I went to a conference last week. Alone. No kids. No husband. No friends. Just me. 5 days in a hotel room. 5 days to navigate an alien city all by myself. 5 days to find peace and calm in an otherwise insanely hectic life.
I am no stranger to being alone. I like it. It’s the hoards of people that I find myself interacting with on a daily basis that seem to cause me discomfort. I just get really drained. My kids. My husband. The patients. The powers that be. Everything. Drains me. I actually looked forward to this little retreat.
What surprised me and what I had never felt before was a strange sense of vulnerability and fear.
Let me explain.
I pride myself on being able to maneuver in any neighborhood, with any people, at any time of day. I just have no fear of people. Except this time. Inside, I felt a little scared. What I hadn’t realized until I found myself completely alone, was the toll that the last several months have taken on me. The onslaught of media coverage of the recent election. The man attacking the woman. The man stalking her during debates. The “locker room” language about “grabbing pu$$y.” The inability of the man to be decent so that my children could actually watch TV without hearing bleeped out curse words. Hitting below the belt and then taking a little grab. The man’s supporters condoning ungodly behavior and then saying it was God’s plan. It was all too much.
I have no fear, but I’m not stupid. I carry mace. I lock my doors. I have my key ready so I’m not fiddling in my purse. I am aware and observant at all times.
After the election, with so many people seeing no problem with being an asshole, speaking like an asshole (I know I curse, too, I’m an asshole, too), treating others like they are less than. I felt vulnerable. The normal expectation of being treated decently because I treat others decently just doesn’t exist. Anything goes. You can say and do whatever you want to whomever you want. People who aren’t very nice have been empowered.
The world seems like a scarier place for it.