I originally wrote this post to share with only the half-dozen or so Pagans to whom I am closest but then I figured, heck, everyone needs some warmth just now. So if you are part of my tribe, this is for you.
I’m OK. I’m in terrible pain, but I’m OK. I have seriously considered suicide, but I won’t do that. I’m the same tough old dame I’ve always been, albeit one with a wound that the Fisher King would have recognized.
Midway through Tuesday night, my BFF (and HP) and I looked each other dead in the eyes. Me: “I think we know.” Her: “I think we know.” Shortly thereafter, I got a text from a woman who is Quite the Brightest Witch of Her Generation: “You holding up?” I was in ruins. All that I could reply was, “Well, here’s the Tower Time you’ve been telling us was coming.” As my beloved Druid was about to take me home, my BFF hugged me, breast to breast, and I joked, “Well, maybe Susan Sarandon’s right and this will usher in our great and glorious revolution.” She hugged me tighter and said, “No, that’s not how this works. But we’ll do what women always do; we’ll get through.”
Wednesday, a young woman in my office appeared at my door in tears. “Can we talk? Please?” We cried, we raged, and, at her suggestion, at the end, we “hugged it out.” Much younger than I, she cried over and over at how much of the progress that generations of women have made was lost. She did me a favor because comforting her made me feel better, reminded me that I have some strengths, set me back in my groove. In the midst of our despair, she told me that one of the reasons that she’d moved from the deep, deep South to DC was because she’d thought that maybe, one day, she’d get into politics, but now she didn’t know what to do. I begged her to do that; to get into politics. And then I hugged her and said what my HP had said, “We’ll get through this the way women always do.”
Thursday, one of the hardest-driving women I know told me that she’s considering Emily’s List’s training program for women who want to run for office. Again, I begged her to do that.
One of America’s most intelligent and politically-involved Pagans has been sending out regular posts about how to handle this emergency. She, herself, was so sick that we put off our planned dinner until after the upcoming holiday.
Meanwhile, every day, every day, every day, I’ve been sinking into my work the way a person in pain sinks into narcotics. For at least a few hours at a time, I can focus on the that clean and living thing — THE LAW — and avoid, the way that you might avoid looking directly at the anaconda in the corner or pulling off the bandage to see just how bad the suppurating wound really is, thinking about what has happened to my beloved landbase. Even my pro bono project for immigrant women allows me to do the one thing that I know I can do — absorb a new area of law — while I shut out the horror. “Just learn this. Don’t think of the actual women who depend upon you learning this. That will topple you from this precipice. Just focus; just learn; you were born to do this; you’ve done this all your life; play the Glass Bead Game and do it as well as you can.” I’m a sell-sword and when I step into the circle, I’ll step in with hands carefully chalked. It helps me swerve away from despair.
And, meanwhile, the texts, FB messages, emails, and phone calls reach out: “Are you OK?” “I’m doing as well as I can and thinking of you.” “Just checking on you; do you need anything?” “Come have Thanksgiving with us; we can’t eat with people who voted for hate. We’ll set up a different celebration for a different family.” “You have a friend in the True North, Strong and Free.” Even people who aren’t Pagan have been checking in: “Thinking of you and all you did. Know you’re as upset as I am.” I never did anything to deserve my tribe, but I am grateful for all of them.
In between my morning meditation, writing a brief, hitting the grocery store, making soup, planting tulips, I keep remembering something that I once read about how sloppily most Pagans call the Quarters. You know, we’ve all been there; heck, we’ve all done it. It’s your job to call East and you mouth, “Hail East, new dawning, um, new ideas, new ways of, um, thinking. We call you to help us to, ah, speak the truth . . . .” I’ll try in the next few days to dig it up, but someone once wrote: “How would you call the directions if your town’s harvest depended upon you?”
Do it that way from now on. Because it does.
Picture found here.