Desperately Seeking . . . Pollyanna

I am the president of her fan club.

She is my patron saint.

But, right now, right this moment of November 9, 2016, Donald Trump has been elected president of my country and Pollyanna is nowhere to be found.

I have lost my inner Pollyanna.

In fact, if I’m looking for a literary fellow traveler this morning, it’s Alice—I awoke to find I had fallen down a rabbit hole into a world I don’t recognize and cannot make sense of, peopled by megalomaniacs and Mad Hatters.

There will be those who say I’m a sore loser or a drama queen. I’ve considered those possibilities and I don’t think it’s either. Many times in my life, I have voted for others who have come up short in elections and I have accepted the outcome and moved on.

This is about being terrified.

If Trump-the-president is the same person as Trump-the-candidate then a lot of Americans are justifiably terrified right now.

I acknowledge that I have far less reason to be afraid than many Americans. I am as white as white can be—to find an immigrant in my family, you’d have to go back to the Mayflower.

I was raised Christian and could still pass for one if I felt pressure to. I am straight and married to a white guy who was raised a Christian, too. We don’t have small children to whom we need to try and explain all this. We are fairly well off and retired so our jobs and wellbeing are not at much jeopardy. And so on.

I’m still terrified and, if I am, I cannot imagine how the non-white, non-Christian, non-straight, non-Trump “Others” in the country are feeling right now. I am terrified for you.

You can understand, perhaps, why I can’t settle to anything today. I just took a long walk to try to blow away these feelings of dread. Cold drizzle stung my face and I was pushed around by strong winds. The weather brought to mind all kinds of tired clichés and banal metaphors about our country. I’ll spare you.

Let’s just say, the day suits my mood.

I will try to make something, to turn my hands to some creative task, even though all I want to do right now is rip and tear and burn, even though making pretty little doodads feels trivial and purposeless.

I’ll make things because I find comfort in the act of making and comfort is what I crave.

One thing I can’t bring myself to work on is my women’s suffrage quilt. The piece I showed you yesterday is one of a number of embroidered quotes about women’s rights I have been working on, to make a quilt.

In fact, I was stitching a quote from Hillary Rodham Clinton last night, as I watched the returns—“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.” Right now, that all feels a little bit like a cruel joke . . .

I’m sure I’ll get back to this project someday; I’ll probably decide it’s more important than ever. Just not right now . . .

I’ll probably weave, maybe a complicated pattern that takes all my attention.

And speaking of weaving, I have not forgotten about my promise to choose one of you to receive a handwoven kitchen towel. I have the list of people who will be in the drawing and will get to this soon.

It’s just that I am going to make a towel for one of you, one of my favorite people, and I don’t want the process of making or the product to be associated in my mind with this moment in time, with the way I feel right now. In a few days, I think, I hope, I’ll brighten up and feel like myself again.

Pollyanna, won’t you please come home?

104 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking . . . Pollyanna

    • No, this week has been one of the worst I can remember, rather like the week of 9/11–so much uncertainty and living on the edge. It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way.

  1. [J] The proportion of the popular vote on each side of the Brexit referendum was very similar to that in the US election. We on the losing side feel your grief. And for very similar reasons. Very Very similar reasons. Especially us here in Scotland! D and I have the view that the narrower the majority, the weaker the mandate the winner’s hold, and the more circumspect they should be. Likewise for policies that are extreme and radical – because those that lose out may suffer badly (and if nothing else could revolt!). But when the winners win by the narrowest of popular vote (the electoral college! stuff the consituency count!) on extremely polarising policies (and especially if those policies can’t easily be delivered), then there is double reason to be circumspect. We in the UK, and you in the US, we’re on tenter-hooks to know whether the winners will show humility, any recognition that they might just have been wrong.

    • Our winner show humility? I think you can count that out. It’s a grim situation made worse by the knowledge that there will be no circumspection, no self-control, no thought given to the “losers.” When the Brexit vote came out, it made me realize just how crazily an election could turn out . . . but I still didn’t think it could happen here.

