I have wanted all the world, its beauties
I've been working lately on rebuilding the archive of the Letters, which has involved a lot of revisiting old thoughts and feelings and moments. Some of them feel familiar, worn smooth as worry stones, but others are sharp-edged and distant.
It's maybe cruelly ironic that yesterday I hit the November 2016 batch in the long, long list of messages I wanted to back up. My post-election attempts at soothing my horror at what happened haven't aged well, especially not today; my fervent and wholehearted claims-as-prayers that it can't possibly be as bad as it seems right now did not hold up. And now we're here, somehow, already on the precipice of this moment I've been ignoring with dread for over a year. In a couple of weeks, we'll be in the after.
I admit to a pretty deep sense that there's no outcome of this that's going to be good, especially on the back of the year we've had already. Everybody's worked up and stressed out, and with so much fear whirling around us all, it's not going to take much more than a spark to make things really messy.
I am eternally grateful, in the last four years more than ever, for my friend KPJ, who does not put up with my bullshit when I'm using my duty toward hope as blinders against anxiety. She will stand firm on the ground of "things are going to be bad, and we need to figure out how to get through that, not try to ignore it until it's unbearable," which is a reminder I think all of us need sometimes. Many people in her life can be hard on her for being pessimistic, but the truth is, I don't think that's really what's happening. She's not a pessimist. She is optimistic in the face of devastation. She sees clearly what's coming and stands there with shield and sword ready to fight back because she believes we can do something about it. She will come back, hell or high water, with her shield or on it.
We don't carry our hope in the same way, she and I, but we do carry it together, and in these moments, when I just want to hunker down, build a nest, and wait it out, she reminds me that I had damn well better be making a nest for everybody else, too, because they're going to need it when they're done out there.
I am a very firm believer in doing what we can, in using whatever fuels us, and in trying not to compare our strengths against the strengths of others. You only have what you have to work with. But I will, always, ask both you and myself to remember, as much as you can, to make whatever you are expansive and wholehearted. Share whatever you can, always.
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