"Ring the bells that still can ring"
Healing from the insurrection at the Capitol, one year later
Like many other Americans, I’ve been reflecting on last year’s insurrection at the Capitol and the heavy cloud it left over our country.
For me, that was an unfathomably dark day in an already bleak time. One week after that violent mob attempted a coup, I wrote this:
This week in therapy, I confessed that I am still reeling from the attack on the Capitol and am struggling to know how to move forward. My therapist responded with her own confession that on Saturday she'd gotten up, eaten breakfast, and then gone back to bed for the rest of the day. She encouraged me to sit with my feelings rather than trying to jump out of them too quickly.
So I closed my eyes and I imagined the Capitol. When I see it in my mind, the U.S. Capitol is breathtaking in its towering white grandeur, but it is made of dust -- a fine powder more like bleached flour than dirt. Just as I realize this palace of democracy is made of dust, a powerful wind blows in behind it and the building starts to disintegrate, starting with the woman in a crown of stars standing atop it. (The Statue of Freedom, built by an enslaved man named Philip Reid.)
Then the curve of the dome disappears as the wind carries it in a great cloud across the Capitol lawn. I look around me and I see thousands of my fellow Americans clutching each other, their backs hunched against the cloud of fine, white powder blowing over them, making it hard to breathe. A sob catches in my throat as I realize what the scene reminds me of -- the New Yorkers holding each other up as they walk down gray streets, their bodies hunched and so covered in dust they looked like statues that had suddenly been animated as they stumbled away from the wreckage of the twin towers on 9/11.
In the days after 9/11, we held each other. We knew every American heart was broken. Now, we eye each other suspiciously from 6 feet away, if we even leave our houses at all. We're unsure of each other's grief. Is everyone else going on about life? How are they doing it? We aren't united against a common invader. We're divided without even a common understanding of fact. We don't know where to turn, who to reach for, what is solid stone and what is dust.
I tell my children when they are afraid to go to sleep at night that they are safe in our house; nothing bad can happen to them in our house. I know this is not really true, and I ache thinking about the day, hopefully many years from now, when they will realize it's not true.
Last Wednesday, I realized we are not safe in the Peoples' House.
I also realize my innocence was a privilege and how many in this country never had access to that innocence.
Today I will crumple and let myself sob like a child for what I have lost, but tomorrow I will get up and see what the legs and arms and heart of a grown woman can do. If you're not sure who to reach for, know that I am here, reaching for you, eager to see what kind of house our legs and arms and hearts can build together.
Now, on the one-year anniversary of the insurrection, I have this Leonard Cohen quote on my mind:
“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.”
We are still sifting through the rubble of that cracked and broken house, and the cracked and broken pieces inside of us, too. But each of us has the chance to let a little light in, and that gives me hope.
I’ve just started a new video series I’m calling Tarot for America. In the inaugural episode, on the 1-year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection, I asked my tarot deck: “How can we heal?” You can find the answer I received in this video I’ve posted to Instagram and YouTube:
I also keep thinking about a phrase my incredible money coach Serena Hicks says often: “Healing happens in community.” In this time of continued isolation and disconnection, we have to be so so so intentional about building community for ourselves.
In my own small way, I’m trying to do that with Democrasexy. I plan to continue creating opportunities for us to connect as our authentic selves and work to heal our democracy together. My next gathering will be a virtual book club meeting on February 2 to discuss the future of our reproductive freedom and I really, really hope you’ll join me:
Even if you don’t manage to finish the book, I think it will be worth it for you to show up. Plus, it’s virtual so you can be in your jammies! See you there, friend.
Thank you so much for supporting my work with Democrasexy! If you like it I hope you will share with your friends. <3