When I was in high school, I was a devout basketball aficionado. I loved it. It was the sole motivating factor that got my ass to school. My parents, to their credit, used basketball as both the carrot and the stick. Smart. The end.
Just joking- not the end. But you are probably wondering where I am going with this. Hang with me. I’m going to make my point as quick as I can…well, as quickly as a long-winded, freshman blogger can make her point.
During a game in my senior year, I crashed the boards for a rebound (notice that I am trying to subtly build your confidence in my athletic abilities by using sports jargon. Oh the power of the pen!). Whether inadvertent or intentional, another player clipped my legs when I reached peak height in my jump, which led to an unfortunate event. Spoiler: it wasn’t the boards that crashed. It was me that crashed.
When I fell on the old, MRSA-ridden gym floor, my back broke…my fall. Honestly, it felt like my back broke too, but medical officials later confirmed that it was only the fall that broke. Whatever. What do they know? They get paid to look at, among other things, poop. Anyways, back to my story. It was one of the few times in my life that I experienced the wind being knocked out of me. The other times consisted of an ill-fated decision to jump off a Tennessee waterfall and a poorly executed backflip on my mother’s sofa. I suspect those are stories for another time.
Having the wind knocked out of you, as they call it, is a fascinating experience. Cognitively, I knew that I should be able to breathe. After all, it is an involuntary function, and my body wasn’t restricted by a lack of oxygen, a bizarre vacuum suction or lodged chicken. My sister is a nurse, and I have it on good authority that it is “always chicken” when someone chokes. Nonetheless, I knew that I should be able to breathe, but there was a brief second, that felt like minutes, in which my body couldn’t function. I experienced a physical disconnection between my instincts and my capabilities.
Still joking. Why does any of this matter? Why am I revisiting this thought today? More importantly, why am I subjecting you to this belabored story? Since the election, I experienced a mental disconnect, which is very odd for me. I have been a fairly informed member of society for quite some time. I never suspected a Trump victory. I didn’t even stay awake to watch election results. I voted, had dinner and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I had a feeling something had “gone wrong,” because I didn’t have a single text from any friends or family. In my circle, radio silence is a bad sign.
Since the election, I have experienced a less physical, more mental disconnect. I have opted out of all news, except for the headlines. I’ll just have the tapas- please and thank you. I write this, because I think it is likely that many of you have also experienced this feeling. You have always made an effort to keep yourself informed, but lately, you just can’t. You want to be informed, but what is happening right now has taken its toll.
I want you to know that it will be ok. I feel the same. We didn’t see it coming, and it knocked the wind out of us. Is it ok that this happened? No. Not really. No matter how you cut it, we were knocked to the floor. I want you to take the time you need to catch your breath. I want you to know that I completely understand. It took me a minute too. I had to take a break from the news, but now, I’m feeling mentally stronger and back to my civic duty. But you have to know that you can’t quit. You can’t walk away from the events of today and pretend that they don’t exist. They do exist. Whether you look at the scary monster or look away, it is still there. I really need you to come back to the discussion. Our only hope of moving forward and making this mean something is to engage. Your participation is needed.
So, take a minute to align your thoughts and philosophies, and I’ll see you on the court. For real though, there’s probably MRSA on the floor, so I wouldn’t take too much time to stand up. It runs rapid in sweaty environments. Don’t lie there too long.