tweet #MeToo. The daily harassments and aggravations, the insults and insinuations, the never-ending minefield just getting through it all—it is so pervasive, so assumed, that many women stop noticing, stop thinking about it. It’s just part of being female. You deal with it; pull up your big girl panties; soldier on, soldier. Never let them see you sweat. Or cry. Or yell. Or dog forbid, be shrill, as if a woman asserting her self-hood and personal space is the worst possible fucking thing in the world.
This year, I learned that not only is the personal, political, but the political is also personal. I guess I knew that, but I don’t know that I really felt it. Now I feel it. The feeling has caused me to re-evaluate almost everything in my life: does this make me happy? Does that give me joy? Does this make me want to cut someone or set a fire?
So, we sold our house. It was that, or embark on an exciting new career in arson and insurance fraud. We moved to another neighborhood, another house. We got rid of everything that didn’t bring us joy, kit and caboodle. In some respects, we just walked away. There were things I left behind that I thought about packing up, and then just… didn’t. I have the memories, I don’t need the thing itself. I didn’t dig up the roses. Someday, if I develop dementia and lose the memories, well, I won’t notice, will I? And I will plant new roses, roses for the present and the future, not roses from the past, tangled with bindweed.
Burn it down.
Ironically, in this same period of time, I’ve started exercising more frequently; drinking less alcohol; I’m quitting smoking; and I’ve started wearing make-up regularly. I also quit shaving. My armpits look like muskrats, and I’m very happy about that. I don’t like shaving; I do like make-up and groovy nail polish. I want to be strong and resilient enough to run the fuckers down, when the revolution comes, and look good doing it. Call me Madame Defarge, only with a crochet hook, instead of knitting needles, and a with a bitchin’ manicure.
I’m doing more charitable work, both personally and through my employer. Every new outrage is another hour on the phone, letters and emails, $100 to the ACLU, or Planned Parenthood, or Save the <insert endangered X, here.> There are too many endangered species, too many endangered people, too much endangered land, air, water.
I’m reading more books and less news. I pretty much quit watching television and movies. You wouldn’t think it was possible for me to read MOAR books, but it turns out that two or three episodes of whatever, is time more productively spent learning about Nwanyeruwa and Zen Buddhism and propagating trees from seed. Did you know that cephalopods think with their whole body? Fascinating!
I’ve learned that there is no such thing as trash. The root of all evil is not money, it’s the idea that any thing or any person is discardable. Every thing and every person has value. It’s our responsibility and privilege as sentient beings to respect the value and dignity of every stone, plant, or creature. To conserve and protect human and natural resources.
I’ve learned that while I have no time for regret or taking offense, I have an endless capacity for nurturing a tiny ember of rage. It’s there even when I’m smiling, and it is unleashed every time some guy decides that I am present in a place specifically to cater to him. I’ve been responding to “What are you reading?”, “Let me tell you…”, “You wanna know what I think?” with No. The shocked looks I get! You’d think I’d killed his puppy and fried up its liver. “But I want to tell you what I think about…” No. Go away. I am not here to smile and nod and cater. No. Nah to the ah to the no, no, no.
If I were to anthropomorphize the planet, I would say that Mama Nature is also fed up. Has any woman suffered more than She? Is any more deserving of justice? Can anyone deny the righteousness of Her fury? Is there a greater #MeToo?
Scientists call it climate change. Denialists call it something-something-gnomes-nah-nah-God-something, I don’t even know. What I know is that this dizzy little planet has the power to end us all, as a species, and if men want to take all the “credit” for paving over wetlands and hollowing out mountains, then they also get to own the blame for hurricanes and fires, for famine and pestilence. If She wants to burn it all down, I’m going out wearing lipstick, with hairy legs, singing Welcome to Hell. Unlike Ivanka Trump, I actually know what “complicit” means, and no one is innocent.
But we can change. There are things we can control, actions to take. There are conversations that should be had, loud and often. And maybe, it’s time to take the tiki torches from the Nazis and ideate a more appropriate use. Instead of letting them burn the witches, yet again… burn it down, Witches.