The Essentials

Last night in fitful sleep, I dreamed apocalyptic. Back in my childhood home but as an adult, with my siblings and parents, we waited for disaster, knowing, in the Dream Way of Knowing, that it was coming.

We were to be airlifted out of our home via helicopter, but before that, we needed to gather food. I found peaches and carrots and put them in a bag. All of us frantic, terrified. When there was no more food to toss in bags, I rifled through my books, looking for a thick anthology of children’s literature; where we were going, we would have time to pass.

And where was Kegen? Dream Meg needed him and felt confused that he wasn’t there. Shortly, he appeared, and I ran to him and kissed him, a luxury interrupted by chaos and necessary explanations about what was happening. The end.

“But dreams aren’t real!” my best friend protests; she doesn’t care to discuss them. “What is real?” I counter only when I’m feeling existential.

What is real? This morning, my white cisgender friends and I have a new kind of knowledge about the extent of hatred surrounding our vulnerable comrades. What is real? A President-Elect and a House and a Senate and, soon, a Supreme Court majority, all put in power by people who hate something: largely, Others.

What is real? We have work to do.

What is real? Gather the essentials.

What is real? You will need food. Peaches and carrots. Good food. Nourish yourselves. Make your bodies strong, for we have work to do.

What is real? You will need books. Read the experiences of Others. Read books and articles by black and brown and gay people. Read to children and teach them about Others.

What is real? You will need love. You cannot have Kegen. But there is love all around. Find and cultivate it. Share it, even when you don’t want to.

Last night, we drank, we curled ourselves into balls, we sat with jaws dropped, we denied, we imagined it wasn’t true, we distracted ourselves, we slept fitfully, we dreamed apocalyptic.

Today, we gather the essentials, and we fight, and we love one another.

Get to work.

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