      • Must confess, not much himility from UKIPpers, either. Not the slightest hint that they realize they won by just a cat’s whisker of a difference. All it would have taken would have been another day and a few just-deciders might have un-decided again … If there’s something we’ve learned from this, is that democracies need diverse involvement in politics, and mechanisms that counter the machinations of career politicians and power-hungry moguls.

  2. Okay, I have come up with at least three bright spots.
    1) My email inbox will be considerably emptier because the older generation in my family will no longer have a reason to send out complaints and conspiracy theories about every little thing — because now St. Donald will fix everything!
    2) Holiday dinners will be a lot quieter for the same reason.
    3) Conservative talk show hosts will have to go out and find new jobs because everything will be perfect so they will no longer have any criticism or advice to give!
    Looking forward to the silence….

  3. I certainly don’t have any enlightening answers. In our small town, over 75% of registered voters were out at the polls yesterday which is good. Our NH races were extremely close with one senate seat still not called. Half of the population is sick of the status quo and the same old recycling of names, while the other half apparently found comfort in a familiar name. Maybe we can convince Pollyanna to run next time except I don’t think she’d like the mud slinging.

  4. Since I, and just about everyone I’ve spoken to in the UK today is feeling fear and despair, I can only imagine how you are feeling when it affects you even more closely. As Biggardenblog observes, the proportions of the vote were very similar in our Brexit referendum. Not much better than 50/50 is a bad way to sail into the future with a ‘mandate’. Especially with a terrifying captain at the helm.

    • The captain is terrifying, and he will surround himself with other men who are, as well. I can’t even let myself dwell on this for long, or read the news, because I hyperventilate and get so morose.

  5. I know that being in NZ, what we have to read and listen to often has a media slant, but ooh boy, I’m scared for you too. It’s a vastly different world that my children are waking up to – and if anyone believes that the changes in the US won’t flow through to other countries, they’re dreaming.

  6. I’m as dejected and disheartened as you. Using a term from another childhood favorite book character..we are “kindred spirits.” We need to surround ourselves with supportive friends, keep occupied with the day to day tasks, as well as find pleasure in those creative things that you continue to love. I find comfort in the words of my father who, in times of challenge, would say, “one must always rationalize life.” ……..those words and a huge bowl of Friendly’s Forbidden Chocolate ice cream with Mrs Richardson’s hot fudge…will get me through the day. Now I must finish covering the excrescence that formed on my forehead (perhaps I will morph into a unicorn and fly away) from the stressful night. Sending a virtual hug to you.

    • Thanks, Carol–hearing from you over the past few days has been important to me. I’ve been over-indulging in food and drink that is perhaps not the best for me, too–but then I remind myself I need to staying in fighting shape, in case I need to mount the barricades and protect the downtrodden!

  7. Ah, Kerry, I was reading your blog last night on my balky internet as returns were coming in rather scarily. Now I’m checking in this morning and feeling much the same as you. I can hope in the fact that we are sheltered in our communities. If we can go to work there, we can get through this. We’re in a country that survived a civil war, Warren Harding, and the Great Depression. It’s only four years. And in two there will be a mid-term election…That’s the pep talk to self. Hang on!!

    • Thanks, Lisa–I need all the pep talks I can get. Our country has been strong in the past and, in this election, more than half of the voters voted against the winner. I hope we will all stay outraged and committed to fighting bigotry and hate. New York is a blue state and even my rural county went for Clinton–I’m glad of all that, at least. We are big and noisy and can wield our influence.

  8. It looks like Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote tally so be glad that Trump will not be able to claim a mandate. (Actually with his track record of disregarding reality,he probably WILL claim a mandate, but at least we will not have to believe that a plurality of our populace supported him.)

  9. Pollyanna is just waiting for you to take a moment and step out of fear, look around and savour what you have right now. May I toss out a time worn cliche for you to hang onto? It’s ‘out of darkness, light will rise’. This is an opportunity to lead by example, be without fear, choose humanity and hope and stay in that place. As so many have noted in so many blog posts today, the margin is narrow and half the total number of Americans who can make a difference, may now choose to stand up and demonstrate their beliefs. Keep watch, act when you can and keep an eye out for that rainbow! (I had a good night’s sleep, does it show? 🙂 )

  10. Just try to calm your inner being and realize that the work to be done in our country is never over. I know you can remember the 60s just think how far we have come. Clinton or Trump will not get even 48% of the total vote. That means that someone will come along who can bring us together and give leadership needed to make even more gains. So never give up and keep working for those better days ahead.

