Rain or Not, I March

Rain or not, I march. Tomorrow, that will be in the Women’s March Los Angeles.

From 1980 to 1982, I was in the flag corps of the North Garland High School Marching band. In the 1980 or ’81 football season, the band took the field at halftime in a pattering rain that turned into a downpour so hard the flag corps couldn’t lift our knees in our soaked long skirts. By the finale, we were fighting to spin double flags weighed down with water.
We left the field laughing, so baptized we even had rain under our hats.
I loved it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Now, I’m not thrilled about a possible rainy march, I’m arthritic in nearly every major joint, and lots of places are not-fun obstacle courses. (And it would be WORSE and it WAS without the ACA.)

But I’m able-bodied enough to still walk, mentally, the best I’ve been in a decade. I’ll honor my gratitude that I have healthcare, I’ll be a testament that ACA brought me back from the brink. I’m walking for people who can’t whatever the reason.

I’ve played mini-golf in the rain. I photographed gravestones for an article in the rain.

I bike-slogged uphill in San Antonio, in the rain, untreated arthritis and the cold making my legs ache worse than usual, in 45F, (“Uphill! Both ways!” “You had a bike?!”) with people in passing cars mocking me, so that I could keep critical psych appointments (pre-ACA, I was seen through a teaching college).

I’m marching because every damn thing about this election was garbage. Because the lying #unpresidented has drained the swamp into our country’s management. Because he colluded with an enemy of our country and human rights.
Because Black people get terrorized by our police just for being black. They get beaten, and sat on and choked and shot and killed for nothing and white people (#mostlymen) of the right status get away with everything.
Because LBGTQ people are so loathed they’re tortured, homeless, and their families will be declared unlawful. Tens of millions of dollars are spent trying to exterminate them. (Even though gay couples are quantifiably #familyvalues #goals.)
Because the Jewish family I married into is a target for Nazis that the #unpresidented has never disavowed.
Because the #unpresidented and his Swamp believe Muslims belong in concentration camps.
Because, as if our country couldn’t be any shittier for Native Americans, the Swamp wants to poison what little land they have left.
Because our human rights are being whittled away by the 1% because they look in the mirror and see garbage and think it can’t possibly be them so it must be us.
Because they really, truly want us to die.
Because #thisisnotnormal.

You can only get so wet, then you can’t get any wetter. As these things go, if this is a test, it’s laughable.
If it’s a blessing (it certainly is for California), it’s grace coming down in buckets.

Rain or not, I march.

Letter to a #notmypresident Elector

Today I’m the lucky recipient of a letter from the proud MAGA*-waving Kansas elector Kelly Arnold who was proud to proud vote economic prosperity blah blah in response to me (and many others) asking for him to vote for an actual leader, rather than an orange bigot. Here’s my response:

I hope it’s become abundantly clear to you that Trump will lead no one but his cronies to prosperity, that he’s patently dishonest and disrespectful of the office and our current president, and despises anyone who is not white and male.

Most of all, he is hurting his employers, the American people. I hope you consider that I, and many hard-working people like me will definitely suffer and may die without healthcare. That my friends will be incarcerated for being Muslim, black, poor, or Jewish. That my gay friends will again become people with zero rights.

If, at some point, you see that you’ve not voted for a competent and intelligent conservative, but rather than a broken and venal autocrat who believes this world is his to pillage, please reach out again.
Perhaps I’ll believe you really see Trump for who he is, perhaps that you see your fellow Americans as your respected brothers and sisters. Perhaps I’ll believe that you’re genuinely sorry.

As for right now, I’d be happy to see you and all Trump voters in your own awful country, away from people who voted for clean water, economic justice, and other human rights. Where you can try to make do without kindness, wisdom, and community, as many under Trump will. And all while having your pockets picked to threads by, to quote Don Henley, “This tired old man [you] elected king.”

I leave you with the out-of-context but appropriate words from Nick Cave regarding zeal, “I truly do and say thank you and again I say thank you but no…no thank you.”

Good day,

Lea Hernandez

*Which certainly means “My Awful Goblins Ate”

RIP Carrie Fisher, the Best Disney Space Princess

image

2016 is the year that said to 1943, “Now you’re really gonna see something.”

I’d be crying about my ideal princess, if I wasn’t so tired, in front of other people, and overwhelmed.

I was called “Princess Lea” in high school, and I owned it. Leia was a badass teenage princess. She dragged Vader, lied like a carpet to Grand Moff Tarkin, blasted her way out of jail, rescued men (the Sulk is Strong with the Skywalker males LUKE, KYLO), and beat bad guys. Then Leia became an admirable general; tough, careworn, kind, and grieving. Leia’s journey, Carrie Fisher’s journey, has see-sawed from young and addled (Carrie Fisher was addled, not Princess Leia) to fierce and wise, and giving no fucks about men bitching that she wasn’t a kid anymore.

Carrie Fisher could write, too, true and funny stories. My best friend Lisa read me all of Wishful Drinking in a marathon phone call because once she started, she couldn’t stop reading it, and I kept asking for another chapter until the last page.

I understand Carrie Fisher’s and the Princess/Admiral life arc so well. Any girl who grew up alongside them does.

A Compulsion Story with a Clown Car

Letting Twitter and Facebook go was harder than I thought it would be. Point of fact, my using and reading had become a compulsion. I thought if I just kept on top of things they wouldn’t spin out of control.

