The Soul

To the Mattresses

It’s war.

And we are not the ones who’ve declared it. It’s been inflicted on us from forces we never agreed to, in an outrageous coup.

And by “we”, by “us”, I mean the millions worldwide who were demonstrating today. I mean the millions in this country who are Othered – women, non-white people, the disabled, the queer, the disenfranchised, the poor, the soon-to-be-uninsured, the hungry, the forgotten, the mentally ill, whose rights are about to be fed into the woodchipper.

I could not march today for a myriad of reasons – health, fitness, social anxiety (crowds), depression, and the fact that I spent last week at a conference and needed some alone time to get a grip on my thoughts. I listened to WNYC’s coverage of the marches, hungrily read on Twitter and liveblogs. I didn’t march – not because I don’t care, but because I do.

Because this movement needs me at my best. Today I was not at my best. But by staying home today – by cleaning, by taking a long walk in nature, by thinking, by inventorying, by listening to music, by buying and storing food for myself for the week – I can be at my best tomorrow. And the next day, and the next day.

I’m not talking about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. God knows, I am not perfect. I enjoy my wine a little too much. I don’t read enough, don’t listen enough to the classical music that I love, don’t eat enough vegetables – I get in my own way.

New Year’s resolutions come slowly to me after the frenetic pace of the holidays. And these days, I usually only like to have one big one that encompasses what I’d like to achieve in the year. And this year, it’s to be at my best, whatever that means in any given moment – to get out of my own way.

That means: getting the goddamn 10,000 steps in every day. It means eating more produce. It means drinking less wine. It means reading more books – by and about people who are not part of what “they” want us to be thinking about. It means listening to the insane archive of classical and world music that I have. It means thinking, contemplating, and writing.

It most definitely means writing.

As I was walking out of Clove Lakes Park at dusk, the silhouette of a hawk soared into the darkening sky. Searching for prey – a squirrel, a chipmunk, a mouse or rat – those creatures who live low to the ground.

To the mattresses. It’s war.