Post Traumatic Election Disorder; that’s what afflicts me. It’s personal, because see I’m already ready wired for this. In fact, I’ve found myself horribly triggered since the second debate. I’ve been working, working on being aware and I am aware that there is something so keenly terrifying about watching a man lurk with malicious intent around a woman. I am aware that watching his hands grab the back of the chair I am transported to six years old, to terrified at the dinner table, my father clutching my shoulders and pushing down on them with his hulking frame, his hard catcher’s mitt hands insisting that I eat what is on my plate. While the tears stream down my cheeks, my own body’s salt mixing with the fatted meat as he shoves his fingers past my lips, past my teeth.
I’m right back in that place, only I’m really 43 with a safe home, a gentle man, two children of my own, a successful healing practice with beloved clients and friends who love and appreciate me. I have agency and for now, freedom. I have awareness and fortitude to do what my own mother never could. So, I work through the fear, my anger and tears. I write and tell the world my story. Why I believe we need to actively resist the misogynistic bull fist that is threatening to strip us of our dignity, that fist which opposes all I know of what it means to be human. So, I spoke, I did. I said it out loud, I told them, bared it all. Let it go and damn it, I finally understand that cliche, because it’s not my shame, or hers. It’s not okay. My voice was received.
Then I vote. I dress in all white honoring the suffragette. I channel the memory of my Grandmother, Caroline. I thank her for showing me the way, how to argue with dear friends over cocktails at the club that a woman’s body was hers and hers alone. I thank my mother, though she couldn’t leave when I needed her to she has found her own way to work for change, to empower so many of our nation’s daughters. It leaves me anxious, surprisingly vibrating kinetic dread that turns to stricken as the election results trickle in. I wake at 4:30 am Wednesday to pee and peek at my fucking cellphone screen (that someday I will smash with a hammer) to see the most God-awful headline any rape and abuse survivor could see, “President Trump”.