I’m weak. I’m starting off today saying that because I let stuff knock me down. On the reg, almost as habit, I let stuff take me off of the path. Admitting that isn’t fun, intellectually, I believe that vulnerability is a strength. So often, though, I find it emotionally painful.
In September, I started finding a good rhythm. I was writing each week, I felt like I was getting a good response to my blogs. I was Hamiltoning - writing like I’m running out of time. Then, as I was getting ready to attend EdCamp Tampa Bay, a big stupid hurricane set its sights on my town. It was a weekend of stress, of worry, of tears. A lot of my town was under water. My street was under water, and although my apartment is a second floor in an old house with no real downstairs, I had no idea what I’d be going back to. Amazingly, wonderfully, I got out without a lick of damage. So many others weren’t so fortunate. When Hamilton’s island was devastated by a hurricane, he wrote his way out. Me? Nope. There was a little bit of helping out in the community, a lot of going about the business of getting back to normal life.
Did that involve writing? Nope! I started getting out on the road for more long bike rides. And of course, like anything that takes work and thought, when bicycling got in the way of my traditional writing time, I put off the writing. “I’ll try to get it in later,” I thought. Later never came, though. Week after week, I overpacked and overscheduled my life and didn’t find time to write.
The lead up to election day didn’t help. My feelings about it all shoved so much out of the spotlight of my attention, and I didn’t write. I know that just like it was for Hamilton, writing is a way for me to save myself. I find that mixing equal parts of laughing with friends, exercise, creation and writing seem to keep me on the evenest keel. The exercise was there, and the laughter, but man, did I let myself get distracted. It’s funny when you know that something’s good for you, often it’s something you really enjoy and value, and yet still, you don’t touch it.
And that leads us to this week. The election, which I thought was going to all be a horrible memory in the rearview mirror yielded results that have, again, knocked me down. I’m honestly horrified. I had somebody say to me, “You haven’t seen what he’s done yet, give him a chance…” Yeah, uh huh. Pretty much the same script as in 2008, but with the roles changed. It’s not that I don’t want to see a Trump presidency because of all of the things he’s been accused of, or that he’s had attributed to him. I mean, those don’t make me happy, but that’s just gravy. For me, it starts with the platform that he ran on, even more worrying now that he’s proposed his first hundred days goals. I’ve generally been happy with what the president has accomplished in the face of an obstructionist congress. Mr. Trump’s intention of overturning progress that matters to me is very upsetting. I’m upset with his views on immigration, I’m upset with his picking a running mate that believes that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” I’m upset with the fact that the things he says are embarrassing to me as an educator and as an American.
But here’s the thing, although there’s a solidly political paragraph in the middle of this post, that’s not what this is about. This is about the fact that another thing has knocked me down. I don’t want to respond to “something not going my way” (thanks, Facebook people...) with despair and inaction. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like arguing or disagreeing with someone when I have strong feelings, and yet, I wanna be the person who takes action. I want to be the person who handles disappointment, fear, and despair with bravery, grace, and kindness. I want to be the person who stands up against things that are wrong, stands up for the maligned and marginalized. I want to be the person who does something productive to help. And so, I realize at times like this, what I need to do is write.
When I write, I understand my feelings better, I focus better, and I find my way forward. And that’s what I need to do. So, back on track, kid. Get there, stay there. Share your voice, share your successes, share your struggles. We are not alone when we struggle, there are so many of us. You may be weak, but we all are. The real strength is in getting back up without losing who you are. Keep your head up and get writing.