I’m blaming the internal Presbyterians for my assumption that “to wallow” was a sin. In fact, the first definition references the propensity of large mammals to roll around in shallow muddy waters. No judgement. The second gets more to the point: to live self-indulgently; to luxuriate; to revel.
I have wallowed in 2017, rolled around in the foulness of 2017, and nothing about it has been pleasurable. I developed an unhealthy addiction to the opinions, headlines, and hypotheses refreshed second by second on my Twitter feed. I will try not linger here so much next year. I indulged in the grief, fear, and resentment that bloomed after my partner’s Stage IV diagnosis. On January 19, he went for a morning jog. On January 20, I boarded a plane to attend the Women’s March on Washington D.C. and he went to an ENT who suspected a tumor in his non-smoking lung. Add guilt to my emotional mud.
I projected my heartbreak onto the travesty playing out nationally and descended into despair for our country and our democracy. The destruction of rules to protect people and planet; the eradication of our standing as a world leader; the dismantling of hope for civil, courteous debate: filth for the shallows and then some.
But I also joined millions of Americans who woke up to our specific and personal responsibilities to stay involved with politics, near and far. That means calling and writing members of Congress. And state representatives. And more than ever, the locals. What happened in 2016 must never, ever happen again.
It’s time to leave the mud. Time to harness some discipline and get back to work, which for me means, to write. It’s time to face the future without fear, to tame the anxiety of the unknowable. Time to climb back on my cosmic surfboard and ride.