  11. Consider yourself hugged! Perhaps it is time to weave a wrap or a blanket, something that will give you warmth, comfort and strength.

  12. I would like to be able to say something comforting but I can’t think of anything at the moment. It is small comfort to me to realise that Britain isn’t the only nation who has made a bit of a hash of things. Hugs ❤

  13. So sorry, but Pollyanna doesn’t seem to be at my house. I wish I could find her for you (and me). I am trying to find solace in the fact that Clinton seems to have won the national popular vote but I keep seeing, in my head, Hitler and Mussolini laughing in the graves, gleefully exclaiming, “We won, we won; took us 70 years but we’ve finally won.” Is that gloomy thinking, or what? !!!!

    • That’s pretty gloomy and I’ve been thinking along the same lines, I hate to say. I’m living on pins and needles, waiting for what happens next. Because you know something is going to happen . . .

      • Trump’s day in court before the end of the year, maybe. Not that I expect anything to come of it. OH I am an awful glum chum. Better to follow Johanna’s advice, and accept a hug from Charley. America is full of fine people. No doubt about that at all.

  14. Not much of comfort I can offer, except that both parties will have to take a hard look at themselves now. Perhaps something good will come of it in the end. It is the best we can hope for at this time.

  15. Sending you love honey.

    Maybe it will be awful enough to lance this horrible infection and perhaps prevent something worse rising 4 years down the line. If the whitelash is this bad after Obama, how much worse would it be after a black man and a woman?

    That’s all I have for comfort. I am working on Depression lace to remind myself that people can be very resilient, especially women who keep making beautiful, comforting and useful things, no matter what storm is raging all around.

  16. Oh, Kerry, I’m with you. Being here in Ireland while my home country has gone forward to elect a person who could very well lead us to the darkest of places…despair, disappointment, sadness, is what I felt as well. But trump does not represent the good and mindful character of so many, many people I know ( and many, many I don’t know). This is a time to guard fiercely all those important attributes ….love, kindness, respect, sensibility ,hope, consideration. I feel stubborn at the moment. Stubborn and protective about my own good will and character. We may watch the powers that be unfold as it will, and this is quite scary ,but I will remain the same. The vote has been made, but I am counting on all those who have an intention for a better future to search for light. As I said, I’m too stubborn not to.
    Blessings to you, my friend.

    • It must be very odd, to be out of the country right now, while all this is unfolding. I’d ask if you were tempted to stay in Ireland but everything else you wrote tells me you’ll be coming home to fight for good! I’m starting to feel sort of feisty myself . . .

  17. I’m Irish and live in Ireland take comfort from the fact that our politicians has made
    a hash of everything since we gained our independence- INDEPENDENCE
    this would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad because the gombeens
    sold us, and future generations out to save their friends
    the bankers, builders and bondholders.
    Yet, we continue to survive.
    I’m of the firm belief that their is no such thing as an honest politician
    or an honest business person.
    The media engenders fear in people and they are experts at manipulating people into
    believing that it’s the white, poor, uneducated and unemployed who voted
    for Donald Trump in America and in Britain the same class of person voted for Brexit.
    If both countries has that many millions of unemployed
    and uneducated people, then they should be seriously worried for the future.
    However, it’s the “shy voter” ( by this I mean the “don’t knows”). of which
    many are well educated and employed, but barely making ends meet these are
    the people responsible for the outcome of the elections both in Britain and America.
    They are sick and tired of being bled dry, ignored and dictated to by bureaucrats
    so they see the ballot box as their chance for revenge.

    • I think there’s truth to what you say–many people of different social classes must’ve voted for Brexit and for Trump, in order for the outcomes to occur. People are trying to send a message but they may need to face unanticipated outcomes . . .

