When I first awake, I am happy, whether sun is streaming in the window or rain is pattering on the roof. But then, as my brain starts to whirl, I remember that a reality TV star who might be mentally ill has the nuclear codes. I ruminate how he is filling his cabinet with climate change deniers, and how he doesn’t respect truth, or women. I decide to shut my eyes again, and go back to sleep.
If I am really agitated, I bribe my dog with a dog treat to snuggle with me while I calm myself down. Hugging my golden retriever’s fur and hoping none of his ticks hop off into our bed, I hum a calming riff from La La Land: “City of stars, are you shining just for me? City of stars, there’s so much that I can’t see” until I stop hyperventilating. I envision Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling putting on their dancing shoes and twirling in the Los Angeles twilight.
Musicals were very popular during the Great Depression. We aren’t even in a recession yet, but the anxiety seems the same. There is no visible path towards better times. The protagonists of almost every musical are young and poor, but they pursue their dreams, and even when life disappoints them, they sing, sometimes out of tune.
I can’t see a clear path out of this Trump fog. Neither reason, nor scandal seems to be able to lift it. All I can do is be a professional, caring teacher and attentive mother during the day, be politically engaged in my spare time, and restore peace in my heart each morning with a sniff of dog fur and a bit of humming.