By “on top” I mean trolling and shaming Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, tweet-bellowing at Texas Governor and turdblossom Greg Abbott. Never mind that they and other Swamp denizens wear their wretchedness like shame-proof Kevlar.

The dumb old clown car of 2016 life just kept on rolling, and speak of wretched, I was. I’m an easy crier, but it leaves my eyes a mess. Gritty, sore, and damn any light over .5 watts. Every other day, my psyche was in full Chernobyl, and my eyes were like little round gravel vampires living in my face.

I yanked the clown car off the road. I deactivated my Twitter and Facebook accounts, and had my wonderful husband change the passwords. Facebook accounts never really go away unless you delete them, but Twitter flatlines after a month.

When you go through the process of deactivating Facebook, it tries to keep you. It pops up the people you interact with most often (it showed me my friends with babies and toddlers), and says, “They’ll miss you.” Oh damn, Facebook, did you just play with my feelings?

I chose “other” as my reason for leaving, because it’s the only option that doesn’t toss a solution at you like a well-meaning person that is about to get yelled at for not accepting “No, really, for the fifth time I’ve got this,” in a high C through locked teeth for an answer.

Then, Facebook insisted I had to put words in the box next to “other.” I typed, “I’m sad, fuck off,” hit enter, and Facebook let my page go to sleep.

Let’s see how I’m feeling in a week. Considering that the last time I left Twitter cold turkey my blood pressure dropped from “you need medicine” to “hey, lookin’ goooood,” I’m kinda excited. Getting rid of two time sucks ought to be ten times as good for my body as getting rid of one.

That ability to fly could be mere days away.

Laugh Tonic

Pretty much like everyone else who values, well, values, I’ve been depressed/horrified (horpresstified?) since the election of Putin’s Pet, and the cabinet picks that have followed.

Watching a couple episodes of the near-future sci-fi anthology Black Mirror. Did. Not. Help.

I use a program called Freedom to save me from the addiction of the refresh button on Facebook, and from wallowing in the 140 characters at a time swamp of Twitter.

But even with the expulsion of Twitter and the hobbling of Facebook, today I was still in a trench of gloom. I was leaving the house to go to the Y, and told my daughter (through her bedroom door) I was going. She said okay sleepily. I told her she also had a package and she was insta-perky: “Oh boy!”

She went from drowsy to excited so fast I laughed. Which made her laugh. Which rocketed me out of my gloom trench and into happiness so fast that I could see how low I’d been, which made me want to cry.

(Warning to new readers: I’m a crier. If you like criers, I’m one of the best. I cry when I’m sad, when I’m angry, and when I’m frustrated. I leak for almost any occasion.)

Tonight, I pretty much made Twitter impossible to get back into, which gave me the kind of relief that standing up to a bad situation does.

Since you can’t see my relief, have a picture of my kitten, Umbra.

Black kitten playing with a yellow feather. An Xmas tree is in the background.

 

Breaking Up with Twitface Because Buckets

Hi, it’s me. I missed long-form blogging, I think I’m funny, I want to help people, and here I am. I used to write a lot on Livejournal, but I completely lost my energy to do it because Twitter sipped it out of me 140 characters at a time.

I broke up with Twitter because the stupid was raising my blood pressure. (Absolutely true: I was on the verge of needing meds. I quit Twitter, and three months later my bp was stunningly healthy again.)

My rebound was Facebook. I went back to writing long stuff. I reconnected with pals. But, Facebook was always letting me know I stacked up compared to friends and peers. Nothing sharpens the fear of inferiority like having a thing you engage with willingly quantifying your every move. (Like your assface ex constantly chattering about who they find hot, and it’s people who are nothing like you.)

I kind of bounced back to Twitter, just to promote things, swear to higher power. Friends with dubious benefits. Then, the bigoted, misogynistic orange election shitshow hit, and it was like a sober person trying to hang with junkie friends. I only did one line of snark and I was using again. (Incidentally, #Imwithher #notmypresident.)

And I started waking up screaming. I stopped being able to sleep. I mindlessly FB’d and Twatted, waiting for the random endorphin rush to hit. Sometimes it was trolling the goblin-elect, sometimes it was a heap of ❤️ for something I wrote. I started to melt down completely at random. I was scaring my husband and daughter.

I wasn’t drawing, wasn’t working on my slate of fun cool things, wasn’t moving forward with the home renovation (which just had its first birthday!) I wasn’t doing anything but dogpaddling in the pool of angrybadswamp, with the water leaking into my mouth. I was overcome with a feeling of helplessness, and I was starting to think about dying.

That’s bad. You should know that.

Really, Facebook and Twitter are terrible people you used to be friends with, and they did a favor for you once, and you’re afraid of a dramasplosion if you say no. So you avoid them until you can’t. But Twitface’s not design to be ignored or nodded at in a noncommittal way. They’re designed to keep you scrolling, to feed you ads, because free things cost, and you pay with your attention.

It’s like this: that bad friend talks you into a ride, then asks if you’ll pick someone else up. Their friend’s a little high, they’re wearing a Make America Great for Nazis hat, and they smoke, is that okay? Oops, they need to run an errand, c’mon. Before you know it, you’re out in the country, pulling up to a mobile home with Home Depot buckets for steps and fucking yikes.

And just fuck that. I’m not giving up on activism, I was doing a lot via Twitter and FB, but I need some fresh damn water.

Watch this space.