After learning that an accused rapist was appointed to the Supreme Court, a volcanic rage surged through my body. Then tears erupted from a core sadness. I sat down to be with the sadness, because it’s October, which according to the timeline for Onward is the month when we focus on the habit I call “Be Here Now.” I wanted to be a good resilient person and sit and be present. But then I thought, “Fuckbe here now! Nowsucks! Nowis terrifying! I don’t want to be here now!”
If you’re not terrified, you’re not paying attention. Misogyny just won a major battle. Voting rights are at risk. The entire planet may suffer as a result of this confirmation.
Then I thought: No, this is exactly what being here now means—it means you feel the rage, including its electrical current through your body. You feel the rage making you shake and jump and run. And then you feel the tears knock you down and carry you to despair and flow back to anger and sadness and then you recognize the turn to commitment—because you come from people who fight back—and you register the swell of women (and men) who demand that women be considered full human beings. And then you cry because you sense hope and you think, maybe we just have to descend into a place this bad, and yes, maybe it’ll get worse, and maybe this part of what has to happen for the Great Reckoning. And all through this, you breathe.
Screaming happened at some point—in the car (while driving very safely)—sounds that blended a roar, groan, and wail emerged from my chest. Those felt good.
This is what it means to be here now. You listen to your body and respond to its reasonable needs and screaming and then jumping and dancing feels really cathartic.
Dancing happened after I turned to the Wise Women. One of those is Glennon Doyle (a fierce and fascinating woman-warrior whose transformation over the last decade makes me tremendously hopeful for the world). I found her and her wife on her Instagram singing to “I am here,” by P!nk. A perfect anthem for the day. I listened to it over and over and sang at the top of my lungs and danced/jumped around the kitchen while I unloaded the dishwasher.
When I got tired, turned to another Wise Woman, Rebecca Solnit. Solnit’s words have many times been a balm for my mind (this is one of my favorite books ever). And although it’s a long passage, I urge you to read what she wrote the night before Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
On Saturday, I was reminded that being here now means feeling all the feelings. The rage and sadness and the flickering hope. It means reaching for and feeling connection to other women, to myself, to music and to movement. And all that feeling and presence and awareness cultivates resilience. Let the feelings be.
Then: organize. Mourn a little bit, perhaps, and then organize with those who share these feelings of rage and sadness. Mobilize. November is coming.
Ms. Aguilar – your first statement is not accurate. The newest Supreme Court Justice was NOT accused of rape. As we all consider the “moment” it is crucial that our emotions are in response to the truth. I would kindly request that you consider other authentic sources of your frustration and correctly identify them. Our culture’s future depends on our heartfelt and rational dialogue with each other.
Merriam-Webster definition of rape:
Definition of rape (Entry 1 of 4)
1 : unlawful sexual activity and usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person’s will or with a person who is beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception.
Sometimes, to protect powerful, white men and boys, we like to refrain from calling a spade a spade. If you listened to Dr. Blasey-Ford’s testimony you’d have heard all of the things indicated in this definition.