I'm sitting at home on a Friday night, wanting to write a post but feeling a stuck. I have some new and entirely unnecessary beauty purchases I wanted to share with you, and another post in the works with revolves primarily around a giant marshmallow from Camden (true story) but the timing just doesn't feel right. The last week has been an incredibly strange one.
The day america's new president was elected - exactly one week ago - I was given a raise at work. I feel weird saying it because I'm British and trust me we do not like to talk about money, but it was a big moment for me. A year and a half ago I finally found the right career path for me and managed to jump onto the last big advertising placement scheme still open in 2015. Over the next six months I worked myself into a state of genuinely poor mental health in the name of making an impression strong enough to secure me a permanent job. It was kind of amazing but also quite awful and it resulted in my not taking a single day of holiday for the entirety of 2015. Actually looking back maybe it was just awful.
A year on from that I was genuinely surprised, but also incredibly proud, to be offered a gesture of recognition in my new career at a time when both my new industry and my new company are facing steeper financial challenges than they've seen for some years. I didn't even have to flog myself to death or network like an Mi6 operative like I did on my internship. It just happened. I'm usually incredibly harsh on myself. I have trouble differentiating between feeling pleased with oneself momentarily and full blown lackadaisical complacency, so I tend not to allow myself even a pat on the back, but I think I might actually just be good at this. And that makes me feel like I might be doing the right thing with my life. Which is a feeling I haven't had since well before I entered my twenties some 6 years ago. I feel like I've been treading water for a very long time, but as of last Friday my toes bumped up against seabed. I'm not totally stable yet, but I can stop thrashing long enough to look around.
So it was a good day, basically.
But also it wasn't. I wanted to feel better about the raise than I did. I felt amazing, for a few minutes, and then suddenly low. I think a year's worth of am-I-actually-any-good-at-this-at-all and is-it-always-going-to-be-a-constant-uphill-struggle-to-progress-financially-and-professionally worries were released all in the space of a five minute conversation, and I was just left feeling a bit lost. What do I pin all my irrational anxieties to now hmm? Maybe I should get a tropical house plant with an incredibly demanding care schedule so I can worry about that.
So yeah, it's wasn't because of Trump. I am fully cognisant of his thorough, no-stone-unturned, all-encompassing awfulness though. He has reinvented grotesque. Not only is he racist, sexist and thunderously self-absorbed, he's also clearly really quite thick, which scares me.
But at the same time I am feeling a bit worn out by the stream of forlorn commentary emanating from certain sections of the UK's traditional and social media this week. Solidarity with American women is what needs to happen right now, and increased donations to international programmes affected by Trump's egregious actions in office thus far - organisations like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. What we don't need is self pity or inertia. We don't need privileged white people from outside the US bemoaning how sad all this makes them. It is sad though, obviously.
So this is not a 'Trump ruined my work milestone' post.
It's just that I wanted to write about makeup but this week has been other-worldly and it didn't feel like the right time. I've spent this my mornings at my desk hunched over my weetabix, knee deep in every little detail of what Trump is doing. It reminds me of reality TV, except that it's real. But judging by the turn out for the women's marches across the world, this is not the end of democracy as we know it. So far, he's doing a terrible job. I hope the 53% of American white women who voted for him now see that there never was a more dignified, statesmanlike, bigger man inside him, waiting to be released after the hyperbole of the campaign period was done with. I hope his actions in office and his moronic, self-absorbed carping about inauguration crowds and voter fraud turn all but the nuttiest of his voters against him out of embarrassment if nothing else.
Garrison Keillor, a personal hero of mine and one of the funniest writers ever to have written, has published a series of pieces on the Trump campaign, inauguration and presidency so far. Some favourites of mine are here and here.
What a weird week.