  18. Well what to say my dearest Kerry…what else can we do than tosh the fluttering hankies in the laundry, comb our hair after ripping half out of despair and disbelief, calm down the pets after all that moaning and wailing, put on a nice stew, shove an apple pie in the oven, eat a healthy dose of chocolate and hold our head high again, pick up that embroidery and finish the quote in honor of Hillary and show trump (he does not deserve a capital letter btw) that we cannot be beat!!! Loosing Pollyanna would only make him smirk and we all are better than that!!! The future depends on us, girl, we need Pollyannas but also Kerry in our lifes!! Big hugs my friend, xo Johanna

    • Well, this made me cry. But it was a good cry and you know how to say just the right things, always, Johanna! I did work on the Hillary embroidery yesterday and it did feel good and right. I am going to believe that the future depends on us, the more than half the voters who chose Hillary, and it will help me to know that I am marching along with you and all the other amazing blog friends!

      • Pollyanna forever! It makes me very happy to see you recovering again and getting your spirits up and running again! My advise my dear friend: indulge your chattered self in beauty and rest for a few days and come alive full of strength and stubborn will power again! xo and a cuddle from Charley

  19. Even living in the UK and thus being a step removed from it all, I felt sick yesterday when I heard the result.
    I can only do the same thing I have been doing all year – focusing on kindness. Now more than ever I am crocheting/knitting like mad to make blankets for charity. Knit for Peace and Sixty Million Trebles are going to be receiving big parcels. Creativity not destruction is my salve.

    • I know you’re right, Jan–and, if the time comes when Trump reveals himself and even his supporters see what they’ve wrought, kindness will be all the more important.

  20. Kerry, I wrote out the following quote from Hillary’s concession speech: “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” Tuesday’s vote comes as a physical blow, just as Brexit did in the UK. But we are strong enough to keep going and to continue to find our way in the world. I think we, as crafters, are lucky to have such passion in our work – it helps promote drive, diligence and determination. Sending love and hugs 🙂

  21. I was quite shocked to read the news on Thursday. I wanted to believe in the American people to do the right thing. This seems a bit like history repeating itself on the other side of the world for us Germans.
    What is awkward for non-Americans is to speak to Americans about this election. At the moment, here at work at an international company, we’re very careful not to mention it to Americans. The reason is that you never know who they voted for, and deep down you don’t want to know because you realise if they name the wrong candidate your view of them as well as your working relationship will change.
    I’m happy to see that people I know and like in the blogosphere are confirming my impression of them, that they are decent human beings who are in touch with reality.

    • Believe it or not, it’s equally awkward here–I walk around, looking suspiciously at everyone I see. Did that one vote “my” way? Or for him? In fact, there’s apparently a move here that people who are shocked and upset at the outcome are wearing safety pins pinned to their shirts, to send a message that it’s safe to talk to them! Please keep reading blogs by Americans and remember that more than half of us voted for Clinton. This is a country with millions of fine, decent people and we will keep it safe.

  22. I, too, feel your pain. Hillary won the popular vote by more than 300,000 votes. There are articles out there that when the Electoral College votes and makes the election results official on December 19th the electors are not absolutely bound to vote a certain way.

    I also heard Ralph Nader on the radio yesterday and he was discussing the National Popular Vote organization. Very interesting. http://www.national popular

    • I’ve heard only a little about this . . . can’t quite get my hopes up that it would come to pass. And, I admit, the backlash among Trump and his supporters, if such a thing were to happen, is pretty scary. But would it be scarier than what were looking at now . . . ?

  23. This is so beautifully written. I share all of your thoughts and feelings, and as a fellow “white as white can be” person, who is also married to a white man and has all of the comforts of a stable middle class life, I too am terrified. Especially for my countrywomen and countrymen who are not part of the dominant culture. I have never struggled so hard to understand another point of view. I truly consider myself to be so open-minded and so capable of seeing many sides of an argument. A diplomat in family and friend groups, I’ve managed pretty well. And as a psychologist, I also have had a lot of practice listening to and understanding myriad points of view. With this though, with this election, I feel confronted with what feels like right now a completely impossible task. I feel like half of our country is looking at the other half as though we are looking at an unidentified creature from another universe. I am struggling with knowing where to begin. Like any good therapist, I guess I have to start with looking within and not turning away from what I see and take it from there. I also need to cultivate courage and an unapologetic voice when it comes to sharing my opinion.

