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RBG

It doesn't take much to push me over the edge right now. And this moment is overwhelming. The loss of an icon, a hero, a trailblazer, a safeguard of the civil, human and women’s rights we hold dear — layered atop the 200,000 dead from Coronavirus, a veritable crisis of national non-leadership, my homestate and the west coast on fire without reprieve because of escalating unaddressed climate change, the air unbreathable in the places that raised me and the food we eat daily, record-breaking numbers of intense hurricanes hitting our shores as we approach the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria devastating Puerto Rico, apocalyptic sights in my best friends’ hometown leveled in ash, economic desperation the likes of which we cannot even fathom or project, personal trials and tribulations known and unknown, all of it.

I’m trying to focus on the blessings, the good fortune, the privilege and the long-awaited return of my relative health, but truthfully, my default mental state of late has been rough. I don’t want to acknowledge the degree to which all of this is weighing on me, zapping my energy, tanking my moods, challenging my productivity, setting me off, keeping me on edge, bringing me to tears. I feel sudden, disconcerting spikes in anxiety about, well, everything: climate, health, home, politics, division, equity, work, economy, community, identity, family, human connection or lack thereof, the present, the future, everything.

And everyone I’ve opened up to about these feelings is right there with me, struggling on many levels, while trying desperately not to lose hope. Multiple friends have broken down to me on the phone or FaceTime this week, even colleagues spontaneously bursting into tears on Zoom.

Then, just when you can’t think things can get worse, they do. Tragedy atop trauma, insult added to injury. This isn’t the life we envisioned or desire, there seems to be nothing we can do to change course or take control of destiny, and all of this compounding weight is utterly exhausting. Honestly, I am not okay right now, but I am not in any way under any circumstance giving in, giving up or giving away my power.

So here I sit, with a glass of red wine in my hand, taking in Mother Nature, breathing deeply, hugging a human I love, having shed tears, consoled friends, texting others, reading my Twitter feed, scrolling Instagram, yearning for blessed community, about to go belatedly light candles and cook a Rosh Hashanah dinner (for which I know the feminist angels resting in much-deserved peace and eternal power above will forgive me). Because light always follows darkness, somehow some way. And we must fight on, fight through it, fight for it, fight like hell, fight with urgency, passion and resolve.

"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” We owe it to RBG, to ourselves, to those who fought tirelessly to make this life possible, to the children yet to come, to the Earth we share — to grieve, to process, to breathe, to organize, to vote, to mobilize, and to never ever ever stop fighting for justice. I see you. I am here for you. I believe in you. I love you. And us.

© 2021 Erin Schrode. About Erin. Contact.

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