The past four years I have devoted so much work to dissociating my own sense of wellness from the craziness going on my country’s national politics. In fact, I think this has been one piece of the larger work of dissociating my wellness from external signals in general. It’s part of the work I’ve had to perform in managing the trauma of being cut-off without any resolution to the cut-off, to feel decent in myself despite the external signals that I’m horrible, unforgiveable.
Don’t seek external validation, my therapist said several months ago.
And I thought I had gotten fairly good at it. Yes, Trump got to me. Yes, I was afraid. But I wasn’t in terror or daily distress. I was as prepared as I could be for the chips to fall: for the country to fall into civil war, etc.
And so it amazes me how relieved I feel, how suddenly and profoundly it shifts all my feelings about my world just to see a president do normal president things: fill cabinet positions, rejoin the Paris Accord, have a competent press secretary, communicate with the press. Just to see politicians do normal, decent politician things, like Pence showing up at Biden’s inauguration and getting his little trumpety fanfare like everybody else, because there is such a thing as decorum.
Yes, what people do around us does matter. Leadership matters. Our treatment of each other matters. Having an even somewhat working social contract matters. For all my psychological attempts to learn self-sufficiency, I am still deeply enmeshed in social need. So are most of us. That’s human.
Today, I feel astoundingly relieved, probably more than any day of my life.