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January 19, 2017

A Survivor’s Guide to Facing the Inauguration.

We are facing the inauguration of the next President and the first step toward our survival—the flower that sprouts from beneath a crushing load of asphalt.

For two weeks, I’ve been unable to sleep. I’m not alone. Many friends and online strangers and I have this in common.

In an attempt to find rest, I gave up caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and the computer after four in the afternoon. I have taken long slow breaths, counted what I’m grateful for in place of sheep, meditated, bathed until pruned in Epsom salt, and drank chamomile tea by the quart.

Last night, I discovered something that worked: two pillows on my abdomen and one angled across my forehead activated pressure points that distracted my mind from old traumas.

The changing of the political guard doesn’t usually require this much effort from a citizen. Normally, we pass a television and catch the image of a newly-elected official swearing, to the best of his abilities, to be the best leader of our democracy.

But this isn’t a normal inauguration of the best of our best; it is an endorsement of the worst of our worst. We can argue about that, and some of you may even comment that I don’t know what I’m talking about—but I do.

I’ve always been a quasi-action girl—the burr under a wool blanket, a resilient flower cracking through the asphalt; surviving by confronting, or at least annoying, those who have tried to hobble me into stasis. I wrote about some of those experiences prior to the election. It was my last-ditch effort to convince voters, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

Not enough listened and now I’m in a retro nightmare.

I spent 18 years with someone who was a middle-class Donald Trump, complete with grandiose notions of himself and a disregard for others. I’m the fallout, the leftover debris after the explosion—what survives after a narcissist detonates.

It took decades, but I’ve finally picked myself up off the desecrated landscape. In the process, I’ve gained a skill set for this type of life. Surviving does that; it is the toughened skin after a firestorm sloughs off naiveté.

This person was not more powerful than me all those years ago. I’m still here.

And whatever the days ahead bring, I know a few things that may help us all sleep:

At our core, we’re survivors. Humans have a complex and amazing ability to overcome.

Facing is always better than hiding. I looked away until there was nowhere to go but straight in. “In” is where I found the truth.

Healing is always possible. Looking back on those words, I’m still shocked to find them true. I wouldn’t say my healing is perfect, but I’m now able to confront the inauguration in a productive way.

It is better to be a part of the solution, to reach a hand out to someone else, and get busy cleaning up the mess. I joined a grassroots community organization; this has been a place to turn my anxiety into power-driven positive change.

I’m not alone this time—and burr-laden wool blankets are annoying as sh*t.

Tomorrow, I’ll stand with thousands of other citizens, in cities across the world, to face the inauguration. As a community of change, we can be the light we want to see in the world.

May the best of the best for all humanity sprout across our beautiful planet. Let’s get busy.

 

Author: Deb Lecos

Image: @nytimes on Instagram

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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