I thought I’d get skinned alive after Tuesday’s post about the death of Carrie Fisher, especially once Debbie Reynolds had the audacity (or perhaps good fortune?) to go and die the next day, but judging by all of my new subscribers (welcome aboard, folks!) and the comments I’ve received both here and on Facebook, I’m feeling pretty justified in what I’m about to say:
It’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.
The clock isn’t going to magically re-set at midnight on December 31st. We don’t get to say goodbye to 2016 and kiss our loved ones and tell ourselves that it’s all going to be okay because 2017—2017!!!—is finally here and now we (and all of our remaining celebrity idols) will be saved.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate. Because you’d better believe I’m gonna be tossing back the martinis on what will hopefully be my last non-pregnant New Years Eve party for the foreseeable future…
But I’m going to approach this New Years Eve like Mardi Gras: one last hurrah before the darkness of Lent sets in.
Now I don’t mean to go all Doomsday here—it’s the holidays, after all!— but I’d like to share an excellent suggestion from blogger TrulyUnplugged written in response to Tuesday’s post.
Instead of pointing fingers at time, we could be holding ourselves accountable by taking inventory of what we’ve done to contribute to the good this past year.
It’s like a reverse New Year’s Resolution, but better, because in this case you still get to eat all of the chocolate and carbs you like as long as you stop blaming the amorphous boogeyman personified as 2016 and realize that perhaps, you’re just the tiniest bit complicit in all of the shit that’s gone down.
You with me?
First off, I got married in May and I tried, with the help of some extremely talented family and friends, to throw the greenest, most ethically responsible wedding that I could. There were some areas of abysmal failure in this department (my DIY favor boxes were a disaster so I had to order cheap ones from Oriental Traders at the last minute, and I have no idea where the food for our reception came from or where it went afterward…) but we did manage to score a few for, you know, the earth. Just look at us:
We gave our guests handmade brooches from Ten Thousand Villages along with chocolate truffles made locally by a friend. I made almost all of the non-floral décor out of recycled materials and thrift shop finds and we donated the centerpieces to the residents at my grandmother’s nursing home after the reception so that the flowers wouldn’t go to waste. Lastly, despite my addiction to pretty paper, I put my foot down when it came to wedding stationary: no printed save the dates, no printed invitations, and no goddamn menus. If you want to know what you’re going to eat, just look at your plate.
Next up, we adopted a rescue dog in June. To reward us for our benevolent, non-puppy mill approach to canine acquisition, the shelter gods gave us the CUTEST. DOG. IN. THE. WORLD. (And if you disagree with me, you can get off my blog.) He tried to run away less than 24 hours later but PIC found him sitting in the park with some kids a few blocks away and now that he knows we’re not like axe murders or… you know, Republicans, he spends most days campaigning to snuggle in bed with us.
Thirdly, I served as a delegate for Bernie Sanders at the DNC. Oh wait. You didn’t know this? I DIDN’T TELL YOU THIS??? Oh my God! How much time do you have?
I’ve written enough about that whole drama, and it’s the holidays so I’ll spare you the regurgitation, but I take pride in the fact that someday I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren that I was on the right side of history and that if everyone had listened to us, we wouldn’t be stuck scavenging for fluorescent squirrels or whatever it is that people eat after the apocalypse…
I’m taking a brief pause now to pat myself on the back for being such a well-coiffed eco-warrior, such a paragon of civic duty, such a shining example of enlightenment and social justice savoir faire. In fact, maybe I’ll post a selfie of myself wearing a safety pin to prove that I’m one of the good guys like they do over at Pantsuit Nation… Could I just superimpose one over the well-intended but ultimately ill-informed white-feminist, white-pantsuit shot I took on Election Day?
Except that a safety pin is not going to cut it (unless it’s this one). And neither is the pantsuit, the rescue dog or the “sacrifice” of printed wedding invitations, radical though it may have seemed at time in the face of all those bridal magazines and Pinterest boards.
Because you want to know the truth?
I was surprised that Trump won the presidency. Not shocked—I spend enough time outside of Philadelphia to know that a Clinton victory was anything but secure—but still: I should have seen it coming. I was never all that inspired to campaign for Clinton after the DNC but I took for granted that common decency and some semblance of the democratic process would protect us from the rise of a fascist demagogue. It didn’t.
Also? I never actually donated to Standing Rock. I kept meaning to, and I called the Whitehouse and both of my Senators, wrote some really eloquent letters about our nation’s history of genocide and convinced several of my students to do the same, but I never got around to donating or to divesting from Wells Fargo. It’s on the To-Do list, but this is not good enough.
I did donate water bottles and poster board for one of the Black Lives Matter marches in Philly but aside from a rally at City Hall, I never made it to a single march or vigil. Sometimes, in class, I also found myself saying “incidents of police brutality” instead of calling a spade a fucking spade because I’m afraid to alienate my white students. This is not good enough.
I could go on (there’s nothing like a good public self-flagellation to leave you desperate for the sort of get-a-grip and get-moving attitude that only Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton soundtrack can provide) but I think I’ve made my point. I have a lot of work to do in 2017.
How about you?