Resist.

America was built on the backs of the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, those who were seen as lesser than human all because of their color, nationality, or religion. America was never great. There has been no point in American history where equal rights have been available to all.
Racism, sexism, discrimination, hate-based phobias dominated the platform of the man who took office yesterday. The man who lost the popular vote by a larger margin than any other president in modern history (Hayes in 1876 and Adams in 1824 lost by larger margins). The man who entered the Oval Office with a lower approval rating than any other president in modern history.
His history, his words, his lies normalized Neo-Nazis (1, 2), the KKK. He normalized assault, sexism, toxic masculinity, harassment, homophobia, transphobia, and brought back platforms and ideals that were once banners of war criminals. He promised to strip constitutional rights away from people who only wish for equal rights.
The mission & vision of the Women’s March says it all:

“The rhetoric of the past election cycle has insulted, demonized, and threatened many of us – immigrants of all statuses, Muslims and those of diverse religious faiths, people who identify as LGBTQIA, Native people, Black and Brown people, people with disabilities, survivors of sexual assault – and our communities are hurting and scared. We are confronted with the question of how to move forward in the face of national and international concern and fear.
In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity, and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore. The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.”

There are too many issues to be angry about, too many rights in danger of being erased. The march was filled with hundreds of thousands of people marching for different causes, but were unified under one thought: We will not go quietly. We will not lay down and “just accept it.”
We, as a unified front, marched – in spirit or in person – to show that we will fight and protect the rights of those who are less fortunate.
We fight so that future generations don’t have to, so they can experience and know true equality.
We fight and acknowledge that the color of our skin, our occupation, our gender, our sex, determines how we are treated, how we are seen. Immigrants, non-whites, sex workers, LGBTQIA+, those with disabilities, those who are not part of the 1%, almost everyone has something that will be put in jeopardy. And those who are the lucky ones who will not be effected by the policies and laws that will be attempted to get passed, it is our job to stand by those in danger. It is our job to join our voices with theirs, raising the volume and the heat, supporting their marches, their causes, not just when it’s convenient.
We fight because we know that love is stronger than hate.
We fight for our siblings, are parents, our children, our neighbors, the strangers we’ve never met.
We fight because we love our country and our world.
When the president blatantly is ignorant of the unalienable rights this country is founded upon, we will fight and stand tall, speak loud, and protect those that are in danger.
Theodore Roosevelt, in a 1918 wartime essay said:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

Rude awakenings

Do you know what’s worse than heartbreak?
Trust-break.
Imagine:
you’re in a room, surrounded by everyone you trust in your life.
Beaming from ear to ear, you can’t believe how lucky you are, having these people in your life.
Suddenly, the room whirls, and everyone is paired up, doing trust falls. You join them, feeling completely safe in everyone’s arms, knowing they will catch you without a second’s hesitation.
You switch partners, and they grin. “You ready? You trust me right?” They say with a grin.
You nod, laughing, and turn around, throw your arms out wide, surrounded by the sounds & laughter of everyone important in your life, and fall.
And fall,
And fall,
And fall.
With a jolt, you open your eyes, expecting your partner to be standing above you, but they’re nowhere to be seen.
You find them a few feet away, in conversation with others, and despite everything you try, they can’t, or won’t, hear you, as if you were never there in the first place, as if nothing had happened.
You’re left, confused and invisible, in a room that had once felt like the safest place in the world.
Trust-breaks are the rudest of awakenings.

No Going Back

My mother has always been the bearer of bad news.
but no matter how dark the news is, she bears it with such grace and love, 
the first thought to push through the screaming and wailing in my mind is

“I love you.”

So when I heard my mother bear news with sadness that had latched onto her very bones, 
I broke. I wept. 
She stood, with tears in her eyes, at more funerals than I can number on both of my hands, 
but never let a tear fall. 
So when I heard her, 1,209 miles away, gasp for air in between sobs,
I knew it was different. 
She was different. 
I was different. 
Our family was changing. 
And there was no going back.

Cracking

I found a journal entry from three years ago. 

I felt the carefully sealed cracks in my heart begin to reopen, shivering from the sudden wave of cold air that rushed through the fissures. 

I read that, at 21:

I had been to more funerals than weddings. 
I attended my first when I was 4. 

I had held more hands in comfort than I had new borns. 
A friend lost his dad when we could barely spell the word “toothbrush”.

The number of people I knew behind bars was higher than the fingers on my right hand. 

