lost

Last week was a rough one.

I spent Wednesday in a daze.  I was exhausted (after a night out in NYC for work), I was dazed after the shocking and massively disappointing (for me) election results.  On Thursday, after some much-needed rest, I remember the feeling of utter despair settling into the pit of my stomach.  Unfathomable sadness.  Sadness that ran so deep, that felt so immediate, that not even tears helped alleviate it.

I’ve tried, sometimes successfully, sometimes not successfully, to understand what happened.  Why it happened.  How it all went south so fast.  Sometimes I feel calm.  But oftentimes, the panic creeps in and overwhelms me.

These feelings put some things in sharp relief.  How as people, we drift through life, and sometimes we are in touch with who we are, what we believe in, but more than not, we are not.  Who am I?  What do I stand for?  What am I willing to fight for? What compromises am I willing to make to be me?

I try — very hard — to learn from my failures. I don’t want them to break me.  Or define me.  But they can teach me.  Teach me how I want to be treated, teach me what I will allow and what I will not — teach me my limits but also how to push the boundaries and experience new things.

I hope very much that it doesn’t take another 37 years for a woman to be on the ballot for President.  I hope very much that the next time a woman runs, she wins.  Not because she’s a woman, but because she is great, because she is right, because she is the best choice.  I hope that everything my mother fought for, everything I try to fight for, everything that every progressive woman has fought for for years, decades, centuries … isn’t lost after one defeat.

I feel lost right now.  I feel lost, and overcome with sadness.  I feel afraid for the immediate future.  I believe in the greatness of my country, but I also wonder as to how someone like our current President-elect won an election as important and significant as the one he won.

I feel lost and I am grappling with how to move forward.  How to make better choices for myself, for my beliefs, for my future and the future of my country.

I feel lost.  And I very much want to change that sooner rather than later.

 

 

nasty woman

Eight years ago, at the very beginning of our relationship, I stood next to John in the back room of Kildare’s in Manayunk (close enough to touch, but not) and we watched Barack Obama ve elected President of the United States.

It was a seminal moment.  Emotional.  A huge step forward for our nation.

Today, I took my place in a  line that snaked out the door and around the side of the building and into the parking lot of my polling place at 7.08 am.  I stood for over an hour in the brisk November cold.  I stared at the plethora of political signs lining the walkway.  I was voter #100 (of the M-Z line).  I didn’t vote Party.  With my numb, fumbling fingers, I fed my ballot into the scanner.  And then I walked out — past the free coffee — got into my car, and cried.

I will be thirty-seven in a little over a month.  I remember being  child in the 1980′s and little girls dreaming of being the first female president.  I remember my mother’s first amazing female boss, Jeannette Finkel, and her red-headed daughter Sarah, who declared that she would be the first woman elected.

The experience of walking into that polling booth and filling in the circle next to Hillary Clinton was filled with the hope I feel for women.  For myself.  For equality.  It was overwhelming.  It meant more than I can articulate.

I didn’t think we’d have to wait this long to have a chance.  To have a voice.  To have support.  I didn’t think our country was so embedded with bigotry and misogyny.

It is.

At the end of this day, America will have elected a new President.  I don’t know if Hillary will win.  But I hope she does.  And I will be in New York City, far away from my husband and our dog.  But by some beautiful chance, my little brother will be in New York today as well.  So I will see him.

I hope that at midnight I can drink a glass of champagne and cry more emotional tears.  For having the chance to vote for a woman.  For voting for her.  And for watching her win.

 

moments in life

I chug green smoothies on my drive to the train station.

I’m never up early enough to drink it before flying out the door, my arms overflowing with keys, phone, wallet, lunch, kombucha, a scarf and coat, umbrella  … and also something absurdly random that is (of course) desperately necessary.

This morning, as I flew down Romansville toward the Thorndale train station, the fog coming in great puffs across the blackened road, I laughed at how much I concentrate on finishing my smoothie.  It’s a morning challenge for the ages.  In general, making the train is a morning challenge for the ages.  But I seem to do it, most mornings, against all odds.  I call that adulting.

Yesterday I slunk down to my bicycle (sitting innocently enough in our garage). I eyed it up. For what seems like forever, the fatigue has been overwhelming (it’s meds week) and my brain has been fuzzy, too full and unfocused.  I didn’t want to exercise.  I wanted to stay in pajamas, watching endless episodes of “Gilmore Girls.” (I’ve just begun watching them, and routinely wonder why I never watched them before … I am in love).  

I knew I would feel better.  But I was feeling agitated.  Fussy and unmotivated.  I didn’t want to listen to “Kitchen Confidential” (my current audible.com book). I began it because my husband loves it, and while it is highly enjoyable, I deal with restaurants daily at work and don’t always want to spend time in them for fun.  Especially the seedy underbelly that any lifer is intimately familiar with.

I’ve listened to “Hamilton” nearly exclusively since April.  And it’s great to work out to.  But I wanted a story, something to distract me from the blinking lights and the display slowly accumulating minutes and miles.  Usually, “Hamilton” is great for that.  It’s a story.  But it’s a story I’ve heard so many times recently, that I know it inside and out.  I zone out now when the inclines get tough.  I’m no longer distracted.

I love musical theatre — any musical theatre really — because it’s a story set to music.

When I first began listening to ‘Hamilton’ at work, a woman in my office was shocked and surprised I hadn’t seen it.  She laughed, said she got into musical theatre after seeing the show — but she couldn’t listen to the music before that.  It had no context.

I’m not like that.  My most favorite musicals — the West End version of “Chess” and “Hamilton” — are both musicals I have never seen.  But I don’t need to.  I can get lost in the story, in the music, without ever seeing an actress or actor perform a single song.  The art of musical theatre — sustaining a narrative through song — it’s beautiful and difficult to get right.  (I’ve seen some bad musical theatre).

I rode my bicycle to “Hamilton.”  It wasn’t a bad ride.  I did feel better afterwards.  And I got lost in the story all over again.

Septa is on strike.

Which means that after the Herculean effort that they put forward to get back to our regular schedule following the July pulling of the Silverliner cars — we’re right back where we were before.  And it’s even worse during rush hour at night.  Total chaos.

The 6.50am Great Valley Flier is a local train this morning.  Making every stop on the way to the city.  It’s supposed to be a “Flier”.  It’s not.  Running about 10 minutes late, and counting.

It means that tomorrow, I will have to drive to University City for my medicine, or I won’t get there in time.

I need the trains to be on time, and on schedule again.  Please.  Someone.  Somewhere.  This is excruciating.