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Broken

Though it took me a while to catch onto the pattern, in the few days running up to the election many things in my life began to go out, break, fall apart. My back, for starters, after a few days of hauling boxes. My phone, which turned off mid-email and refused to come back on. The doorknob to our porch that came off in my hand. The heater, fixed two weeks before, again went kaput. And maybe it was the heater that snapped things into focus. Nothing like waking to a chilled house to feel the morning’s news in the bones. Outside, the neighborhood seemed a virtual representation of our country’s mood (or at least half of it). Dim, dark, dreary. Like many of my friends, I moved around in a fog. But a trip to Home Depot and a few awkward screwdriver turns, and the door was newly nobbed. The heater guy, Germaine, came by at the end of his shift, generously, and tweaked his initial fix job. Heat back on. Two trips to the chiropractor and an iced back (or three) later brought my back back on line. My phone, well, I just didn’t know how to turn it back on. Carl, our friend, here to help us renovate our kitchen, brought his positivity and a unique angle on our country’s self-inflicted wound. Hailing from Grenada, Carl has seen what such “leadership” can do, and knows firsthand what the U.S. is capable of. “You can’t let one man, one party, one election rule you, man.” How many of my friends and neighbors have begun circling their wagons? The woman at Home Depot who realized we were grieving too opened her mouth so to let her sadness fly out. (Behind us other men and women speak quietly, and in code, about “prizes” and “games won.”) Indeed, this morning it feels like that to me—game on. There is nothing in me, or around me, or of me, that is broken or that can’t be fixed. In a strange way I feel free this morning. Unshackled. Not to let any sort of bitterness or anger or hatred or contempt to come forth. No. Free to keep moving forward in love and in hope and in confidence. Free to be connected to my brothers and sisters in this world. Free to make art and keep family and live in this tattered body a little while longer. Free to fight injustices, small and large. It is the system that is broken, not us.