BEHIND DOMESTIC LINES

★ ★ ★ ★

JUST ANOTHER DAY UNDER THE TRUMP REGIME

By Jami Ingledue

Please note that this article discusses topics in the current news relating to the Supreme Court confirmation and the sexual assault accusations, which may upset some people.

It is rainy and cold. A teacher workday means no school. I want to listen to NPR but I don’t want my 6-year-old to hear about constitutional crises and possible gang rapes. We are talking about gang rapes in a supreme court confirmation. This should be the most boring thing in the world. Instead I can’t even expose my first grader to it.

I’m not personally a sexual assault survivor. But even I’ve been paralyzed the last few days. Unable to write, unable to do much that is useful. I know that’s not objectively true. We had a postcard party for a great female mom candidate. I’m writing fucking postcards while Rome burns. But it’s better than nothing I guess. I support Lois Valencki because she cares about strong public schools. Don’t be a fucking idiot, can’t you see what’s happening, for the love of god DON’T LET THIS SHIT SHOW CONTINUE. Your neighbor, Jami.

I don’t love Michael Avenatti but I’m kind of relieved that someone is willing to get down in the mud and fight dirty with these soulless assholes. Using their own sensationalist techniques. I guess news breaks first on Twitter now? I’m not even on Twitter. I don’t think I could take the constant barrage.

Did you ever witness a line of men outside a bedroom at any house party where you understood a woman was in the bedroom being raped or taken advantage of?”

BURN IT ALL TO THE FUCKING GROUND.

I can’t stop thinking about the sickening reality of experiencing something like that. Intrusive thoughts, all day long. Of seeing guys at a party you thought were ok, you thought were your friends maybe. Lined up outside a bedroom. Laughing.

I look at my son and hope to god he could never do such things. Am I doing enough to make sure he could never do such things?

I can’t stop thinking of the damage done. What did she feel like the next day? How do you heal from that? How much did it hurt? Was there permanent physical damage done? How could she ever enjoy sex again? Or even HAVE sex again? How could she ever trust any man ever again? The silent stares, the whispers. The not-so-silent laughing. The other girls, feeling glad it wasn’t them and a little guilty for that, but convincing themselves that couldn’t happen to them because they’d never let themselves get in that situation.

I remember drinking too much at a party in my apartment in college. I was in a whiskey phase. Apparently I keeled over mid-sentence. My friends put me to bed. In my bedroom. No lines.

LINING UP TO GANG RAPE AN UNCONSCIOUS GIRL IS NOT NORMAL. For any kid at college, let alone a Supreme Court Nominee. How is it possible that anyone has to say that out loud? I attended lots of drunken parties in college. I never heard of anyone holding a girl down, covering her mouth so that she feared he would inadvertently kill her. I never saw a guy whip it out, let alone stick it in a girl’s face.

“All boys have done something like this.”

What the hell kind of boys are you hanging out with, Phyllis? NO. No, they really haven’t. Done things they regret that they feel bad about now? Yes, I’m sure they’ve all done that. But those things don’t generally include gang rape and attempted rape. I mean, call me crazy.

But we all know how often these things DO happen. We women all live in fear of it every day. Every. Single. Day. And maybe those things did go on at those drunken college parties I attended, and I was blissfully unaware. But then I did not hang out with the frat boy crowd generally. Our group consisted of the artists, the musicians, the poets, the outsiders. Maybe they don’t feel as entitled.

My mind is racing but also somehow strangely lethargic. Stuck. Replaying the images even when I don’t want it to. Thinking about how damn complacent we were. How much easier life was when our government just did normal shit like instigating wars and spying on citizens. Now it feels like it’s all on a slippery slope and we are all just hanging on as everything shakes and trembles. And that boring  government of years past seems like paradise. I can’t believe I’m rooting for the FBI and Jeff Sessions, for god’s sake. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions is the sane one in the room.

Shit, I’m supposed to be writing about the importance of free play for kids.

 I can’t even get my brain to think about it. I am strangely paralyzed, and I get just a tiny inkling of how sexual assault victims must feel paralyzed. I mean, sure, I was paralyzed when the guy behind me in the keg line at the one frat party I attended casually felt my ass while talking with his friend. I didn’t know what to do. I was outnumbered by his frat buddies. I just stood there. I felt gross and ashamed. Ashamed because I wore that tight little dress. Ashamed that I wasn’t strong enough to say anything to him. Ashamed that I didn’t want to lose my place in the beer line.

I’ve got to get something done. Like cooking. Maybe I’ll feel better.

 What do we do if they fire Rosenstein? A protest? What if they don’t fire him but he resigns? What do we do then? Should we still be calling our Senators? Like it does a damn bit of good.

Chop the peppers and put in the crock pot. Brown the sausages, pricking with a fork. Place sausages on top of peppers. Add red wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits. Pour into cooker.”

The sausages lay helpless in the pan, fat and pink and ugly. Stabbing them repeatedly with a fork is grimly satisfying. I don’t examine this urge too closely.

Am I doing enough? I feel panicky about the election now that we’re this close. I can do more. I should canvass every day. I am intensely uncomfortable the entire time, but I should do it every day now. Will I look back and wish I had done more? THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION OF MY LIFETIME DEAR GOD I HOPE I’M DOING ENOUGH. Well, except for the last election.

There’s already an open bottle of red wine, and it’s looking pretty good right now. Surely watching the unraveling of democracy in real time allows for day drinking and unlimited child screen time. Right?

“Hi Jami, just wondering how your piece on play is coming along?”

OH MY GOD HOW IS IT ALREADY MID-AFTERNOON AND MY CHILD HAS BEEN IN FRONT OF A SCREEN ALL DAY? Focus. Focus. Focus!

Wine is perfectly acceptable while cooking.

I spend two hours chopping peppers and onions and turning sausages. I avoid the news and social media for this entire two hours, and I feel very slightly better. But now the day has slipped away and I’m staring down that parental wasteland between starting dinner and the kid finally falling asleep. Which takes place at 9:45 on this night, after 45 minutes of thrashing and somersaulting and rolling.

Blissful Netflix and wine and chocolate and not thinking about how I got nothing accomplished today.

Rosenstein isn’t fired. Crisis averted. Till Thursday, at least.

Jami worked as a librarian for over a decade before choosing to stay home when her son, now 4, was born. She also has a 17-year-old daughter. She makes all-natural soap and body products and sells them through her company, Dancing Bee Farms (dancingbeefarms.net). She lives with her husband, daughter, and son on an acre of land in rural Ohio, where they keep bees, garden, and brew beer.

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