April 27, 2017 by Barbara Stock
I struggle to see the good in Donald Trump. His words and actions frighten me. Early in the campaign, my husband described him as a used car salesman. Now we don’t joke. I still sometimes wake in the night with images of gravestones overturned, children passing out from gassed or polluted air, backroom abortions.
So, I was surprised when I realized the huge positive effect this presidency has brought to our marriage.
My husband and I married 21 years ago, well into middle age. Like most second-marrieds, we treasure what we have together and give each other lots of space to grow individually.
My husband is an extreme introvert. He is happiest reading action mysteries, watching tennis, nature films or action movies—not my genres. I’m happy he’s happy.
I, too, am an introvert. My work as a therapist precludes my discussing the details of my day. I’ve always appreciated our silence. We’re not exactly the most exciting couple, but as we’ve moved into our seventies and eighties, we’ve anchored each other well. I never questioned our rhythm. Happily, we’ve hugged, cuddled, shared occasional observations and appreciated our quiet space.
Until January 21. Trump’s inauguration changed our daily lives.
February 20, 2017 by Barbara Stock
“The air I’m breathing feels different,” a friend said after the inauguration. Clients report waking from dreams screaming at Trump and his supporters. I, myself, wake through the night, agitated.
The confirmation of Jeff Sessions as attorney general, arrests of immigrants who have lived productively here for decades, Mitch McConnell silencing Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor—these are troubling times. I sign petitions daily, call my state and federal Congress people weekly. When I couldn’t get through to his Washington office, I even mailed a handwritten full-page letter to my Congressman detailing my concerns. Anxiety makes for activism. How do we sustain our commitment, hold steady in the midst of chaos?
Deep breaths, sleep, healthy food, exercise—these are necessities. Mani-pedis, bubble baths, hot showers, massages and vacations are wonderful but not sufficient. I need more. How do all of us nurture our souls knowing we’ve signed not for a sprint but for a triathlon?
February 1, 2017 by Barbara Stock
“Stay safe,” I repeated to everyone I knew traveling to The March. “Just keep yourself safe.” My caution surprised some but images of the ’60’s were haunting my sleep.
1963: I rode south with classmates as an exchange student for a few days at Hampton College, Virginia, a “Negro College.” We attended classes, slept in the women’s dorm, participated in discussions with students at the home of the college president. I rode the bus downtown with my roommate.
“Can’t we sit together?” I asked as she pointed me to a seat and then sat herself further to the back.
“No. I’m not looking to be killed. I’m buying material for my wedding dress.”