Doldrums

Hello Strangers,

We have entered another year, but we’re still dealing with the same shit. As COVID rates are climbing up, resignation takes hold. COVID is seen more as an inevitability than something we can avoid. News coverage from last year’s insurrection increased around the anniversary. And quite frankly, I am tired of this shit. Though I am not ready to give up. Not ready to raise a white flag. Because I didn’t survive through this muck to lie down.

I don’t have any resolutions, but I haven’t made one in a while. But I do hope that this is the year we all become lightning. That we remember that we have more in common than we do differences. That in spite of what we’re told, we’re in this together.

It’s an ugly road toward enlightenment, but let us travel it together.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels
Quote from “What Love Is” by Andrea Gibson.
Doldrums

A Retrospect Pt. 1

I thought about you again. In those perfect empty moments past midnight as I lay in bed waiting for sleep’s arms to cradle me, a figment of memory fluttering behind my closed lids. The auditory hallucination of your voice calling me from the other side of my bedroom wall. I checked my phone for the time, the orange glow cutting through the darkness. When will sleep take me? Why do these thoughts run laps through my mind? Why are you always at the center of each of them?

January

I watched the Insurrection unfold as my fever finally settled at a comfortable 100 degrees. COVID made a mess of my lungs while the current president wrecked democracy with his words, motivating his blindly-allegiant followers into storming the Capitol. Chants for the deaths of the leaders of this so-called free nation echoed through the hallways. Police officers were beaten and bruised by the very people who were “backing the blue” throughout 2020, as demonstrations of “defund the police” and “Black Lives Matter” took place. These patriots, as they referred to themselves, erected a makeshift gallow to hang the Democratic leaders and the Republican vice president. They’re motivated by misinformation, fed lie after lie even before election results were tallied. “[T]he only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged.” For months after the November election, calls for recounts, shouts of voter fraud, phone calls to stop the count echoed through the media. A coup d’état was the final attempt to secure an unlawful win, to overthrow our election system. In the end, no matter their attempt, democracy continued. 14 days after the Insurrection, Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president. 

February

The lights went out as Texas froze. Ted Cruz hopped on a plane to Cancun. He left his poor dog to freeze. What sort of man does that? 

My depression increases. The city has implemented a new employee evaluation system. And the aftermath of COVID still wrecks my body. My kidneys feel like boulders perched in my gut. I can’t piss, but is that a blessing? When I do, my sides tense up and the pain crawls up. 

I meet M for the first time. And I am nervous around her. I’ve seen too many versions of her come in and out of this library. Talented, smart, funny and full of ambition only to be turned away. I don’t know it yet, but a change is coming. One volume has wrapping up, and a new story is on the horizon. 

March

I’ve been down this path before, why should it feel different? Still, I filled out the application and submitted it. 

The two of them sit across from me, though I no longer feel flanked. They slide the evaluation in front of me. Give me the goals that I am to achieve each month and what I’m to achieve by the mid-year. I have no plans on signing the form there. Unlike my compatriots, I will play the hand I’m dealt. Secure what little power over my own autonomy that I still cling to. It’s not if I’m willing to agree to these measures, it’s when. I eventually do. 

Afterward, I apply for other jobs. I have no intention of being around by the mid-year. 

April

I entered the meeting early, interrupting their conversation. I am still trying to navigate this new world of social norms. Before Zoom, the interviewee is expected to arrive early at the office. Is expected to wait in the lobby with no distractions. No cell phones in hand, scrolling through social media. Magazines are ok, but books might raise an eyebrow. In those days, I always carried a book or a notebook to keep my mind from reeling. Before the scheduled interview – which took place on Teams – I scribbled a list of possible questions to ask. I sign on to my work-provided Teams and click the link in my email. And there appeared four faces I’ll later come to recognize. 

My only thought is how am I supposed to make eye contact. To look at my camera means to not address the person I’m responding to; to look at my screen means to appear distracted. I fiddle with my loose earbud and do my best to respond. And I’ve come to learn that online interviews are more nerve-wracking than in person ones. 

May

I grit my teeth as she talks down at me. Maybe I’m just angry, maybe it’s my depression. Maybe I’m just sick and tired for having to deal with yes-people instead of freethinkers who stand up for the department. I had campaigned for her to take the role of supervisor of the department, but I finally delivered something the administration wanted. “Why didn’t you meet last month’s goal?” Because there is no communication between departments. Because things change on a dime. Because what is there to deliver? Because I don’t know who they expect me to network with. Because you have given me little to no guidance over this, being too busy trying to address the problem child. It takes every ounce of me not to just straight up and quit on the spot. Takes more effort to nod than it would to break the news that I won’t be here in September. 

I confess to M that there are times when reading the message doesn’t hit me. Tell her that I can read every word of a passage or text aloud and still not understand the sentence. I remember that earlier conversation when a new email reaches my inbox. I turn in my letter of resignation. My time at the public library has ended. 

June

There are days that I’m at home and days I’m in the office. I caught the first year of college bug. There is so much I want to do, so many things I want to learn. After an Ally training, I throw out the idea of building a LGBTQIA+ collection as a long term, ongoing goal. My ideas here aren’t cast aside. They’re not pocketed and kept for another day. While not all of them will pan out, they’re also not quickly reasoned away into oblivion. 

