So. Here We Are…

We’re officially entering dark times, but at least we have each other—and that’s so far from nothing.

The night of the election, I got, as we say in my hinterland-y homeland of Northeastern Vermont, “shit-hammered.”

The Berkeley-based members of The Establishment staff work out of a coworking space, which has free beer that I made, shall we say, very generous use of as that fateful November 8 night shifted from tentative anxiety and excitement to vague unease and dismay to mind-boggling and crushing horror, loss, fear, rage, and terror.

I continued on this substance-abusing, self-destructive path for days. I knew then, as I know now—and, indeed, have known for quite some time—that alcohol is not self-care, and that people like myself with anxiety issues and PTSD should be extra-vigilant about their imbibing (ideally, of course, steering clear of substances altogether).

But, as I would tell my therapist at our session later that week, through tears and using the dry, deadened voice I find myself resorting to when I’m seeking to hurl as much cynicism into the world as I can muster, “I just don’t see how anyone can ever be expected to be sober in Trump’s America.”

It was the early days of the post-election fallout, and I was firmly in the throes of grief, unsure how to move forward into our ominous, looming, dystopian future— or, in my darkest moments, why I should try.

Knowing so many righteous shit-kickers, and touching base with them to offer support, were the only things that held me together.

Slowly but surely, however, some of the jagged devastation and acute terror faded a bit. The grief remained, of course, massive and pressing and overwhelming, but I was able to focus enough to realize that there was one aspect of my post-11/9 reality that I could count on for light, solace, and, yes, even a bit of hope: the community of brilliant, badass creators, readers, and supporters of The Establishment. Knowing so many righteous shit-kickers who—before and after the election—were using their wisdom, creativity, and tenacity to fight the good fight, and touching base with them to offer thanks, support, and fist-pumps for their efforts, were the only things that held me together.

This remains the case.

And so today, the true beginning of the era of political darkness, my Establishment colleagues and I want to create some space for those seeking solidarity or comfort. Please feel free to add a response to this post, sharing how you’re spending the day; what resources you’ve found to be helpful in this new era of resistance; what activism efforts you’re involved with; links to articles you love; heartening if totally oddball GIFs you adore for no discernible reason; any messages you have to share with any member of The Establishment staff, etc.

This space is here for all of us—even if our president is not.

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