the day after

I barely slept last night. I looked up election coverage after Ramona went to bed, expecting to wile away the evening enjoying a Hillary landslide. Obviously, that is not at all what happened. It’s just absolutely shocking. I know I live in a lefty bubble, being here in Lawrence, Kansas, but it absolutely blows my mind that so many people voted for hate: racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia…It appears that Hillary did win the popular vote, which is some consolation, but it shouldn’t have even been close.

I cried for the first time since my cancer diagnosis. If the worst happens to me, this is the world I am leaving my daughter? She’s growing up in a country that has never had a female President, where women got the right to vote less than 100 years ago. She’s growing up in a country with a President who was caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault! She’s too young to understand right now, but by the time the 2020 inauguration rolls around (assuming we still have a country then…assuming that we still have a world then & haven’t all been vaporized in a nuclear war over a Tweet), she’ll be eight. That’s old enough to follow the news & start developing political opinions. I remember that I was seven years old when I learned about abortion & decided that I support reproductive justice. This was my first little taste of realizing that some things affect women in unique ways, & that some people think we shouldn’t have the right to make our own decisions about our bodies. It was when I realized that I was a feminist. Reagan was President then. I just wanted more for my daughter.

Thankfully, she’s too young to understand what’s going on today. She has spent the morning sneaking up & tickling me, pretending to have sleepovers with her favorite toys, & learning about Eid al-Adha (a Muslim holiday). Right now she’s getting dressed to go play soccer in the yard.

The first part of my cancer treatment has been scheduled. I’ll be going in for a cold knife cone biopsy in mid-December. Hopefully this will provide us with all the staging information we need to move forward, & hopefully this cancer really was caught early. In the meantime, I am STILL recovering from getting sick last month. I’ve lost 15 pounds, I’m perpetually tired & dizzy, I have no appetite. & that means I STILL haven’t been doing any sewing. I did try to leave the house on Saturday, but I had to have Jared come pick me up because I wasn’t strong enough to do what I had intended to do (go to therapy) or walk home.

I have a lot of projects cut out & ready to be sewn, & I have all the supplies for some others. I really want to make myself a hooded denim jacket with faux-leather sleeves–an extra layer to wear that is a little more interesting than your standard hoodie. I want to make myself some more jeans, because the first pair I made myself are way too big now. I want to make a flannel shirt to wear over thermals, & I’m tempted to adapt my shorty overall pattern into an overall dress, even though I don’t tend to wear many dresses or skirts when the weather is chilly.

But mostly all I have been doing lately is reading & watching TV. I’ve blazed through several seasons of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” which I had never seen before. I watched the first season of “30 Rock,” which I had also never seen before. I haven’t had a TV in like twenty years, so there’s a lot of stuff I’ve missed. It makes me feel kind of shitty to watch so much TV, but I don’t have energy for much else.

Ramona’s birthday is at the end of the month. She’ll be four, & for the first time, she kinds of grasps the concept of a birthday. We’ve gone to several birthday parties since she started preschool, so she understands that a birthday party involves playing & cake. Therefore, she wants a birthday party. Unfortunately, she was born on the last day of November, which isn’t generally great weather for playing outside, & our house is way too small to host an indoor birthday party. There are various spaces available for rent around town: the indoor play center, the train depot, the gymnastics center at Rock Chalk Park, the nature center. But all are $100+, which is about $100+ more than we have to spare. Jared has floated a lot of interesting ideas, like organizing a scavenger hunt downtown, or covering the entire living room in butcher paper & letting the kids go crazy with tempera paint. It’s just a challenge to come up with something feasible that isn’t a ton of extra work for parents (since Ramona & her friends are not quite at an age that permits drop-off birthday parties).

