It had been a struggle to find focus. My mind felt continuously foggy and preoccupied.
To get into a different mindset, I made an effort at light house cleaning. It didn’t last. The dust bunnies in the corners of the room continued to expand dramatically and seemed more aptly described as dust elephants. The “clean” laundry pile seemed to look an awful lot like the “dirty” laundry pile, and I wasn’t sure which was which (though to be honest, I didn’t really care). My goal of filling the house with the welcoming smell of banana bread actually lead to the dispersion of an odor that more closely resembled a chemical fire, as the oddly textured raw materials (made with applesauce, no oil; my attempt to tackle the stress-related weight gain I was calling the “Trump 15”) exploded in the oven, leading to smoke and chaos. And to note: While the appearance of the final product was not exactly appetizing, that didn’t matter to me, as I managed to rapidly inhale the entire loaf, crumbs flying. My lack of direction was also affecting other members of the household. The pug and the hound were emitting an odd fish-like odor. Sadly, my husband and I were only slightly less fragrant. All of us desperately needed a bath.
I was distracted by the soon-to-be inauguration of a demagogue to the highest office in the country; a man who had screamed words of hatred, actively told lie after lie, and encouraged misogyny, racism, violence, and destruction of our environment.
As the inauguration drew closer, I watched in horror as more of the impossible seemed to happen before my eyes. Plans were underway to take heath care away from millions of people with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act – without a whiff of a replacement. It was proposed that, to lead the Department of Energy, a nuclear physicist be swapped with a man who recently added “Dancing with the Stars Contestant” to his resume. The woman selected by Trump for Education Secretary openly displayed a lack of knowledge about education fundamentals, refused to answer questions designed to assess her skill set, and stated that guns belong in schools because children need to be protected from grizzly bears.
Of course, while all of this was taking place, Trump tweeted that Meryl Streep was over-rated, then referred to her as a “Hillary flunky”. He compared his (self-professed) unfair treatment by intelligence agencies to being in Nazi Germany, and also managed to encourage his followers to shop at L.L. Bean.
It was enough to make my brain cells snap, crackle, and pop. Regardless, the inevitable came. I found myself gritting my teeth through inauguration day.
However, lucky for me, after the inauguration a new plan was underway to help dispel my fogginess and make me re-focus.
At 3:30 AM the next day, I woke up. I got into the car. I met up with the greatest set of marchers I could ever imagine. Together, we boarded a plane to Washington, DC.
At a station outside of the city we stood in line with hundreds of other protesters. People were patient. Excited. Kind. They hugged. Signs were held. Children played on the grass. Music blared from backpacks and college students danced. We shared stories and found solace in the fact that all around us were people who cared deeply about the future of our country.
Hours later we arrived in the heart of the city. We exited the station and entered a crowd of hundreds of thousands. In a sea of pink hats, the feelings of community and compassion were amplified.
It was an experience like no other – because we were being introduced to The Resistance. A force was felt around the world as people came together. Millions of people. They proudly held up signs in subzero temperatures in Alaska and Antarctica and chanted through the streets of European capitals. Protester’s words were heard from one corner of the globe to the other.
After the protests, the 45th President of the United States again attempted to distract with accusations and lies, this time involving the size of his own inauguration and the unfairness of the so-called “fake” media.
I find myself, quite surprisingly, focused.
Things have changed, Mr. Trump.
We are mobilized.
We are energized.
We are passionate.
We will not be distracted.
We will resist.
I saw it with my own eyes and felt it in my heart.
I was a witness.