Thursday, November 10, 2016
Today I am grateful for parallels. It is not at all unusual for me to compare various incidents in my life with others occurring locally or nationally. This process gives me a perspective that is necessary for me to move forward with a positive attitude. Especially now. I need to be positive, or I could cave. I could crawl under a rock and stay there for four years. Yesterday I was inconsolable. And that’s not me. So I got to thinking, putting a spin on my fears. Finding a parallel.
I teach little three to five year old kids to swim. For many, especially the little ones, this is their first experience at learning something very scary and difficult from someone other than mom, dad or another family member. I take this responsibility very seriously.
When I have a new potential swimmer, the very first thing I tell them, before they even get their feet wet, is that I will never leave them alone in the pool. I will not dunk them. I will not throw them in. They can trust me. They will be safe with me. Then I have to prove that truth. Over and over I ask, “Am I ever going to leave you?” They know I expect the nodded head or the timid, “No, Miss Mary. You’re never going to leave me.”
In the beginning it’s very difficult. Their little bodies are like, screaming, flailing ironing boards. Tension shoots out of them like lightening. My own muscles are stressed to the limit as I hold and balancing them. I lift them up because until they can relax, even a little, each lesson will be futile. When they begin to connect, I push them. I expect them to try even if they don’t want to. “I want my mommy,” they scream an inch from my ear. “Yeah, well Mommy will be back later. Right now you have me so kick your legs, please,” I answer, with little sympathy. Yes, they might hate me. At least some of them. . .sometimes. It’s okay. Learning is hard. I can take it.
“Do you feel my strong hands on you?” I ask over and over as they claw at my neck or cling to me like Velcro. But when their bodies start to move, when they trust me enough to relax, then, and only then will they learn to swim. As the trust grows, the skill grows. Nothing breeds success like success. By the time my two strong hands turn into fingertips, then one hand, then one finger balancing them lightly, they have totally forgotten how afraid they were in the beginning. “I can do it myself!” they say as they push me away. It takes time. It takes trust. It takes effort on both parts, from them and me.
So where does the parallel come in that I mentioned earlier? The election. Not only did my candidate lose, but she lost to a person for whom I cannot muster one gram of trust. My body is tense, like shooting lightening. I am an almost screaming, terrified ironing board. The president elect has not said or done one thing that I have not found reprehensible.
This is me and it’s my blog, so if you feel differently, like half the country proved they do, then go ahead and counterpoint your heart out. . .in your own blog or your own head. If you are a woman I will probably never understand your reasoning, but then you have not had my experiences with abusers, so that’s okay, too. But I don’t trust him. And I am afraid on so many levels and for so many segments of our society that it shocks even me.
I have questioned presidents before. All of them. Many times. No matter what party they represented. Hell, I question myself and my own motives, so why would I let them off the hook? I have not liked some of the things many of them have said, including my chosen candidate this year. I don’t like everything I say, either. Sometimes I should filter more. We are human. I get that. I don’t expect utopia, especially in the political arena. I’m not that stupid. Just give me something, anything to not hate.
From the time I was 18 and allowed to vote, at some core level I believed that each new administration had some modicum of good intent. I believed they could put their own egos aside at least occasionally. I believed that they were willing to compromise and be flexible, even if I found their thinking autocratic. If we could meet on only one of the issues, I could convince myself their intent was for the good of ALL people.
Not this time. I do not trust the incoming administration at all. Not any of them. Nothing that has been said or done at this point has changed my mind. While some are telling us to give them benefit of the doubt, there is speculation that their behavior during the campaign was an act to appeal to the Reality Show, sensationalistic crowd; or to present a “brand” proving their candidate was “a man’s man. . .of the people”; that he was so damned special that he was above the dignity and decorum the position of World Leader demands. If that’s true, if nothing was genuine, then shame on them. Shame on them all, because all this snake-oil-salesman behavior did for me was to cause me to doubt every word he or they said. . .even if some of the words might have been true.
They will have to sit me on the edge of the pool for a long time. They will have to reassure me constantly. They will have to prove, in the first days, that they will handle the running of MY government far better than they handled their abrasive, offensive and embarrassing campaign. Because I do not trust them. And I need to trust them because this is MY country, too. It will take considerable effort on their part so they better get on it. Right now.
When my little swimmers have gained my trust, worked hard and feel confident, I say, “Now you can do it! Show me!” They know that I expect them to push off towards me, alone, reaching and kicking. They do not need to physically connect with me because they are confident I’m there if they need me. I lessen my grip so that they can grow.
That’s what I need from the new administration. Give me some confidence. Provide me with a basis to relax my fears, to calm my nerves, to sooth my soul, to lessen my grip. . .to trust you, even a little. I want to trust you. I want to believe you will be there for ALL people. You have an obligation to show honor and respect for those who held that position before you. Learn from them. I want you to listen to someone besides your egotistical self.
Give me a reason to one day write another story on parallels. Stop acting like an arrogant, lying, misogynistic, bigoted, grandiose, self-back-patting, racist idiot. Half of the country believes in you. . .half doesn’t. If you can become who you claim to be, then show me! Because I don’t trust you and I’m not pushing off in any shape or form until you do. Show me. . .now! Before we all sink.