I wrote that I remember learning what the word ‘suicide’ meant when I was three.

I was asked at 20 why I was so happy all the time, and if I ever got tired of it, and I answered that, yes. I do, but when you’ve seen the dice land on snake eyes as much as I have, you learn to use ones that are loaded, so you can only focus on the winnings. 
—-
Now, three years later:

I’ve been to more weddings. 
I’ve held more bundles of life. 
I’ve watched friends and family begin new chapters and write stories of their own. 
I’ve had dreams shatter and be rebuilt. 
I’ve laughed and cried and lost.
I’ve found new dreams, and found myself in the process.
I’ve gained new family and lost others, the circle expanding and contracting like my diaphragm. 

But the rest of my chapters are still waiting to be written

An Open Letter to my Sister

Lydia,

I was planning on writing a beautiful, heartfelt letter to you; one that captured this raging typhoon of emotions that has been slowly suffocating me day by day over the past months.
I wanted to show you the concern, heartbreak, anger and betrayal I’m feeling, but now that I sit down to write,

Nothing.

I don’t know where the words I had so carefully selected went, or why my organized thoughts suddenly scattered to the four corners of the earth, but now I just don’t know what to say.
Maybe that’s my problem- I try to over think, organize, analyze each word and phrase, trying to make it perfect, when what I really need to do is just explode onto the paper, and let my emotions lie where they fall.

I’m not going to, though. I’m not nearly calm or drunk enough to allow myself to loosen my grip on my tongue. Maybe after I have a few shots of whiskey, I’ll be able to tell you about listening to mom cry over “where she went wrong.” When my mind’s edges are hazy from the alcohol, perhaps I could talk about how hurt dad is, because he thinks that he’s failed as a father. Perhaps the whiskey will burn away my filter, so I could tell you of the pressure you’ve shoved Phoebe under- Phoebe, the dizzyingly free middle sister, the flakey one, is now the one who’s acting as the glue to hold what’s left of our family’s emotions together.  She’s the sounding board now, listening to our parents and holding their insecurities and fears in some miraculously strong Pandora’s Box in her heart. Out of the three of us, she was always the least likely to end up in that position, what with her temper and emotions, but there she is.
It’s been a month since you moved out, although “snuck out” is a more accurate description, since you didn’t even have the balls to tell mom & dad what you were doing to their faces. I still can’t believe you used me as your excuse, because “Emily is coming back, and I can’t deal with her shit.”
I’m sorry I don’t put up with your boyfriend’s lack of manners and disrespect. I’m sorry that I don’t believe a single excuse you let leave your mouth, and oh, I am the sorriest I could ever be for actually telling you the truth about what I think  of your secret engagement to a boy you’ve known barely a year.

No wait. I’m not sorry at all.

Since you have obviously turned your back on your family, first by continuing to date a boy (because at 19, he is still most definitely, a boy) that neither family nor friends approve of, and second by going behind mom & dad’s back, getting engaged, and then having the nerve to be angry that we weren’t happy for you, I won’t ask you to come home.
Why?
Because I don’t want you home. I don’t want you to be any closer to my parents, to cause them any more heartache. I want to ask you to grow up, get a pair, fuck up your life, and then have the guts to realize it. I want to ask you to think clearly, be an adult, listen to true, solid advice, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, because let’s be honest- you won’t.

So, my dear, naïve, 19-year-old baby sister, I want to ask of you one thing:
When you make your mistakes, when you realize how you’ve treated your family, I want to ask that you be woman enough to apologize to our parents. I don’t mean I want you to break up with your bf/fiancé, because if you truly think you love him, you won’t. I mean, I want you, with your heart open and conscience heavy, to approach our parents and apologize for the shitty way you’ve been treating them for the past 10 months. Apologize for the yelling, sneaking around, disrespect, and say, as a woman, that you went about everything in the wrong way.

What you’ve done can’t be undone. We’re human, we fuck up; however, treating those we love with contempt is inexcusable.

Lydia, I hope you grow up.

With love,
Emily

 

 

What If

staying awake tears me apart because my thoughts run so rampant they can’t be stopped.
Around every corner, in every second, something draws me back to that moment, forcing me to think, “what If?” Making me drown in it, be consumed by it.
It’s funny how two syllables can cause so much heartache.
But falling asleep is worse- it’s like a slow, suffocating, death that you can feel creep into your bones, one dream at a time. 

All I ask is to have one night where I get peace.