HE MAY HAVE THE NUCLEAR CODES, BUT HE CAN’T HAVE MY BRAIN
Last night I finally did something I’ve been needing to do for weeks: I turned off my computer. I looked the angry orange tweeter who lives in the big white house right in his puffy eyes and I said, “No. You may not come in to my head anymore.”
As the child of an alcoholic, I learned to be hypervigilant. The only way to feel safe when there is a wild man in the house is to always know where he is, what he’s doing, and what kind of mood he’s in. You become ultra-aware: Are his eyes read? Does his breath smell like Clorets mints? Even from upstairs, you can hear the freezer door open and the ice clink in the glass.
It’s about survival. You need to know when it’s safe to ask for lunch money or a school permission slip, and when to lock your bedroom door, crank up the Grateful Dead, and hunker down.
So of course when an impulsive wild man moved into the Oval Office last week, I automatically took it upon myself to keep an eye on him. And this time it’s quite literally about survival. Right? Planetary survival. If I’m not keeping an eye on him, who will stop him from dropping a nuclear weapon on North Korea? Or Germany, if Angela Merkel says something uncomplimentary.
It feels almost suicidal to detach and ignore him for any length of time. I wonder how Mike Pence feels? He must know how batty his boss is by now. Can he sleep?
At least a half dozen Facebook friends have posted pleas for help with detachment this week. How do I tune him out? How will I stay sane? How do I cope with the grief and fear? How will I not burn out, trying to protect Muslims and Native Americans and gay people and African American kids and the whole frickin’ planet??
I always offer helpful advice about going for walks, and laughing with friends, and meditating. And turning off the computer. But I don’t take the advice myself.
Until last night.
Just Say No
I had gone out with dear friends the night before and although we talked about the nation’s perils and our resulting emotional states, we also laughed and listened to open mic offerings and drank wine.
I confessed to staying up later and later each night, 2 a.m., then 3, then 4, monitoring @RealDonaldTrump and retweeting and posting on Facebook and looking for pictures that capture the moment.
I can’t focus during the day, I get nothing done. Can’t write. My friends expressed concern, hugged me, sympathized.
Somehow getting away from Crazyland for an evening broke the spell. It was good to hear myself say out loud, “I stayed up until 4 a.m. tweeting to Donald Trump.” Talk about crazy! It gave me the strength to push that “off” button on my computer last night.
I pulled up the drawbridge to my psyche, slapped a big ol’ “Keep Out” sign on it, and read my novel. And today I am saying no again. No Twitter, no Facebook, no trump™.
Pray Without Ceasing
Maybe trump™ will start a nuclear war while I’m reading my novel. I saw before I exited Twitter last night that he had signed something called the Military Preparedness Order. This after signing the Muslim ban.
But there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is take care of myself so that I have the energy to take action when I can make a difference. To march, to write, to call Senators. To care for those who are hurting and afraid.
And to pray without ceasing for the Syrian children who may die because of what our nation has done.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.