This Is Not Normal

I’m still not feeling like myself, after last week’s election.  I’m actually kind of surprised everyone else seems to be fine now—I’m surprised when I pass people in the store, they’re talking about their workouts or what they’re cooking for Thanksgiving or what their dog did yesterday that was so cute, and not every conversation is about what the fact that America just imploded.

I’m not sure what I expected, and I know we can’t be in calamity mode all the time, but lately it feels weird to ask someone, “Hey, how’s it going!”  And it feels weird when that person answers back, “I’m great!  How are you?”

I feel like we should have a new set of greetings where instead, you say, “Hey, I’m really freaking out.  How are you?  And the person answers: “Yup.  I am majorly depressed and anxious.”   Then you stand there passing a paper bag back and forth, hyperventilating together.

Like many people, I had thoughts of moving to Canada after the election.  I entertained the thought enough to wonder if it is a real possibility for our family and if so, what it would look like.  Then I thought about how my one of my biggest concerns about Trump’s presidency is the irreversible damage some of his policies are going to have on our world’s climate, and I realized that moving to Canada will not fix that problem for me or anyone else on this planet.  I was overcome with a feeling of being trapped.  I am trapped here on Earth with Donald Trump.

Vincenzo suggested I move to Nars instead, but I am worried it’s not far enough away.

“Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver had a good post-election episode that made me laugh and also made me know what I need to do next.  First of all, I have to say it was such a relief to laugh about the election because for awhile there, even the funniest people in America were too shocked, stunned, and upset to know how to lighten the mood.  Comedy is my barometer of the nation’s health.

Anyway, John Oliver warned that things are going to feel “normal” pretty soon, and he wanted to remind us that whatever happened over the last few months was not normal.  In fact, he said we should write that on a sticky note and post it somewhere we will see it often so that we remember over the next presidential term that this is not normal.


I am afraid of forgetting, so I actually did post a note for myself.  It feels a bit like I’m in the movie Inception, and the sticky note is my spinning top.  It is something I can glance at to tell me that yes, I am in the correct reality so I shouldn’t go jump out of a skyscraper to get back to the right one.

The other thing John Oliver did was to list several of the government agencies that are going to wither under the Trump administration and which will need our financial and vocal support during his presidency.  There are many causes to pick from, as Trump threatened so many of our nation’s core values (or what I thought were our core values, up until a week ago).  You can check out the list and links donation links on this page.  Out of these, the one that calls the loudest to me is the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), so we are going to donate regularly to that group.

Since the election I have filled up several grocery carts with food to donate in a feeble attempt to put some good out there to undo what feels like a lot of bad.  It doesn’t feel like enough though.  So this week I have made an attempt to smile at everyone I make eye contact with, even though I really don’t feel like smiling much yet.  Trump has stirred up the part of people that makes them suspicious of each other and distrusting of differences.  He has built up the feeling that people who don’t look like us or act like us or believe like us are “others.”  We need to counteract that by inviting others in and minimizing our differences.  We need to replace the word “others” with “also us.” The solution to that is completely free and nearly effortless and easy to do hundreds of times a day: to smile at everyone you can.

The group who was taking up the whole sidewalk when I was running this morning—instead of acting irritated as I buzzed by them, I smiled and waved at them.  They smiled and waved back.  The two ladies standing outside the library with their “Free Bible Literature” who I always avoid making eye contact with—I smiled at them too.  They smiled and told me they liked my boots.  The Hispanic construction workers I passed by and the tired looking mom in the waiting room and the old lady whose dog was making a trip wire across the sidewalk with its leash–I smiled at all of them, and they all smiled back, and it felt again like this little thing I can do as an individual might counteract some of the negativity we have all been basting in. 

I will be back to my funny, snarky, charming self one of these days, but I’m just not there yet.  I feel I have to tell people I am not okay, and this is not okay, loudly and often until I know enough people are with me that we are going to be okay.

Until then…


French onion soup
Gratin Dauphinoise
Spinach salad with roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, and pepitas
Apple pie

2 thoughts on “This Is Not Normal

  1. I’m just pretending to be ok. I’m really terrified for the environment and all the other messes that will be inherited by our children. I used to read the news voraciously but right now I can barely tolerate it for fear of the orange monster. Biden/Obama memes are the only things that have made me laugh. However, I still have to deal with work chaos, manage a feline medical crisis, and make dinner.

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