Normally when I lie in bed at night trying to go to bed I am thinking about:
- An embarrassing moment from seventh grade
- A different embarrassing moment from seventh grade
- What time I have to be at work tomorrow
- A story
Sometimes it’s the play or NaNovel or whatever I’m working on at the time; just as often it’s some silly, self-indulgent daydream. It keeps me from thinking about that other embarrassing moment from seventh grade and it helps me get to sleep.
Since Tuesday, when I lie in bed at night I write blog posts in my head.
I am paralyzed with how much I want to write. I feel like a shaken bottle of soda, tight as a drum and likely to explode. I feel like a thundercloud.
I want to explain why I am angry at third-party voters, in a way that is compassionate and clear; at the same time, I want to explain why I am angry at third-party voters in a way that does not make nice. On Tuesday night I had several hours of panic attacks and I have not gone a day since then without starting to cry at least once. I am not in a mood to be compassionate and empathetic to others when I can’t barely keep myself together, but I also believe that speaking in languages of anger and blame changes few minds.
I want to call people to action, or perhaps scream them to action like I’m the opening victim in Jaws.
I want to write about why I’m wearing a safety pin, and why I’m staying off Facebook, and the bizarre, slightly unrooted sense of nihilistic freedom I sometimes feel scrolling through Twitter. Like, I should get those tattoos I’ve been thinking about for literal years! I should get a damn sleeve! I should go buy a keyboard! Why the hell not! Why put anything off anymore! Be your goddamn self, because if nothing we do matters, all that matters is what we do, and what I want to do is wear black jeans with a brown sweater and scream Green Day and Something Corporate and Indigo Girls lyrics out the car window! Whatever! Radical honesty is where it’s at, man!
I want to write about climate change, except even thinking about it scares me so much I can’t put words in a sentence.
I want to write a lot of poetry. I don’t think most of it will be very good poetry, I just don’t think carefully crafted argumentative essays are gonna get at my soda-pop feelings very well.
I want to yell about the electoral college and voter suppression and how none of this is actually a new problem because anti-immigrant sentiment has been strong in the USA since the Bush era and anti-Muslim sentiment has been strong in the USA since the Bush era and misogyny, misogyny, misogyny. I also want to yell about how it was not unreasonable for me to think that the country that elected Barack Obama twice could reject a man who courted white nationalists to win the presidency, was endorsed by the KKK, and just appointed an anti-Semitic alt-right zealot as his chief strategist. I don’t think it was unreasonable for me to think well of my fellow Americans. Given that Hillary Clinton appears to be winning the popular vote, as absentee ballots are counted, I don’t even think it was precisely overly optimistic.
I want to transcribe the tense, crawling feeling between my shoulderblades and the splintered mahogany weight behind my breastbone, but I don’t think the language to do so has been created yet.
I want to tell you that I love you, even in those cases where I’m mad right now.
Unless you voted for Trump. In which case I just want to know why you looked at me — a queer woman with several pre-existing health conditions — and my Latino friends, my lesbian friends, my gay friends, my trans friends, my immigrant friends, my Jewish friends, my Muslim friends, my Black friends, my disabled friends, my Native friends, every one of my friends on the fringes — and you decided we were making America less great.