When the Tide Doesn't Seem to Notice

November 19, 2020
blue and red grid-like pattern
Art by Kim Salac
A note to readers: The following piece was written prior to the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. In the time between the closing of polls and the announcement of President-Elect Joe Biden's victory, these ponderings came to be.

 

I’m not sure if I need to sleep for 12 hours or go for a run or hug my mom or read a book or smoke a cigarette. I’m not sure if I need to write something empowering or something messy. I’m not sure if I can write at all. 

I’m not sure if I can look back at this year in all of its chaos and say that I got something from it, that it was all for a reason. Turning around and looking back the way I came just looks like looking back at a road full of so many twists and turns that it makes me nauseated. It looks like a road that isn’t really a road anymore, because the path that we are on as individuals, as a country, and as a world is unlike any road that has ever been walked before. So, enough looking back, let's just look forward... But there's a hill there, too.

 

When the way forward looks daunting, I always go outside and take a deep breath in. I say, “the air will always be here for me to breathe.” But this time the wind said, “I’m trying, but I’m changing too.”

 

 

When the way forward looks daunting, I always go outside and take a deep breath in. I say, “the air will always be here for me to breathe.” But this time the wind said, “I’m trying, but I’m changing too.”  And then I realized that maybe the air feels a little hotter than it used to.

I’m not sure if we can trust the air anymore. 

When the road is lonely, I like to read books. The characters remind me that somewhere in between the lines, there is a shared humanity. But now the people around me are question marks and their shadows have tints of either red or blue. I so fervently wanted to believe that everyone’s shadow would be blue. I thought we loved each other. I thought we would put our little votes into a little ballot and that a little person would move out of the White House and that a big change would ensue. I thought we shared the same humanity. That's what the books told me.

I’m not sure if we can trust the characters around us anymore. 

 

I love both versions of my big blue eyes because they mean I am feeling. When I look into the mirror today, I still see big blue eyes. But they don’t dance or cry or even sparkle. The ocean within them looks tired. Tired of making waves when the tide doesn't seem to notice.

 

 

When I lose track of myself on the road I look at myself in the mirror and I see big blue eyes. Sometimes they’re dancing and sometimes they’re swimming and overflowing. I love both versions of my big blue eyes because they mean I am feeling. When I look into the mirror today, I still see big blue eyes. But they don’t dance or cry or even sparkle. The ocean within them looks tired. Tired of making waves when the tide doesn't seem to notice. It’s so hard to feel when you’re tired. 

I’m not sure if we can trust the mirrors anymore.

When I get to the top of the hill after a long climb, I’ll write something sad and end it with something hopeful. Because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Localize the hurt and then put a band-aid on it, kiss it on the head, and let it heal. You’re over the worst of it anyway. But it’s like all of the Band-Aids are made for the same skin tone, and 49% of the country said, “As they should be.” Being hopeful right now seems like ignoring the existence of that 49 percent. Being hopeful seems like ignoring that the Band-Aids aren’t made for everyone.

I’m not sure if we can trust the hope anymore. 

 

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