Friday, February 3, 2017

Struggling To Transcend The Darkness

Yesterday was a dark day for me. Nothing in particular happened to cause the darkness. Unless, of course, you count the state of the country.

I woke up. I made coffee. I drank the coffee. I read Vogue. I was in a pretty good mood. I even decided to be bold with my eye make up: dark purpled-gray on the lids and a smudgy stroke underneath.

Without even knowing why, I just felt dark. I wore mostly black. And with the salt of white in my beard and the dark eyes, I had a vision of what it would all look like and it came together in reality with as much perfection.

The darkness of the outward soon seeped inward.

I asked a question and participated in a discussion about politics: Mr. Trump's Executive Orders, Senate confirmation hearings, Democrats stalling just to be vindictive or because they had legitimate concerns.

During the discussion I listened but couldn't help but feel like the kid sitting in Geometry class, not understanding, finally raising his hand to ask a question, and hearing the snickers of the students around him making him feel even more stupid because now they know he doesn't understand.

I know that these are my own self-imposed feelings of ignorance. I also know that my dread of each new move by the Trump Administration on the chess board that is our country's political game is real. I know that I shouldn't live in fear. But knowing and doing are two different things. I'm trying to understand. I'm trying to have faith. Both are equally difficult for me to do.

I couldn't shake the feelings of dimness that took hold of me yesterday. I tried to engage in other conversations. I felt the people around me working overtime to lift the mood in the room. I couldn't do it for myself, and they couldn't do it for me. I had spiraled down the rabbit hole where even Alice kept her distance. Too much darkness. I was alone. I finally realized the best course of action for me, and everyone around me, was to remove myself from the situation.

Later in the evening I took to Twitter. Searching what was trending led to a Trump related hashtag. I knew I shouldn't click on it but click on it I did. Three tweets in I saw the word "libtard." That's the word that I've noticed more and more from the Right since the election results knocked the air out the Left. It's a hateful word; demeaning.

I wasn't sure it was possible, but the darkness got even darker. I forced myself to close my Twitter app and then forced myself to delete the app from my iPhone.

We're living in a divided time right now. I am honestly trying to understand how the other side feels. I saw the progress that happened during the Obama Administration. However, I'm trying to understand how what I considered progress was not considered progress by Obama haters. It's so difficult to see another's point of view when that point of view at no point has even a hint of aligning with yours.

I can't understand why my being protected, as a gay man, causes so many such discomfort. I don't remember what I felt more of when the Supreme Court ruled on Equality in 2015. Was it relief? (I certainly was relieved. And shocked. I wept.) Or was superiority that people in a country so superiorly Christian would finally have to accept the Separation of Church and State? (I felt that too.) Of course, that ruling inevitably led to Religious Freedom bills being submitted over many parts of the country.

Fear and hate continue to be carefully taught. And they're thriving. They're thriving equally among the Right and the Left: two sides within the same country so divided that we can't even be civil with one another.

I continue to fight my fear and to try not to hate people who might hate me for the way I was born.

I know that I'm supported by some but don't feel that I'm supported by those from whom I'm longing to be held.

As I made my exit yesterday with Charlie Brown's rain cloud firmly secured above my head I said, "The next time I see you I'll try to be more pink."

Today I am trying to combat the darkness with pink. It's light-hearted. It's revitalizing. It lifts my spirits.

I can't watch the news. I can't read my Twitter feed. I don't even want to look at the headlines on Huffington Post. If I do any of those things the brightness will begin to drain from the pink. And if that happens all I'll be left with is the dingy brown of a watery puddle. And that's just one step away from the darkness, over which I'm struggling to transcend.