When I was a little girl, I kept a diary. I think most of us did back then. I remember one in particular: Metallic gold and white-checked vinyl cover, gold lock with a teeny tiny gold key. It was the one place I could pour my heart into, and as a child suffering from depression but didn’t know it yet, it was my therapist.
When I got a little older and up into my early 30s, I continued to keep a diary, or rather a more grown-up version, a journal, usually in Mead Spiral-bound notebooks, sometimes in hard-cover books with graphic covers and blank pages. They live in a box buried in the garage somewhere. When we moved three years ago and I packed that box, I spent hours and hours reading my own words from decades ago; my fears and insecurities and much better penmanship reminding me that although the names and places and situations changed, I hadn’t changed much at all.
And so I write.
This election has knocked me on my ass. It seems dumb and redundant to add my angst to the pile as half of the country is reeling and feeling the same way. I know this because of Facebook and the protests and Bill Moyers and Bill Maher.
I have been knocked on my ass a lot through life. So has pretty much everybody else. The big cliché is that we should learn from those experiences, pick ourselves up, and low and behold, we’ll end up in a better place than we were before our asses hit the ground.
I need a fucking forklift.
I’ve been open about my politics. I get worked up more than most. I made the wise/not-so-wise decision to play in a tennis tournament election night as I wanted the distraction. My first match commenced right after the election results were becoming more clear and terrifying.
My next match was with a young woman who was so shaken about the unfolding electoral upset that her racquet shook too. We both went through the motions like zombies. I won both matches and have never cared less.
I had to get the fuck out of there and called an Uber before I showered or even splashed water on my face to deal with the sweat. My driver, thank god, was a very smart, talkative kid who distracted me for the twenty minutes it took me to get to the election viewing party at Leslie’s house. When I walked up the stairs, in the dark, I turned around and walked back down to check the address at the curb. I had to be at the wrong place. There was no noise, no anything, no signs of any gathering at all. I went back up to the porch and knocked. Leslie opened the door. A dozen ashen, shell-shocked liberals stared silently at CNN as the precincts poured in and the Blue Wall crumbled down.
I couldn’t watch. I went outside and got as high as a kite. One by one, the guests vanished like ghosts. A friend drove me home. My husband was watching MSNBC as Trump began his acceptance speech. I ran into the bathroom and blasted whatever music came on first (I had left my reading glasses in the living room, so couldn’t read the dial). It was classical. Not my first choice. It drowned out what I couldn’t face hearing.
I haven’t done a lick of work since Tuesday night. My brain is paralyzed. But my body is a knot of fear, anxiety, anger and confusion. So yesterday I went back to the scene of the crime, the tennis club where the world went to hell, to Coach White’s Thursday tennis clinic, to get my aggressions out on a tennis ball. That hour and a half I spent on the court have been the only moments I’ve been able to truly focus on something I love. And bless Coach White – he even made me laugh a few times. Life goes on.
I know that a lot of people, at least 25% of this country, are as elated for this political turn of events as I am crushed. But crushed I am.
Dear diary: I’m going to need you more than ever. Dear family and friends: I’m going to need you more than ever.
And I’ll tell you what: this horrible and shocking election has been a boon to my tennis game. It’s the little things.
Hang in there.