I don’t really know what to do or say. I just feel so completely at a loss. My mind is twisting its way through a maze of never ending rabbit holes of sad. I guess–okay, are you willing to go on a thought journey with me? Cool. Here we go:
Imagine this sweater, it’s your favorite color, thick cable knit, and super cozy. Maybe your grandma gave it to you when you were about five, and you were like, “Shit yea! Look at this bitchin sweater! It has sequins and unicorns, and that weird fabric paint that peels off after it’s been through the dryer too many times!” (Your language and understanding of craft supplies were impressive for a five-year-old.) It’s your sweater. And it’s awesome! It keeps you warm. Because you’re young, you don’t realize until a few years later that the sequins are mismatched and hiding moth holes, and the unicorn has sort of wonky proportions, maybe it’s missing a leg? But, it’s still a functional sweater. It keeps you warm, and the color’s still great.
Around sixteen you notice the unicorn patch is fraying around the edges and it’s covering up a section where the knitting pattern got all mangled and jacked up. You realize, it’s flawed more than you’d thought. But it’s still your sweater from your grandma, and it keeps you warm, right? Even if most of the weird fabric paint has peeled off because you used to pick at in math class.
Eventually, you go to your closet, and you notice sweater is starting to unravel at the cuffs, and there’s a hole in the armpit. But you try to stay positive, “Hey! Awesome! Who doesn’t like thumbholes?! And as long as I don’t raise my arm no one will know of my armpit-hole-secret. Don’t worry, sweater, we’ve got this.” (You talk to your sweater, but it’s charming not creepy.) The thing about knitwear is, those whole garment it interconnected from just one or two main threads of yarn. It snags easily, but is still functional, it keeps you warm–mostly.
So, your sweater is kinda sketchy at this point, but you wear it, because, well–maybe you only have two sweaters? And it’s laundry day? It’s still the sweater you’ve grown up in (Magic-grow-with-you-grandma-sweater? Just come with me on this one). Until, finally you pull your sweater from the wash, and it’s just this huge tangle of damp yarn. You grab two handfuls of disjointed clumps of ex-sweater, bits of it still hanging on here and there with knotted strings. Your heart sinks. The sound of little droplets hitting the floor bring you back to the present moment. You disappointedly drop this wet, matted, san-sequins mess to the floor.
That same heavy wet slap of a freshly soaked mop on linoleum.
You drop the floor. Sitting cross legged on the cool concrete. Tiny little rivers begin meandering their way across the sloped floor to the drain. You stare at this indecipherably tangled mass for a while. Longer than you should. Just sitting there. You realize you don’t know where to begin.
You know you can’t fix this.
You can’t even understand how the knots interconnect. This pile of frays, holes, and tangles that used to be your sweater. Your sweater. (Luckily you have two, so you don’t have to hang out topless in my hypothetical, unless that’s your preference. You do you.)
It’s still the same color, the same amount of fabric. But it can’t keep you warm. You can’t fix it. And you don’t even understand all of the ways it’s broken. That sad unraveling comfort you had just last Thursday is gone.
Anyway, my point is–the US is this pathetic fucked up sweater. It’s my country, but it hasn’t kept me warm for years–and it certainly doesn’t now.
Oh! And some nazis fell out of the lint trap? Wtf? How did you get dryer nazis?! Where did those horrible little things come from? How are nazis even a thing again? Seriously?
This sweater is the worst.
Every day is an attempt to balance awareness and self preservation. Some days, I fail, and just stare at the sweater unable to move, tearing up. Completely at a loss, of no use to myself or others.
Some days, I’m fine.