I also had big plans for things I wanted to make for her birthday: pajamas, a new quilt, a big felt wall calendar like they have at her preschool. I’ll be lucky to just get to the pajamas at the rate I’m moving. I’ll have a second bite at the apple with Christmas just around the corner, but December is going to be difficult due to the biopsy (some people say they felt all better within a few days; others say it took them a full six weeks to heal) & because Jared’s family is all coming to Kansas to be with us. Which, don’t get me wrong, is a very good thing. Ramona can’t wait to see them, & I doubt I will be in any state to travel for Christmas so soon after the biopsy. But it will still be a lot of socializing & a disruption of my current heavy schedule of napping, panicking, & watching TV on the internet.

I hope everyone reading this is getting through the day all right. Ramona observed, “Today is not a fun day,” & even though she doesn’t have a sense of the geopolitics afoot, I can’t disagree with her observation. We are moving into a situation that feels downright apocalyptic in some ways. I’m just trying to remember what Joe Hill said (& what I had tattooed on my wrist 15 years ago): “Don’t mourn. Organize!” I’m still mourning a bit though.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

9 thoughts on “the day after

  1. I can imagine you are more weary than I am, but damn, I am tired. Even though I do not agree with the Republicans in the House and Senate I can only hope that they will be able to stop him from doing too much damage. He has already done so much damage just courting the white supremacist vote.

    Sending you my best wishes and hoping that things get better, for all of us!

  2. Hey I have some time that I’m not doing anything else with & would be glad to help you with sewing if you want to send the patterns & material I’ll whip a few of the things up & send them back finished for you. I would come help you out at home & all but I live in Florida & can’t nip right over but I’m just a post box away if you need me. Keep your chin up ok.

  3. I think after the initial surprise wears off life will go on as it always has done. The election results really are insignificant to what you and your family currently face. Turn off the media. It just feeds your angst. Also, remember the President can’t do anything without Congressional approval and they don’t appear to ever approve anything. Now put on your beautiful smile and plan that sweet girl’s party.

  4. I read your zine and I’m a blog lurker. I just wanted to tell you that you’re doing an awesome fucking job. You are an awesome parent. I hope this terrible medical shit has the best possible outcome and is over soon.

  5. Dear Ciara,
    Sadly you’re are correct about “the state of the country”. I’d prefer to believe that most people just voted against the status quo as opposed to “for” Trump. Sadder still I’ve become cynical enough to think it doesn’t seem to matter who’s elected. This ship just stays on course. Did you hear that inquiries for Immigration to New Zealand trippled on Wednesday?
    I never watch the media circus.
    Must stick to it! Gotta laugh or…
    I’m certain that being your daughter Ramona will be strong enough to handle ( and probably change ) what ever the future holds.
    Since I’m acting like we really know each other I’ll step right on in it and give some advice; now is the perfect time to practice “ask and delegate”. Cancer being a marathon the trick is to use your energy wisely. People who love you have a difficult time mostly NOT being able to help. Let them. 🙂 More than nuff said I know but comes from a place of deep admiration.
    All the best!

  6. I cried and was useless after the election… and I don’t have cancer. :\

    I like the idea of butcher paper and paint! We had a party like that in college and it was hella fun. As long as you put everything away so kids can’t get into it, and the pain is easily washable, it shouldn’t be too hard on the parents. We had a backyard birthday for Lilian’s 4th, and the kids all played together with minimal adult intervention. I’d give everyone a heads up to wear older clothes, but I’d be psyched to bring Lilian to a party like that. 🙂

  7. I was immediately gutted, and I’ve been angry since about Wednesday evening. I’m really disgusted. I think progressives think we’re making, you know, progress. But apparently we’re just swinging wildly around and we’re still at the mercy of wealthy white people, who were the primary demographic who elected him – not the poor people whose areas (one of which I lived in my first 20 years) are being hollowed out with job loss. I’m disgusted and I’m gearing up for a fight. I took some time to mourn, but I’m ready to organize.

    I can’t imagine dealing with the upcoming biopsy in addition to this. There are so many people who already have enough on their plates without a rapist bigot for president.

    I really like the butcher paper idea! I think that would be so much fun.

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