Five is my lucky number. It feels like it always has been, though I don’t know when I actually decided that. I remember I told someone, when I was 5, “Five is my lucky number.” And I remember them telling me that I was just saying that because it was my age, and I’d change my mind when I was 6, then 7, then 8, etc.
I fucking hate when people tell me what I’m going to do like they know me better than I do, so when I turned 6 I made sure to keep my lucky number the same.
“It’s still five,” I remember saying.
I’m 28 now. It’s still five.
Today is day number five in the White House for Donald Trump. I woke up a few times last night, disoriented and sad, alarmed by very vivid and annoyingly realistic anxiety dreams. I buried myself in Alley’s arms for grounding, for comfort. Her warmth reminded me where I was, that for now I am safe, sort of.
I used to have one specific anxiety dream and it would only come around three or four times a year. It was disturbing but not based in reality or any experience that had actually happened to me. The people I’ve dated seriously over the past six years know about it because I would scare myself awake and inevitably startle the person I was sharing a bed with, but it wasn’t anything worth discussing with anyone else. Or maybe it was, but in any case, I did not.
These days my anxiety dreams are numerous. They’ve multiplied to the point where they happen almost nightly, sometimes more than once in one night. They’re varied, too, not at all predictable, and mostly formed from headlines and news stories I’ve read the day before. They almost always wake me up.
When I woke up this morning, after a somewhat sleepless night, I gently suggested to myself that I not read any news today. I have no plans to become ignorant of the atrocities happening literally daily, but it seemed like maybe I was taking in too much, maybe I needed to take a small break. Just one day. The bad stuff would keep happening and I would learn about it tomorrow, I reasoned. Meanwhile maybe I would be able to let some light in. Maybe I would be able to set myself up for a full night’s sleep, one that didn’t feature multiple interruptions. Alley and I had a really beautiful sweet night on Wednesday, one that I would honestly probably be blogging about right now if the circumstances were different and the world weren’t falling apart, and I thought maybe I could hold on to some of that sweetness today.
I broke my rule mere minutes after waking up, scrolling through my Facebook feed while lying in bed, still wrapped in Alley’s arms. I read the news all day. There is so much to take in — everyone is talking about how authoritarian governments overwhelm you with lies on purpose, so your brain gets tired trying to sort through the various stories and pick out the true ones, but I’m not even tired of the lies versus the truth. I’m just tired of all the information, all of it. It’s only day five. There is so much to keep track of, so much to resist, so much to protest, so much to make us say ABSOLUTELY NOT. And I’ll keep track, I will. There’s no choice. But fuck, it makes your brain tired. It makes your soul tired, it makes it hard to make room for any sweetness.
It makes it really fucking hard to sleep.
Here are five things that made an impression on me when I read them today. They are by no means the most upsetting, the most important, or the most viral stories of the day. They’re just five (out of 55ish) things I read that stood out that I’d like to share with you. I’m sure there will be five more (or 55 more) tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, until we all die.
I don’t know how much I believe this article, to be honest, or I guess I don’t know how optimistic we should be, but we need some positive thinking and productive actions along with all this misery and terror, so I am accepting this article as a gift. Maybe it will feel that way for you, too.
Donald Trump is not immune to attack. He isn’t actually Teflon Don. He is a novice, an unpopular executive with a deep need for public affirmation. That final fact is his chief weakness—the thermal exhaust port of this unified Republican government. For opponents of Trump, now is the time to exploit it.
Roxane Gay is amazing. End scene.
Though TED Books and Threshold are vastly different imprints, they both reside within Simon & Schuster and so I guess I’m putting my money where my mouth is. And to be clear, this isn’t about censorship. Milo has every right to say what he wants to say, however distasteful I and many others find it to be. He doesn’t have a right to have a book published by a major publisher but he has, in some bizarre twist of fate, been afforded that privilege. So be it. I’m not interested in doing business with a publisher willing to grant him that privilege. I am also fortunate enough to be in a position to make this decision. I recognize that other writers aren’t and understand that completely.
I can’t actually find the original article I read about the Badlands NPS Twitter account “going rogue” and committing the horrible crime (I’m being sarcastic) of tweeting actual real life facts about climate change despite Trump’s bizarre gag order against federal Twitter accounts (ugh, yes I just fucking typed those words, good lord…) and I just spent 15+ minutes looking for it and it’s 1am and Alley just texted me from upstairs to ask if I’m ever coming to bed so we are going to have to make do with this article that is sort of bland and blah but gets the point across. If you’re not watching what’s happening with the National Parks on Twitter then get it together and start paying attention, because there are many ways to resist and they are doing a really great job!
An unofficial Twitter account for NPS, “AltUSNatParkService,” popped up Tuesday night, quickly amassing nearly 700,000 followers. Billing itself the unofficial “Resistance” team of the NPS, the account has tweeted several climate change facts and calls for recognizing scientific claims.
Okay, this is a video, and it’s 20 minutes long, and I hate watching videos, so I understand if you skip it. But you really shouldn’t, because it includes a lot of very relevant and also upsetting information about our environment and where we are potentially heading, which, in case you haven’t been following along, is essentially hell! Also it’s Rachel Maddow, so. Here’s the synopsis, lifted directly from the YouTube posting:
Rachel Maddow reports on how many of the concerns about how Donald Trump would regard the environment as president are coming true, with his pushing of controversial pipelines, to his EPA pick, to his lockdown on the EPA staff.
Did you think I was gonna let you finish this post without crying? Ha! Lucy Hallowell wrote this for Autostraddle, about injustice and queer family and Trump and love, above all, love love love, and I am warning you it might make you ugly cry. Or I am admitting that it did make me ugly cry, right in the middle of my work day, and then again just now when I re-read it looking for the right paragraphs to quote in this post. Grab a box of tissues and hold me, please.
I’m angry at the injustice. Angry that I, who planned with my wife for our daughter’s conception, went to the doctor with her, smoothed her hair and spoke softly to her when she was scared during her C-section, who spent years caring for both of our children so my wife could complete her residency and fellowship, who changed more diapers than I can count, fed, clothed, rocked, sang to, danced with, read to, and loved and loved and loved this child could be considered a stranger to her in the eyes of the law.
No, she is not my blood. You only have to look at her beautiful face to understand that she is my wife’s brilliant offspring. But she is my child. She belongs to me and I to her as much as I belong to the child I did carry. I’m more than angry. I’m hurt and enraged at a system that will force me to look at my perfect, hilarious, mischievous child and be forced to explain that there are people in the world who don’t understand that I am her Mama. I have been her Mama since the moment she was conceived, from the moment I felt her move in my wife’s belly, and from the moment she emerged into this world.
Sweet dreams. Take care of yourselves — it’s important, now more than ever.