Monday evening I felt fatigued. I chalked it up to the flu and the election. I went to phone bank for Hillary Clinton and then to an acting class. I felt terrible throughout the acting class, but thought maybe I just hate acting exercises? I came home and went to sleep. The next morning, I felt worse, but I got up and walked to the polls at the Lifeguard Station in Venice (California-style voting). I stood in the wrong line at the poling place and sweated in the hot sun.
I ran into my neighbor who had tears in her eyes. Strangely, I did not feel the joy I thought I would in casting my vote for the first female presidential candidate in US history. I figured I was just hungry so I got a breakfast burrito at my favorite Mexican place and walked home. I cried all the way.
When anything good or momentous happens in my life I miss my mom with all my heart. It’s palpable. Sure, I can still talk to her picture, but I can’t hear her voice; her worry, anxiety or blood curdling advice. (I would give anything to hear her order me to find a short, bald rich guy to date). She did not like Hillary, but I think she, like many, would have come around. And she would have loved to cast a vote for a female president.
I felt worse when I got home. Something weighed on me. I checked the New York Times which had her at an 84% chance of winning (it might have been lower, I’m not sure). I texted a friend about my fears that Trump would win and he said not to worry. I felt w orse and worse and considered calling the advice nurse. I didn’t have a sore throat or cough, but I felt like I had a fever. I just lied on the couch and watched election coverage.
At 6:38 pm things already looked bad. I texted my same friend that I was “Freaking out…” He said it could be a long night. At 7:52 pm I texted him again: “WTF….is this for real?” He said he was shocked. I realized I had never really believed in the possibility of a Trump presidency. At one point, I started watching “Westworld” and eating gluten free tuna sandwiches, anything to escape reality. But it didn’t last. I panicked. I cried. I took deep breaths and even closed my computer and meditated. (I don’t have a TV). I decided that maybe my mother, who once worked for Cesar Chavez, had been spared this turn in the real American horror story.
At 8:00 pm I created an altar with the Virgin Mary statue that my grandmother gave me years ago and some candles. At 8:30 pm I got on my knees and prayed…to my mom, my grandmother, the universe. I prayed for our country. Not since my mother told me that the doctor had diagnosed her with cancer have I felt my paradigm shift in such a dramatic fashion. I struggled to accept reality.
But it happened. I, like many, had been naive and maybe lazy. I was out of touch along with the New York Times, LA Times, FiveThirtyEight.com…the media gave Trump a platform and underestimated his messages appeal to a population of Americans that have long been ignored and dismissed.
The next day I felt physically better but my heart hurt I don’t think I had the flu. I think my body saw the election results before I did.