What’s next. 

Despite the fact that this photo is blurry —and that it includes both a water stained ceiling and the photographer’s own thumb— it’s one of my favorite pictures of me. I was nineteen in this photo and had just voted Bill Clinton in for his second term. My first time voting. That’s a super blurry I Voted sticker there on my sweater. 

The only reason I have this photo is because I came back to my dorm right after voting, beaming like this, and one of the dudes on my hall was like, “Dude, you are like beaming. I’m going to take your picture.” 

Last Tuesday I was in line to vote, behind some college age kids. I had brought along a book (Inherent Vice), mostly to hold in front of my face while I eavesdropped. At one point I overheard the kids in front of me making fun of some friend of theirs who posted a video where she was crying real tears at having just voted for a female presidential candidate. Kids were like, “ugh, drama,” and I mostly agreed. I mean, we were all there to vote for Hillary, but none of us were crying at the historic momentousness of it. We were just voting for the person best qualified for the job, for so very many reasons, her being a woman was pretty low on my list of important reasons to vote for Hillary. 

It wasn’t until the next day when it all went to hell that I realized how truly excited I had been to vote-in the first female president. It’s like I had deferred my joy, to be felt on Wednesday when everything was settled, not Tuesday with the actual act of voting. 

And then on Wednesday, the day I had reserved for Joy Unbounded, I kept having these split-seconds where I would forget who won the election, and in the moment of forgetting I would feel this overwhelming joy well up in my body, like my body had been storing it and was ready to live it now,  but then I’d remember she didn’t win and I’d be emptied out and sick feeling. This happened almost hourly. The rest of the time was spent with waves of realizations of the coming consequences, and revulsion. Like dirty, like I’d been coated in something that won’t wash off for years. 

At the same time I was finishing up a project. Secretly, without telling me, my mind had already started in the days before the election to riffle through my fabrics and patterns, planning ahead for glitter-bombs of ruffles and flowers and bows and joy and pride. And then it happened and I thought, “this country does not love you, girl” and that next-project-planning part of my mind turned to a harder, colder, less exuberant version of feminity. Metal, not roses. 

Now what’s lined up is this, a Halston from 1975, in gold satin spandex:

And this, a jumpsuit from 1977, in washed gold lamé:

I don’t want to get too intense in this post. After all, like: Don’t Sew, Vote. My sewing projects don’t mean anything in the big scheme, they don’t even make a statement that anyone would be able to read except me, but I find it interesting that there was this visceral disconnect between what I’d been expecting to happen and what did happen and that it’s manifesting in clothing, and I wonder if anyone else felt that too. 
I would’ve made these patterns anyway, but differently. I had a floral lined up for the jumpsuit. Maybe I’ll come back around to that. I hope so. For now I’m feeling these cold, loud, defiant metallics. 

I sure would’ve loved it if someone could be taking another photo of me four years from now, at age 43, voting in President Clinton for her second term, to put beside that first photo. Oh well.

And for a ray of sunshine: as of now in California, plastic shopping bags are illegal but recreational pot is a-ok. And we just elected the second ever African American female senator. And Big Hill won the popular vote nation wide. This country does love you girl. (Edited. 12/14/16 Just can’t leave this on a hopeful note after all.)


9 thoughts on “What’s next. 

  1. Well written and an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your perspective. As a Canadian a wide array of thoughts and feelings have been flushing through me. It has been all Leonard all the time up here though really, for the latter part of the week, so I’ve been plunging myself back into that welcome light as I reflect on his life and art. As Naomi says, show the metal.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for this post. I’m still feeling too shocked to say anything about the election but I’ve spent the past several days reading a lot and talking with people. Let me use your blog to “come out” as someone who works in education (which should explain why I try to be so secretive online) — figuring out how to talk with students about what has and what may happen is very, very hard right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. People in Belgium were just baffled and shocked, but I wasn’t too surprised… The far right has been on the rise everywhere and this is just another manifestation of something really nasty going on in society. Open racism seems to be socially accepted in a way again and it’s incredibly scary.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. There is a lot of bafflement in Ireland too with the result, especially after Brexit……. I love those fabric choices and really looking forward to seeing your next makes – Gold Lame wow……… I am pasting some words from a blog post (The Irish Aesthete) this morning, which I thought were lovely ……

    After political events of the past week, many people across the globe are understandably overwhelmed with feelings of melancholia and premonitions of catastrophe. However the study of history teaches us that our forebears went through worse afflictions – and somehow survived. They faced infinitely more terrible examples of hatred and low conduct, and found the strength to carry on. They did so because, for all its failings and foibles, the human spirit is resilient. So too is the urge, the need to create beauty, even in the midst of turmoil and disorder. The determination of previous generations to overcome adversity, and to find the beautiful in the midst of ugliness can serve as our own inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I wish I could offer words of encouragement and comfort but I can’t even begin to imagine the sheer disappointment, fury and disgust you and so many other Americans must be feeling. Upsew above is very eloquent and inspiring – her words are far better than any I can produce.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A great post. Such strange times just now. Having just been through Brexit, it’s been awful and so depressing to see so many similar themes played out again. Let’s hope we can make use of all the anger and channel it somehow into change.
    (Great sewing project choices – we need more beautiful outfits right now :-) )

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m sorry I hadn’t read this new post until just now! You put into words exactly what I was feeling. The majority of my feelings since Wednesday morning have been more heartbreak than anything else, as if I just got dumped by my country. For a while now, I’ve just been in post-break-up-mope, but I, too, am finding my mettle (see what I did there???). Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a well-written post. All I could write were swear words.

    Liked by 1 person

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