#SelfReflectionSunday: Episode 2
For our new series #selfreflectionsunday I'll be publicly posting a personal inner thought/journal entry because why not bring a little more of a personal touch to my business life? Ali's Wagon has been knitted so tightly with my family life since the very beginning, so I want to take a minute every week to let that connection shine through. Hope you enjoy!
Watching the coverage of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh brought up so much different stuff for so many different people, but it has just me angry. Again. Or angry, still. The night of the Trump presidential win I immediately felt adrift from reason and explanation. In the middle of the night, after the results were in, I spent time on the phone with my mother and with my best friend, looking for some explanation for how this happened. I felt so caught off guard and I needed some internal grounding. When even those two trusted advisors couldn’t help me feel any better, I knew things would never be quite the same and that something had shifted.
I want to know whose did this, who are the voters who caused this outcome that knocked me and our country so far off center? Nat and I often talk about Trump voters and wonder if it would be better for them to be stupid or evil, and it doesn’t feel like that matters anymore because the Trump win made so many other losses come true. Since that night of the election I have lost my belief in the outcomes that people I trust tell me will happen. All the statistics that predicted my side would win were wrong, and the unthinkable happened. The win presented me with an immediate problem of what to say to the kids the next morning, when it felt like the sky was falling in on us all. And the long term problem it presented for me was that for months and months I agonized about who the other guys were, those Trump voters. That wondering died down in this second year of Trump, though last week’s hearings brought me back to this line of thinking.
On Friday I was alone on a 5 hour car trip. As I listened to the hearings, for almost the whole drive long, I literally looked into cars in the lanes beside me and caught myself silently guessing who could have done this, was it the guy in the black Range Rover or the one in the red Camry? There are people who heard Donald Trump saying lewd things about women, and they voted for him, anyway, It makes the hearings feel fruitless because the outcome seems forgone in this era of our country. Kavanaugh will win, anyway. Anyway, even if he did the things that he has been accused of doing, he will win.
Since the presidential elections when Donald Trump said things not fit for prime time, I have had ongoing anxiety about having the news on in our house. Nat and I have never shied away from explaining hard or confusing things. We directly and truthfully answered questions about death when Lily asked us, and my kids knew how babies were made way before most of our friends had these talks with their kids. When Lily’s 4th grade teacher announced that she was transgender we were one of the few parents who told our kids what was happening because the truth is what we usually believe in. But in the time we are in now, where the truth is not being given the most weight, I have no idea what my kids should hear. The things in our news cycle have caused us to sit down with both kids and have conversations that just feel too soon. With the things that are being shared on NPR these days, I feel like trusting my kids’ good moral character isn’t enough. Last week we had an explicit discussion with Abe about consent that felt way too soon for a 9 year old. On the other hand, how could we NOT to talk with him, because stuff has been normalized in our country, so publicly, that makes me worry as a parent. Last week was National Daughter’s Day and as my friends posted beautiful words about the strength and courage of their daughters, next to pictures of their young, fresh faces, we made a plan to talk to Lily about remembering that not all men are people who will disrespect and terrorize her. I am so worried and angry about what my kids are thinking and how it will change them to have heard the news cycle of the last two years.
I think we kept the news on a little too long in our house, for me, and for the kids, but I am not sure what to do about that now. It’s like trying to take your eyes off of a train wreck--but then I realize that half of our country picked where we are now and I just can’t reconcile that, and I am scared things can’t go back to where they were.