For All Of Us Who Are Not Okay
Another Sunday Story. Told to me by many.
…..and then something snaps and Ellen throws the phone across the room, just hurls it hard like a baseball, where it hits the wall across from her and leaves a ghastly mark before it falls to the floor.
And then she does too. She falls to the floor.
Not another word. She cannot stand to hear yet one more word from the monster they’ve put in the white house, not another nonsensical, narcissist rambling showing how unhinged and incapable he is to be the leader of a nation of people who are struggling. And she can’t bear to find one more fucking family member or friend or just one more human being who won’t see that he’s not acting as a president. He’s acting as the wealthy conman and reality television star he is, as the elitist if not racist and sexist he’s been for his entire life, full of ignorance and hate, just saying whatever comes to his mind in jumbles of words that really don’t say anything, but say more than enough to make the fools feel less like fools, to embolden the hate that has always simmered and is now bubbling over.
She cries softly thinking that this horrible human being who talked about grabbing women by the pussy is representing us.
And then she cries harder, knowing that really - most of us have no representation at all.
Jack says she needs to stop reading and listening to it, that it’s not good for her or the kids to be this angry and sad all the time, and the last time he told her that she told him to go fuck himself. He’s one of the ones who opposes this disgraceful president and his ever revolving administration in his head, but does nothing. While she marches and donates and rallies and signs and votes and writes and speaks the fuck up, he moves quietly around the truth, just as he always did in their marriage too, tip-toeing right outside all of the things that are too hard to look at, too painful to say out loud. That shit, that sort of denial and delusion, it soaks into everything if you let it. And it immobilizes you, makes you feel like a good enough person that at least you know it’s all wrong, that at least you don’t support the monsters, even if you never try to stop them.
Ellen’s crying finally subsides and she rises slowly from the floor and stands numb in her living room, looking around her beautiful home in all of its privilege and wealth. “What are you so worried about?” Jack had asked when he’d picked up the kids. “I mean we’re okay. We’ll always be okay,” he’d told her. And she had turned away from him then, turned away from all of his well-intended-nothing-doing.
We are not okay with a leader who poses thumbs-up with the orphan baby of yet another mass shooting, this one in an effort to rid us of the immigrants this president says are rapists and criminals invading our country, this one orchestrated by yet another American white male after driving ten hours to shoot people he thinks don’t belong here, just like Trump doesn’t. But this maniac wrote that he felt this way even before Trump. He clarified that for us, attempting to protect his foul-mouthed, small-minded, self-centered, hateful leader from further scrutiny.
We are not okay with a president who calls the media, other politicians, heroes, athletes and musicians losers. He calls them losers. Today he wrote, “Total losers.” The man asked to lead our nation wrote that. Total losers. She cannot even comprehend.
Ellen moves back toward the bedroom then. The kids are with Jack for the weekend and she’s texted friends all afternoon looking for comfort and maybe a glass of wine, but of course nobody is available and of course nobody would know how much she needs it. They don’t understand that just because she carries it all so well doesn't mean it isn’t terribly heavy, that it isn’t breaking her shoulders, her back, her heart.
“Don’t let this tear you apart,” her oldest friend wrote.
But do you let everything happen? Do you actually let it all in or do some things just get in on their own? Do some things maybe just get in on their own? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know anything except that she will spend the rest of this day in her bed trying to be well enough to wake up tomorrow and start over. She will grieve a bit more now and allow the pain and fear and anger to drench her so that tomorrow maybe she can dry it all off and begin again.
She pulls back bulky blankets and crisp sheets and thinks more about Jack telling her that they are okay, that they will always be okay, and she knows that this is not so.
This is simply not so.
When those around you are not okay, you can never be okay either, and to think that you can be is an illusion, a lie, a falsehood meant to separate us even more. We are connected in so many ways and in ways even Ellen doesn’t fully understand, and we cannot allow others to suffer thinking that this suffering will not come to us too, that it hasn’t already.
Even if our hearts are not well enough to know this love, our minds must be sharp enough to know this truth, that we are all like one giant body moving through the universe, and that if any part of the body is not well you don’t just ignore it or cut it off. It has to be healed. It has to be.
Or the whole body will die.
Ellen closes her eyes then and sees children who look nothing like her own, separated from mothers who look nothing like her and don’t have what she has and likely never will, and tears stream down her face for them, for all of us.
Ellen cries herself back to sleep for all of us who are not okay.