Post-Trumpatic Stress

TODAY’S BREW: hot dog water, the official coffee of the Trump administration

By Julie

On Inauguration Day, I was ecstatic, as most, if not all, of my readers and friends were. I was humbled, I was hopeful, and continue to see that hope grow every day since President Biden and Vice President Harris took over the White House.

Then I hit the wall.

It was Friday, the kids had gone off to one of their two days at school, and four years of torture hit me in the face. For four years I was the human shield for my family. I maintained hope, celebrated that we as a family, and we as a country, could not be taken down. I did my best to assure my kids that a pandemic which would define an important year in their lives would come to an end–as I watched a man egotistically withhold the means to do so from us. I dove boldly into all the life-altering complications that pop into mind, from suddenly remote learning, to isolating during a summer while after five days a week, to hybrid learning and doing all I can do to ensure my kids stay engaged with education, to the loss of all the community activities we participate in, to fielding the constant emails about how many kids have the virus, to the sudden lack of face-to-face psychiatry appointments that now were reduced to a phone call… These are the new everyday things that I rose to meet just off the top of my head.

I never stopped soldiering on because this family couldn’t. I had to lead, and lead I did.

Now, it’s OVER. The war was won. The riot at the Capitol and the sucky octopus tendrils of 2020 are still clinging on but that’s all it is–grabbing at anything they can get a hold of. Things will get better.

I can breathe.

The thing I’ve been saying all this time, that we will prevail and that sometimes to make things better, you have to burn it all down, is coming true.

I was rattled for a day. Alone for the first time in days, I cried and I watched tv and let myself understand how much I personally, had sacrificed. I can solidly say that for at least the last year, I never thought of what the presidency was doing to me. There wasn’t room for that. Now I’m for the first time ever, having trouble sleeping. I’m tired all day. I’m the kind of tired I imagine people are after they wake up from a coma. Like they’ve been lying down all that time, why do they need to rest? But they do.

What I hope comes through in all my wordiness is that you aren’t alone. It’s okay to recover. It’s okay to not “practice self-care.” What the fuck does that even mean today? Give myself a pedicure? You don’t have to DO anything to feel better about what you’ve been through. At the same time, I can’t stand not earning the air I breathe, so I write down the stuff I did accomplish. Today: laundry, wrote a couple of paragraphs, read a book for a long time, showered. Yeah, these are things that I DID. Reading is productive. Showering is a THING. I need to remind myself, as I’m sure many of you do, that you’re more than just moving on to the next thing. You’re more than getting through one thing to prove that you, we, everything, is moving forward and there’s something to show for it.

Stop.

Be you.

Now’s the time it counts.

Happy Bidentimes, every one!

Published by Julie Hutchings, Pretty Scary Author

Mythology-twisting author and editor, reptile hoarder, coffee drinker, harpy. Author of The Shinigami Vampire Series and The Wind Between Worlds.

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