Simon might not cry for yesterday but I will. In fact, I spent a lot of yesterday crying and consoling others who were also crying. In this case, we shed tears over losing our candidate for president who suspended her campaign. Yet, I feel like this day of grief is no longer the unique, extremely rare event that it once was. Rhonda said it well yesterday–the world is off its axis or something like that. I have been feeling that for a long, long time.
Looking back, this feeling for me started at the end of 2010 with a significantly bad campaign loss followed up by the death of my grandma and beloved cat. I barely bounced back when 2011 hit me with a new challenge in the form of a proposed law taking any rights at work that ended up passing despite the consistent protest of hundreds of thousands. This directly led to changes at work that have made teaching so much harder, so much more stressful, so much less joyful. Still, I bounced back. Then, my father was diagnosed with a significant autoimmune condition followed up with my mother being diagnosed with cancer. (Thankfully, both are doing well.) Through all this, more and more stress was added at work followed up with the worst election results I could have imagined in 2016 along with rejections for our writing. With each event, I grieved. I raged. Then, I pulled myself back up from the dark hole of despair to keep going, to keep fighting. Now, it feels like the hits are coming more and more frequently whether it is concerns about my own health or being smacked in the face by reality when it comes to putting women in positions of power.
It used to be that I wished for moments of joy and for fun. For a long, long, long time, Duran Duran provided that. I look back at 2011 and as much as I’m shattered at thinking about the loss of my rights, I also think immediately about traveling to the UK twice. Those amazing trips counteracted the crap that was state politics and the hits on my profession. I could survive and push through because I had something amazing to pull me out, into the smiling warmth of sunshine in the form of fandom. In fact, Duran Duran has been that beacon of pure joy for so long that I assumed it would always be there. Having this blog and having shows and tours to look forward to have helped me to right my emotional ship for so long. I’m sure that some will say that a band shouldn’t do that or that fandom shouldn’t take on that role. Maybe not but it did. Of course, along with my fandom came friendship, most significantly, my friendship with Rhonda. I could not separate Duran Duran, fandom, this blog and her.
Now, even that aspect of my life has changed. It used to be that when Duran shows were announced or any Duran news would come out, Rhonda and I would instantly contact each other. “This is a Duranie alert,” one of us would voice to the other. We would especially use that for shows that we might be able to attend. This Tuesday, in the midst of finding out some test results on my health and a frustrating all day meeting at work, the band announced some shows. Two shows. In Vegas. There were no messages exchanged between Rhonda and myself. At some point, we might have responded to a tweet or two but no grand announcement with a debate about what we thought about given shows. This isn’t because we are angry with each other. We are not. It isn’t because we don’t love Duran Duran. We do. I think part of it that we are both so wrapped up with what we are up to that fandom is on the back burner. I also think it is because it is one more part of my life that is no longer what it used to be.
I look at my life like sand on the beach. For a long time, the part of the beach that was mine was untouched by the ocean. I built a career in the form a sand castle school and found people to surround the world I created. Everything seemed good. I had my people. I had my career along with my family and friends. I could push for something more fun, more joyful, to reach for the stars to fulfill some dreams. Rhonda and I could do some research and push to write a book begging for publication. I could think about expanding my social circle. Then, slowly, the ocean started to creep into my section of the beach. At first, it just washed away some of the sand-created school building. Then, the loved ones in my area began to fade with more and more splashes of water. All this means that I’m no longer reaching for the stars or trying to improve my beach. It is about keeping what I have, saving what is left. Now, in 2020, it feels like I have just a tiny sliver of what I did. I spend all of my energy not only saving that speck of sand representing me but also to make myself okay with the new normal as each loss of sand brings more grief, more frustration, more heartbreak.
So do I cry for yesterday? Absolutely. I miss the way things used to be when it came to Duran announcements. I miss feeling secure, feeling appreciated, feeling powerful at work. I miss thinking that the world was on the right track, moving towards progress. I miss feeling normal. I miss focusing on what could go right as opposed to spending all of my time making myself okay.