It’s not writer’s block.
No, it’s definitely not writer’s block, because I’ve been able to write.
It’s blogger’s block. And it’s been happening since the inauguration of our 45th President.
For some of you out there, the inauguration was a normal, every-four-years kind of event. For some of you, perhaps it was even a non-event. You just don’t pay attention to current events.
But for some of us, it was a transformational, watershed, devastating, gut-kicking, soul-crushing …
[INSERT VARIOUS DRAMATIC WORDS OF YOUR CHOICE]
… kind of day.
After the trauma of the election, I frankly wasn’t sure what to expect upon inauguration.
(Did you just roll your eyes? Did you roll your eyes because I said “trauma” with respect to the election? This next section is just for you.)
On election night, as the early returns came in and I recognized that our country was on the cusp of electing someone who had openly mocked a disabled person in front of thousands of people plus the media, I began experiencing “neurogenic tremor.” Neurogenic tremor is explained well in this piece, but the idea isn’t complicated. Tremoring is a gift that our bodies give us when we face something big and frightening. Neurogenic tremor can be seen in other mammals, too. Start watching this video at about 1:05 to see a polar bear deal with the stress of being chased and researched by humans.
Tremoring itself isn’t bad. It’s when we suppress the tremor that we get into trouble. Our body holds onto that tension and stress because the natural coping mechanism has been short-circuited. (To read more on this, explore the work of Dr. David Berceli who has done remarkable work across the globe helping people cope with trauma.)
My tremoring didn’t stop that night until I went to bed, and it reignited in the days after the election anytime I heard Mr. Trump’s voice on the radio. I had to pull over a few times and went entirely without news for a few days as a result.
So I was really curious how my body would react to Trump actually becoming President, with all those nuclear codes and civil rights at his disposal.
More than a month and change later, I can make the official report: not well.
I suffered from what I called #TrumpFlu for three solid weeks. Sure, it’s “that time of year” when viruses abound. But stress doesn’t do a lick of good when the body is bombarded with germs and such and every single day since the Inauguration has felt like a powder keg to me.
But, back to the whole “blogger’s block” thing. Being sick, stressed and busy with other sorts of things (like watching the White House news briefings daily, researching legislation and Constitutional rights, calling my Senators, etc.) is, at the end of the day, NOT why I couldn’t open up this space and write.
I haven’t been writing because, in full disclosure, I couldn’t care less about health, wellness and nutrition right now.
OK, so that’s not entirely true. I will always care. In many ways, issues of self-care are more important now than ever.
BUT, the presidency of “45” has changed me in so many ways.
Well, maybe it would be more apt to say it’s “heightened” me.
And I just cannot stomach the notion of sitting down and writing about fat soluble vitamins right now. (I’m not trying to pick on A, D, E and K. They’re important. It’s just an example.)
Because, see, people are fighting for their very right to exist. Families I know and love are frightened that their ability to even remain a family will come under fire. People of non-majority faiths or who are without a religious tradition are petrified of backlash against them and their communities.
Let me share a little secret with you. When I was a junior in high school, and President George H.W. Bush gave his State of the Union address, I pulled out a legal pad and outlined the whole damn speech. Why? Because I am a dork? Yes. And, also, because for as long as I can remember I have cared deeply about our gorgeous, complicated, resilient system of government. It’s why I went to law school. It’s why I did graduate work in Political Science. It’s why I worked in eight states on healthcare advocacy.
It’s also why watching someone who has little or no regard for the Constitution, who puts forth simple “answers” to mind-blowingly complex questions, and who exerts precious little self-control causes me physical and emotional stress unlike anything I have ever experienced.
Last week I finished the first draft of my recent fiction “work in progress” and I knew that it was do-or-die time for this blog. I cannot bring myself to write about the things I used to write about. I either have to give up this blog completely, or write about the things that really matter to me right now.
Alas, here I am. And here I will stay. Because I choose to keep writing. But you may choose not to read anymore. And I get that. You wanted recipes, you end up getting served something else entirely.
I hope that you will stay, though. My readership is largely women, mostly moms and grandmothers. And if this election taught me anything, it’s that having women’s voices at the table changes the discourse in both expected and unexpected ways.
I want you here for that discourse, but know that it is my goal to ask uncomfortable questions. (Mainly of myself, but you may ask them of yourself, too.)
I believe pretty strongly that white middle to upper class women like me need to take a critical look in the mirror . What we find may not be what we hoped to find. But I, for one, think we owe it to ourselves, our kids, and our communities to start the process.