Today I was suddenly overcome by a burst of burning rage inside me. It was sparked by the shamelessness of Trump's defense in the impeachment hearings, but it was not a new feeling.
It struck me that this is how I felt every single day for over four years. (The feeling began before November, 2016). Every single day I looked out at the world, at my government and my fellow citizens (including people very close to me) and just burned on the inside. This week I looked at the photos I took a year ago, right on the eve of COVID. I saw a selfie and it stopped me in my tracks. I must have aged five years in the last 11 months alone.
It's hard to walk around every day with the thought that people you love are complicit in fascism. It's hard to experience mass death met by government neglect. People here in Jersey were dying in droves back in the spring and much of the rest of the country didn't seem to care because they held us in contempt. It's hard to watch families broken apart, refugees having their hopes destroyed, good people deported, and democracy itself under attack.
On inauguration day my rage was released and I broke down and had an ugly cry. Years of fear and tension were leaving my body. Things are still bad, people are still dying, and the fascists are still out there, but at least I don't feel like there's a psychopath with the ability to destroy lives and upend the world while firing off tweets on the shitter.
The constant feeling that some horrible thing could come and sweep in at any moment and that so many in this country supported it kept the fire inside me burning. Getting a taste of that again today I do not know how I managed to survive it for four long years. We have been so keen to put the past behind us and forget about it. That's natural after trauma. Despite the pain of memory, I refuse to forget.