I have been sick for ten days. I have had an ear infection, mild flu, and general I- can’t- do -anything- but- no -stress- because -I -am- moving- on -the -twentieth -who -needs- to- pack- anyway malaise. I can occasionally crawl out of bed and throw some of my junk into a box but even with an inordinate amount of sleep and two trips to the doctor I am not getting better. So I decided to go all Louise Hay and get metaphysical and it occurred to me that I can’t “hear” because my ear canals are clogged so I asked myself, “What do I not want to listen to?” I have come up with some great stuff the last couple of days but none of it really seemed to land. For example, yesterday I was convinced I haven’t been listening to the call for me to learn sign language and be an interpreter for deaf theater goers. While I admit my experience in the theater coupled with my flair for the dramatic might make that a good job for me I decided that probably wasn’t it. This morning before I was really awake I asked myself again, “What am I not listening to? The real answer finally came- Everything. Every. F@#%ing. Thing. I have been the equivalent of a child with her fingers in her ears yelling, “LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” After I realized this I could sense my Grammy Lu from beyond the grave throw her hands up in the air and yell, “Praise Goddess! She got it!”
After the election I came out swinging. Picture if you will, Donald Trump with his arm stretched out and his hand on my forehead while I punch and kick and scream but nothing connects. That was me. I started a website and and I was going to have everyone post a selfie and say #Irise during the inauguration and I was going to stop Donald Trump and , I, I, all me, all I. Then the downward spiral. The recognition of the futility of that attempt right now.
During the election I had a dream that Donald Trump raped me. When I woke up I realized he would never rape me because I was too old and ugly for him. This is horrible on so many levels. Why am I dreaming that I am not even good enough for the President Elect to rape? What has this man done to our national psyche already?
I did not watch Obama’s farewell speech because I knew it would make me cry and I thought it would make my ear infection worse. Today I decided I needed to hear it. I just watched it and it did make me cry. Big ugly sobbing and crying. This man, who I worked so hard to get elected, who I believed could change the world, who stands for the goodness in mankind is being replaced with a man so reprehensible he haunts my dreams. I am crying. I am grieving. I am scared. I do not want the Obama’s to leave. I do not want to listen to what is going on now. I want to stay in my bed and pretend we are not moving on as a country and that I am not moving out of my house in five days. But here is the strange part- this is not who I usually am. DeAnne Spicer Todd is not afraid of change. Much to my husband’s dismay I welcome it. Every time our family life gets stable I add something or someone else for us to take care of and shift our family upside down to make room for more. That’s how we continue to grow and thrive. That is how I roll.
I am watching and writing and crying and while I am doing this I am blowing my nose and every time I do my ears are opening up a little bit. The crying is not making it worse it is making it better. I do not need to do anything about Donald Trump right now. I need to stop and listen- then act. I hear what people are saying but I am really only listening to the words so I can make a joke or butt in with an opinion or argument as to why I am right and they are wrong. In a conversation I am always listening like a lawyer trying a case before a jury. I know what you are going to say and I have my answer before you even say it. That, is exhausting. No wonder I am sick. So yes Grammy Lu , I finally heard you. I am not listening. I offer a big apology to my husband, children, and friends. I am sorry.
Next Friday when the Obamas’ move out of their house we will also be moving out of our house. I told you I have a flair for the dramatic. I have to believe that change is good. I have to hope for the best. (Yes, the hopey changey stuff still works for me.) During the move and inauguration I will post selfies of myself to social media with #Irise and what I rise for. No, it won’t change anything but it’s a start.
When the dust settles I will continue to listen before deciding what to do next. More importantly I will try to hear what people are actually saying. I will even try to care about what they are saying but I am not making any promises. I can’t change all at once. But I can promise I will face the world with open ears and do my part with all the millions of Americans who care to rise for what is right. Can we do it? I believe! We have come too far the last eight years. You can’t put Baby back in the corner! We are going to move forward with courage. If, in our quest, we question and ask if we can still do this without President Obama in office let us remember and answer ourselves in his very own words. Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we can.
Please excuse the spelling and grammatical errors. My editor is packing.