I like the look of 2018 better than 2017. I don’t mean the year itself, because how could I know? Who can ever predict what will happen in a given year? I am literally referring to the look of it. The last number–8–is all round and curvy–not sharp and angular like a 7 looking like it doesn’t know which way to to go, as if it starts out one direction and then says to itself, “Oh hey what the fu–this is not–I need to go another way.”
The nice, soft, curvy 8 looks like something you could rest your head on. Something that will be more forgiving, and allow for some bounce-back. I want to love 2018 and it looks like maybe I could? Maybe?
Or it might look like a continuous loop. Just the same thing going around and around endlessly. I think this is my fear.
In 2017 I became something I do not like.
I’m still the thing I don’t like; we are days in to 2018 and I haven’t even consented to doing something about it. I will say that I am working on maybe getting close to the possible idea of making, like, something sort of resembling a resolution for the new year.
One morning in 2017 my husband was putting on his shoes at the end of our bed–I was still halfway under the covers drinking the latte he brought me, which he does every morning, still, because he is a much better person than me. I was muttering about something I’d just seen on my Twitter feed, maybe it was the Pocahontas comment Trump made about Elizabeth Warren, or that stunt where he threw paper towels at Puerto Rican hurricane survivors, or maybe I was just grumbling about Donnie’s irritating inability to capitalize correctly, or his overuse of exclamation marks–honestly it could have been about a million things. My husband, with his back to me, still sitting on our bed, randomly mentioned that he’d heard something at a lecture he had attended the day before. The woman speaking said something to this effect:
“Do you want to be defined by what you hate? Or by what you love?”
I thought about this long after my husband had left for work, after he drove off, leaving me wondering just exactly how random that random comment was. I thought about it for a few days. And somewhere between my latest tweet aimed at Donald Trump (my brilliantly funny and scathing tweet, I might add) and my latest post on Facebook in which I beg and plead for everyone else to see with me–to see and be horrified, and help me figure out what to do–how to fix this–I realized that I spend a lot of my day hating. As in, actually feeling hate.
I didn’t used to be this person. No, really, I didn’t. I’m all about love. I think it’s the most important thing and it can save the world and each of us individually and all that. I’m all in with Jesus on this one. Love wins, it conquers all, it’s why we’re here–I believe it all.
I wake up hating.
I wake up hating the fact that Trump is still in office. I hate how he denigrates our women, our dreamers, our LGBT citizens; I hate his son standing there holding an elephant’s tail; I hate those pussy-grabbing-move-on her-like-a-bitch remarks and the fact that people–women even–still voted for him and I hate them for being so ignorant or for caring so little for themselves and their sisters and daughters. I hate how pathetic we appear to the rest of the world; when I was in Portugal and Spain and France just after his inauguration I hated feeling embarrassed of us, of our country; I hate how my students whom I admire for their work ethic and determination are living in fear of being deported; I hate the things Trump says–I even hate the way he says them. I hate his facial expressions and his hand gestures and his ridiculous hair and I hate how I feel so sorry for his stone-faced wife who has to endure god-knows-what and I seriously could go on a lot more about the things I now hate on a daily basis.
I hate this. I hate who I am becoming. Something has to change.
This is the part where I am supposed to tell you about this new leaf I am turning in this new year. Where I stand up and proudly proclaim “New year–new me!” Where I tell you about the tools I will have handy when these hateful feelings rise up in me.
But that’s not really the deal.
I try. I really do. Today I wasn’t even thinking about all the stuff going wrong, I was prepping for my classes and petting my dog like a normal person, but I accidentally learned about the Eric Trump/Ellen DeGeneres/Deep State bullshit and that ridiculous tweet from Trump where he brags to Kim Jong-un about the size of his nuclear button. How was I supposed to not hate that? HOW?!
My daughter tells me I could just stop reading the news. Get off of Twitter. Don’t follow the links. And for god’s sake, don’t read the comments.
I could do this, I suppose. I’m not sure I could do it for very long, though. Because it feels less safe to not know. I don’t want to be blind-sighted. I don’t like being surprised. Ask anybody who has ever startled me in a hallway; I don’t deal well.
Please don’t send me recommendations to meditate or pray or do yoga or journal or get more sleep or eat better or whatever else you think will alleviate the bone-deep anger I feel right now. (Smart-ass remarks are, as always, totally welcome) Not to belittle your great idea but chances are I’ve already thought of it or tried it or am already doing it.
And besides, I am still hopeful. Anybody who is taking comfort from the shape of a number is definitely trying to be hopeful. Am I right? I have some ideas about limiting myself. I’m looking to involve myself in actions and situations that help, that contribute, that encourage. I have some ideas. I resolve to try to hate less. To really try. I’m not saying you won’t see some tweets or posts from me anymore–I’m not sure I have the resolve for that, to be honest. I will, however, promise to try to not hate so much. I want to define myself by love, not hate.
2018–no matter now welcoming it may look– still has a dangerous, inexperienced, misogynistic, immature, immoral little man as its president. He still has the button. We are still threatened by him. We still live in a country where people think he should be our leader–and I think that is the scariest thought of all–the one I hate the most. I think it has made me trust humanity less, and that is a sad, sad thing.
Both of these are still true in the new year: we can still hope; we are still in a frightening place.
So here’s to 2018 and the hope that it’s as good as it looks, that it welcomes in more love and less hate, for all of us, and that it is, after all, not an endless loop of the same.