See you on the other side

In March 2016, I volunteered for a political campaign for the first time, I think, ever by making calls to voters for the Bernie Sanders campaign. I got set up on the virtual dialer and sat at my desk in my NYC apartment for a few hours going through the call script. I was mistaken when I thought my day job cured me of my phone anxiety; making calls, even with a script, introduced a new layer of worry.

When Bernie lost I naturally backed Hillary, though my enthusiasm was significantly muted. She was not my first choice, but I also got complacent and believed that she would win, especially in comparison to her opponent.

I don’t think I need to reiterate what the days, weeks, months after felt like.

Since the pandemic started, I feel like every disaster has been heightened, and I have been even more sensitive to worst case scenarios. But then, also, I wonder if maybe my internal barometer should always be so finely tuned. Being vigilant and ready to fight for what’s right may be incredibly draining, but the flip side, hopefully, is also true: that being more aware of potential disaster could also help me be more aware of joy.

These have not been easy weeks (months, years). The fall semester has been compressed with no breaks so that it feels like I have to use all of my energy just to keep up with my responsibilities. Still, I fall behind. And at the end of the day, I stretch whatever I have left as far as I can in order to get a little bit more mileage and volunteer for organizations supporting the Biden/Harris ticket.

What makes it easier are moments, small as they may be, that remind me that it’ll be worth it. A positive interaction with a voter, answering someone’s question about how to vote, texting people who are volunteering with another organization—all these things have brought me incredible joy. Even unrelated things that are purely personal—hanging out with friends (virtually), getting a funny message from my siblings, a lit mag acceptance—feel even more special. These things remind me that it’s not just the current fight that matters, but the world that’s waiting for us on the other side of it.

I had a lot more that I wanted to say in this blog post. I actually intended to write a lot more in the days (weeks, months) leading up to the election, but although I’ve stretched my capacity for doing more, there are only so many hours in a day. And now this election eve, I’m exhausted, and will probably not sleep all that well, but I’ll need to be alert tomorrow. For any news.

I’ll see you on the other side of this all.

Published by Caroliena Cabada

Caroliena Cabada is a graduate student at Iowa State University pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing and Environment. Her writing has been published in online and print journals, and she's currently at work on a collection of short stories.

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