I am lost. I walk down the snow covered streets in the darkness. My dog tugs on his leash as I gaze up at the crescent moon. The stars are hidden behind clouds. It seems to be a metaphor for my mood. Tears are running down my face as I watch wisps of snow move across the concrete like sand across deserts.
I am lonely. I have no friends. It is my husband, myself, and now my rescue dog who whines at 3 in the morning to go to the bathroom, disturbing my sleep and making me grumpy. The trees and the stars are my friends. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such loneliness in my life. I moved to a new place and thought I’d meet new people. I took a job at a college that touts itself as a close-knit community. I should know – I write the marketing copy. I have no one. I trust no one here. A bizarre backwards world where no one sees things the way I see them and people who are creepy and blatant liars are believed to be saints and saviors.
A women I thought was my best friend back home doesn’t answer the phone when I call. She’s never picked it up and when I chat her on Facebook she can’t really explain why – but she never calls me back. The people who say they want to hang out and give me hope that perhaps they will befriend me – never actually reach out and when I try to meet up with them the texts go silent. Empty words and broken promises.
I am alone. Millions of women marched in the streets for reasons I don’t fully understand. Privileged white women in pink hats begging for rights they claim not to have. Meanwhile women in other countries are being brutally raped. Their genitals mutilated. They can’t leave the house without a man by their side. They are married off and treated like property. But on this day – those are not the things women are talking about. They are upset about a fouled mouthed man who they think is out to steal their rights. They want control over their bodies and they want the rape culture to end.
I was raped. I was 14 and too drunk to know how to escape the crawlspace I was placed in. The man who raped me is a counselor now. He writes on Facebook about how disgusted he is with rape culture. He got his degree at the most liberal college in one of the most liberal cities in the US. He brought supplies to the people protesting the North Dakota Access Pipeline. He is a kind and generous man. My most politically correct and liberal “friend” is friends with him. That’s why I know these things.
I have had my rights taken away from me. I was not allowed to decide what was done to my own body. What drugs entered my blood stream. I was injected with medication against my will – by people who no doubt believe themselves to be good and righteous people.
I imagine that most of those kind women with their pussy hats have had a great life. Maybe they grew up in a nice house with a nice family. Maybe they weren’t raped for their first sexual experience. Maybe they weren’t locked up in a mental hospital for a month and drugged against their will. How lovely indeed.
I did not march. I fear judgement because I did not march. I am a hypocrite. I am wearing a mask. It must be replaced periodically when the cracks start to show. It gets worn by the sun and I must replace it with a new mask. One that hides my secrets and my voice. I’m afraid what will happen if they know who I am. What I believe.
I’m not with her. I never was. I went to work the day after the election and the mood was somber. One coworker was distraught. She told me her sister-in-law voted for Trump.
“She didn’t care about anything except her anti-abortion stance. That’s the only thing she cares about so she voted for him.” I nod. I say everyone votes for different reasons. A meeting is called. We sit in a room together. The mood is somber. People are crying. They talk about “them” and how hateful “they” are and that “we” must fight for what is right and not let “them” win. “They” are uneducated and misguided. “We” are the light and we are right. I sit there listening as “they” are demonized for voting for the next Hitler. I can not speak.
My Facebook feed is filled with friends talking about how Trump voters are bigots and racists. They are the problem. I can not speak. I am afraid.
I am confused. I am in a backwards world where nothing makes sense. I remember when I went to an Obama rally and how I cried tears of joy on election night, wearing my iconic HOPE shirt. I was so proud how far we had come in such a short time. No more Bush-era bullshit. My hope faded quickly. 8 years of war. Continued monitoring of citizens. The Patriot Act remained and I felt less and less safe. We were promised a better healthcare system. I quickly realized nothing was better. Health insurance rates skyrocketed and you were now forced to purchase it. If you didn’t – you were fined when the tax man came calling.
So, no. I didn’t vote for her. I wanted real change. No more war. No more policing the world and no more policing our own citizens – what they can say, what they can think. I’m a libertarian. I wish I could say that proudly, but I am afraid. I could lose my job for my political beliefs. I could lose any hope of ever making friends in my new community. Welcome to American. Land of hypocrites.
I am sad. I am lost. I am lonely and hopeless.