    • That business about cultivating courage and a voice is super important, I think. I am not one to take a public stand–bit of a coward, I think, but I will need to change that . . .

  24. I still can’t find accurate words describing how I feel. I have not stitched in over a week (occupied by real job stuff), but as soon as I sit down with my needle and thread in a quiet space, I’ll be able to sort through my feelings. For now, thanks for your writing and sharing your thoughts. Peace and much comfort to all.

    • I thought even the stitching would be impossible but I went to my sewing group on Thursday and there’s nothing to do at sewing group but sew . . . so I did. And talked to a few like-minded people and commiserated and it did help. It doesn’t change the super scary reality of what we’re facing but I felt courage building a bit . . .

  25. I can completely understand your feelings and why Pollyanna is missing – she’s probably moved to Canada! But we still find comfort in the things that bring us joy, even when there doesn’t seem to be much joy to be found.

  26. Oh Kerry. Big Sigh.
    I decided to visit WP today in an attempt to escape the devastation that I am feeling. I wanted an escape. Instead I found solidarity with many of WP friends.
    We are all in this rabbit hole together, and trying to find a way to move forward, to find our fighting spirit, our faith in a future that is not destroyed by the one who did not win the popular vote.
    I haven’t picked up my camera either.
    Grieve as you need to.

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  28. Another beautiful, heartfelt post from you, Kerry. I’m sorry I missed it earlier, but I’m glad to be catching up today. There is real fear in my community. 40% of our citizens are immigrants from around the world and many of them are afraid. Yet a neighbor a few doors down from me thinks nothing of having voted for and elected “him” saying that “she had to put up with Obama for eight years.” She can’t see past her nose to understand that this isn’t about politics, but about elected someone that is the poster child for all the things you teach your children not to do: He doesn’t play fair, he lies and cheats, he’s thin-skinned and weak, a hateful bully…and on and on.

    I still feel like I’m moving through mud, but like you, escaping into time with like minded friends, a movie, a funny book, etc.

    I saw the etch a sketch meme. I didn’t know there were more. Thanks for the tip. If I were there I would give you a big hug. xo

    • Oh, there’s a meme about Biden leaving a bag of Cheetos in the bathroom, in case “he” wants to powder his nose! HAHAHA! I can imagine the fear in your community. We don’t have the immigrant issues in this area–people here seem to be more worked up about women’s reproductive rights, etc. It all scares me to my core. And these appointments he’s been making . . . OMG.

      • Kerry, I posted earlier here (weave a blanket for comfort – I think I will weave one for myself!!). I find the appointments extremely disturbing. I was hoping that some moderation would happen after the elections, but that was hopeful wishing. I must admit that I just don’t get it, don’t get that people do not understand how dangerous some of those people are. I live a hop and a skip from you (Ottawa) and have been reading everything I can to get a grasp, some sort of understanding. I am afraid for my friends in the States but am also extremely worried about world politics. In Montréal, Toronto and here in Ottawa more visible signs of turmoil are showing up. There are to be elections in France and in Germany, among other countries. America plays a large role as tone setter for the West – these are not good times. But this said, I am amazed at how ALL of the blogs that I follow are like yours….gentle people, conscious of their civic duty and of their love for their country. Now to get after all those who did not vote to do just that…vote next time…that is how a nation is transformed.

      • [snort]

        It frightens me too. It should frighten everyone. The rise of white supremacy can’t be far behind. I keep wondering why there are so many hateful people in this country. I just don’t understand.

  29. We all shocked – really seems like some bizarre tv reality show except it’s real and scary. Can’t imagine how you must be feeling as we are shocked enough here in Australia. Seems fear and playing on people’s insecurities won out.

    • We’re getting to the point of being a little numb–every day there are new stories of appointees who are super scary and other strange goings-on. I feel like I’m waiting for a shoe to drop . . . what will he do next?

  30. I’ve noticed there seems to be a majority of art minded who are shocked and saddened by the outcome of this election. The pragmatic (for lack of a better word) were not surprised at all. Some, unfortunately, are happy about it. For me, I’m still trying to figure out what may be coming next and how best to prepare.

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