For months, I gorged myself on Politico, the FiveThirtyEight, Fox, Breitbart, Huffington Post, NY Times, Post, Daily News, reading and scanning everything. I was never fully convinced she was going to win, and I was looking for that one magical sentence, or stat, or headline that would put me at ease.
I watched the debates with a mixture of horror, and humor. I paced the floor. I announced to my husband “I’m going to bed, I can’t watch this.” Only to not move from wherever I had stopped pacing. I felt my heart pound with each passing minute.
Then it was over.
I went to bed before the race was called. I couldn’t hear the words that were about to be spoken.
Wednesday morning I did not tune into WNYC Morning Edition. I did not glance at a headline, I did not read the news. I consciously decided to forsake all news print, digital and radio.
It was going to happen whether I knew the details or not, I chose not.
Every time I felt the urge to read something I opted for a BuzzFeed Quiz instead. (I would be cheese if I was a pizza topping). I would read Facebook and Twitter and take my news reading habits to the important matter of the Brangelina divorce or hunt for Game of Thrones spoilers.
I felt Facebook would be safe. I have only 46 friends on the face-place and they all lean left so I had no fear. I wanted some cat videos – a thought that had never previously entered my realm of thinking. Give me kittens and toilet paper or give me death. What? No cat videos?
Apparently not everyone I knew chose to hide from the headlines. The First Week of The New Fascist Regime was inescapable. The reports of violence and hateful graffiti permeated the posts. Speculations of cabinet appointments evolved into actual appointments and hires.
So today, six days post election, rather than just settle for Facebook reality, I chose to get some actual news. I chose the NY Daily news, because it gives me the headlines, combined with the relief of a Kardashian update. I was reading the news about the president’s new Chief Advisor when I felt a sudden burst – my heart rate had left the gate like Secretariat.
My heart was pummeling me from within, and the attack felt enormous. It was as if my heart had increased in size and had annexed my lungs and entire upper chest. And the beat was not the happy throb of love but a deep, painful pounding. I could feel the weight of the muscle pressing against my chest. It was no longer an organ pumping blood through my system but a gauge from that which I longed to hide. A rhythmic beating organ manifesting my fear and abject panic. My breath became shallow. My body temperature rose. Tears banged against the back of my eyes demanding to be set free. My hands were shaking. I was losing control, I was being overtaken by a dystopian future that was moments away.
I had to get it together.
I quickly typed: usmagazine.com.
“Why Ron Howard didn’t think Tom Hanks would get cast in Splash.” Phew. My heart rate lessened, a bit. I don’t really care about Tom Hanks, I needed something …less.
“Britney Spears, Kate Hudson Take on Mannequin Challenge.” Better, but still, the pounding…
I will continue to hide. I will not watch the news. I will not watch the inauguration. I will watch out for my fellow humans and I will stand up when I see a wrong. But more than anything, I know I am about to watch this country implode. The dye is cast. The tyrants have won this battle. The empire is falling. My heart refuses to stop pounding.