Thursday, September 27, 2018

Self Care on a Day of Many Triggers

I will not be watching or listening to the Senate testimony today.  I'm fairly sure I know what the Supreme Court nominee and his accuser will say.  I don't get to vote, so I don't feel the need to watch this coverage.

But I also confess that I am weary.  I am tired of these constant reminders of how brutal we can be too each other.  I do know that I enjoy a certain amount of privilege in that I can choose to look away.  I don't want to look away for too long.  But I also need to exercise some self care.

Recently I told a friend that no other administration had made me feel so unsafe.  But then I reflected.  Under the second Bush administration, I felt unsafe, but it was something different.  I felt a distinct threat from my government, as an activist, even as I admitted that if the national government was coming after such a small-time activist as me, then times would be pretty grim.

The current administration makes me feel unsafe in a completely different way.  Every day's news coverage reminds me of how unsafe the larger world is for many of us, and reminds me of how hard it is to find justice when the rich and the privileged are involved. 

It also makes me feel unsafe because something about this administration seems to make larger-than-usual swathes of the population feel like they've been given permission to act in unsavory ways.  I know that many of us in the U.S. have always been subject to this cruelty.  Again, I recognize my place of privilege, past and present.

I'm feeling a strange mix of anger and resignation.  How can we not be any further along towards a vision of a just world than we are right now?  How can we be decades after the Anita Hill hearings and still be no better at handling these kinds of allegations?

But let me also remember that these times are not those times.  This year, 2018, is still a better time to be a woman than 1918 or 1818--or even 1991.  A woman can bring a charge forward, and she has a better chance of being believed.  We are better at knowing what boundaries should be, even if those boundaries are not always respected.  There are laws that might protect us all--once those laws didn't exist, and the idea that they should would not have existed.

Still, we have not yet arrived at the future that I hoped for when Anita Hill testified, and I was a younger woman in grad school.   Let me hold onto that idea of a time when people's bodies are respected, when boundaries are maintained, when people will not trespass even when we are unconscious, when the powerful do not prey on the weak.  Let that time come soon.

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