My mood is elevated. I finally feel like myself again.

Intermission

It’s been some time, hasn’t it? I’m always lurking in your history, though my time may have been limited. But I never went away. Never truly. There I dwelled until you remembered me. Until you picked up a picture from your high school days and smirked at the boy you once were. The boy who wore lipstick. Who borrowed his girl friend’s clothing. The skinny, life-like doll looking for some sort of validation. A chronic 15 minutes of adoration. How easily you forget an old friend. How easily my persona toss aside when it never fit your narrative. But I notice. I recognize that need in your eye. That longing for that feminine feel. I know the thoughts you push back, deep inside your mind. The ones that are aching to push through. And that’s how I slipped out after you killed your god. That’s how I remember. 

Photo by charan sai from Pexels
Personal

A Return to Normalcy

Photo by Thought Catalog from Pexels

I watched the Inauguration of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr from a small window on my laptop while I manned the controls of a Zoom call. While I don’t see President Biden as some savior, seeing a person who can hold a coherent thought did give me a twinge of hope – no matter how small – for this country again. In the first hours of presidency, Biden began overturning Trump’s bigoted legacy. Whispers of the impending impeachment of former President Donald J. Trump littered the pundits’ commentaries as they covered the Inauguration. While this is the only action to take on the former president, January 20, 2021 was a day meant to celebrate the transition of power from one president to the next; however, Trump and family decided to leave with their tails between their legs and not attend the event.

Continue reading “A Return to Normalcy”
Doldrums

Dispatches from Covid-19

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

It’s as if 2020 needed to get in one last fuck-you before being vanquished by 2021.

On Christmas morning, I woke up with a fever of 102.6°F – possibly the highest I’ve had it for a while. (It’s hard to get sick when you don’t leave the house for anything but work and the occasional grocery store visit.) It didn’t surprise me because my mom had been sick earlier in the week. Her started with fatigue before descending to being feverish and finally overcoming it. It was only a matter of time before I got sick and sure enough, I did. I thought nothing of it as my sense of taste and smell seemed unaffected (as was hers).

However, on the following Monday, we drove to an urgent care facility for a rapid test. After a twenty minute wait, we received our results and they were positive for Covid-19. We could spend time tracing back where and who we got it from, but there are too many variables. I called into work and told them the news and have been out ever since.

Seven days into the new year, I’ve been watching a lot of TV. National news, mostly, as the historic day of affirming Joe Biden’s presidential win was under attack by domestic terrorists. Days upon days of warning piled up to nothing but a small force of officers to protect the Capitol building. It was disgusting display of anti-American rhetoric fueled and fed by the President of the United States. Rather than condemning the actions of his followers, Donald J. Trump took to social media and praised them, calling them special and that they are loved.

It’s a terrifying thought that the most dangerous man in the country is also its president. Invoking the 25th Amendment is a far-too-late scenario for the stain he has left upon his administration and the modern history of this country. He will go down as the worst president of this country and we need to find a way to prevent others like him from gaining any sort of power within our country.

That said, his goons Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and all others who echoed and parroted his insane conspiracy theories need to be removed from their respective offices. They need to be expelled from congress and replaced properly by their governors or citizens of their states. It should not be allowed to continue on. To say that we’re the greatest country in the world is a bald face lie so long as they are allowed to continue to push conspiracy theories in order to remain in power.

As if a small light at the end of the tunnel, Georgia has elected two Democratic senators into office, giving Biden a strong Congress. The Democrats are majority leaders in the Senate and the House of Representatives. I look forward to the next two years and see what a positive change can do for this country. However, I am under no illusions that Joe Biden is our savior, nor his Vice President Kamala Harris. Unlike the Trumpian camp, we do not idolized our politicians. We know they are flawed humans. We know they lie and they lie often. The Democrats – for the first time in a long while – are in full power in our national government. If they cannot get things done, we’d know it was never Mitch McConnell and company keeping them down.

The balls in your court now, Democrats. Do your job and don’t let us down.

Personal

Tweet loudly; throw a temper tantrum for an election lost

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

I stayed up late, not sure when I finally knocked out. The TV remained on throughout the night, a habit I picked up whenever there’s a major storm – natural or political. The volume remained just above a whisper, allowing me to perk up whenever an important update is made. An anxiety boiled in my stomach, almost reminiscent of the 2016 election. The feeling ate at me, no matter how much I tried to deny it. (I’ve written this before, haven’t I?)

Sitting at work, I had my computer open to MSNBC, Twitter, and FiveThirtyEight. My coworker approached me, asking if everything was all right.

“I’m worried, you know?”

She nodded, though misunderstood the source of my anxiety. Covid-19 has run our lives these last several months, and now the library was on the brink of reopening our department, spiking our risk of exposure.

“No, not that. Well that too, but this. All of this,” I responded.

After all, it was Tuesday, November 3, 2020. “I’m not going to get any sleep,” I admitted. “Going to need loads of coffee tomorrow. This whole week, maybe.”

“He’s going to win,” she said. “I can feel it.”

Continue reading “Tweet loudly; throw a temper tantrum for an election lost”