Wednesday felt like the day before a funeral. People called all day, sent e-mails, chatted on facebook and left notes here on my blog. One asshat was classy enough to leave an anonymous note "Losah". I left it there.
This is what we were up against. Anonymous jerks who prefer to snipe from the shadows and write hateful things on websites and yard signs. Gotta take real guts to run over a paper sign. That'll show everyone what kind of man you are. Pissant.
The loss has been devastating. We poured our hearts and souls into this campaign. We took the high road. We did not bring up the sins and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church trying to take any kind of moral high ground after raping children and covering it up for a hundred years. We did not attack our attackers. We stood our ground, spoke our truth and fought a clean fight.
They lied and spread fear. They made accusations about us wanting to indoctrinate children and of conspiracy theories that would make the Roswell crowd blush. And we took the high road.
And you know what? If there is any fault to be found in our side, it might be that we were too polite. We did not point to abusive priests and the bishop who covered up for them and paid off victims. We did not call out the lies as LIES, but used words like "misleading" and "not true."
When it all boils down, we won the urban and coastal counties and lost the inland, rural vote. And Lewiston/Auburn, Maine's largest center of Franco-American Catholics, well, they voted against us in record numbers. It was harsh. The Catholic Church that just put churches up for sale, closed a bunch of schools around the state, bulldozed a beautiful Gothic stone church because it was getting too expensive to heat, and continues to protect priests who raped children entrusted into their care, told people how to vote and they did. It boggles my mind. What part of Christian charity is this? To deny people access to dignity and security? I don't understand.
And what hurt the worst was seeing the joy and celebration when the numbers were announced. The were so happy. How can you be happy to be so mean? so cruel? I don't understand.
We had a service at the UU church in Ellsworth last night. I wasn't convinced I was going to need/want/benefit from such a thing, but Laura wanted to go, and Leela was going to the effort, so we went. It was enormously cathartic. Leela and Wayne (music director) both held me as I sobbed and sobbed. We were all aching and raw and hurting and we came together and held each other and it was good.
When I went to bed last night, my eyes were puffy and red from a day of crying. When I woke this morning, they were dry and sore, but better. Today we worked a little bit - cleaning out a cellar. Just the kind of mindless work I need right now. Lift and heave. Tote and toss. Shovel and sweep. Bring it all to the dump and reverse the process. Good stuff, this manual labor. Although this evening my arms were all rubbery and weak. I wasn't prepared to find that I was so badly out of shape. Apparently a political campaign, wrapping up with 9 days of the flu and followed by two days of emotional hell was sufficient to do damage to my muscles. I'm sore tonight, but at least I have identified the cause.
And then I was chatting on line with this group I like, and this guy was making insensitive and obnoxious statements about why must gay people always flaunt their sexuality. The moderators tossed him out on his ass, but not before I was trembling and sobbing at my computer. I was surprised and horrified at the strength of my reaction. It overwhelmed me in an instant. I had no control. I was simply reduced to a sobbing heap. Again.
You all know me pretty well by now. Being a sobbing heap is not something I generally make a habit of doing. But in the past two days, it seems to have blossomed into a real talent of mine.
I don't know what I need or want right now. Except maybe the patience of people around me. If I am crying, just let me be. Don't tell me it's all right, because it's not. It hurts. It sucks and it hurts and it is NOT all right. It will get better, I know that. But I don't need you to tell me that while I'm crying. Just let me feel it, experience it, and get through it. And it's not likely to be pretty or graceful. Too bad if you can't handle that. I can't really handle it either, so we're even. If I wave you off and say please, don't touch me, that means please don't touch me. Don't hug me if I don't want to be hugged. If I am able to accept touch, I'll reach out or present myself in such a way that you will know. If I am unable to accept touch, it will likely be because I am teetering on the edge of total collapse. I prefer to do my total collapses privately, with one or two very close friends, not in public. If I wave you off, I mean it. To touch me after that will be a violation. Please respect my boundaries, both physical and emotional. If I don't want to talk about it, let's talk about football please. Or those rat bastards the New York Yankees. Or the price of heating oil, or what job you'd like me to do for you. If I want to talk about the election, please let me, even if I cry through it. There is much to be proud of this fall, and I can be proud through the tears. But mostly, just let me get through this at whatever pace I need to do.
I had planned to do this NaBloPoMo thing like I did last year - pick a series of enormous and grand topics and write my brains out. I may still do some of that. But for now I need to deal with this mourning process. Thank you for your patience.