I still receive a daily writing prompt every morning. It’s a leftover from the days of my creative writing blog. I don’t respond to the prompts anymore (with creative writing) but they never try to sell me anything so I’ve never gotten around to kicking the prompters out of my inner circle. I keep thinking I should go ahead an unsubscribe but thus far, nope. It’s been a low priority loose end.
My friend Cody has an acquaintance who posts a Bible verse on social media every day, usually in the wee hours of the morning. Cody uses that post as a bookmark in his feed. When he gets to the Bible verse he knows he has scrolled back to the beginning of the feed and can stop. Scroll, scroll, scroll, oh there’s the verse — done.
My daily writing prompt has evolved into this as well; a place holder like Cody’s Bible verse. When I see the daily writing prompt I know I’ve seen my newest news. Maybe it’s because I’m finally feeling anti-viral today; maybe it’s because I’ve recommitted to FUN as an active wellness practice or maybe because I re-introduced Peaco yesterday. Maybe it’s because the prompts seemed eerily aligned with the change of occupancy in the White House. I’m not going to work too hard to figure why but I am going to start using these prompts as more than a bookmark.
I probably won’t do it every day. I probably won’t follow the rules. I probably won’t post it anywhere but here. But I will let it be a bonafide prompt.
I will have some fun with it. I will bring the spirit of the Ugly Doll Movement back into my practice. I will lighten and brighten and share.
Write about the day he left.
Will human beings survive for much longer? Describe your version of our future.
Before today I never considered whether or not these prompts were mirroring our American politics. I never paid enough attention. It might just be a coincidence. It might just be that I’m reading a coincidence into them. I’m not inclined to go back and check but I probably will be watching from this point forward.
The cursor blinks at me. There is so much I’m holding back. That cursor blinks, waiting for me to say it all or waiting for me to keep my word and keep this fun. Because no matter how light and bright my original intentions there is truth gnawing at my belly and Peaco sees it with all three of those lidless eyes. I’m not resisting that truth but I am resisting the expression of it. Yesterday I knew I was free. I knew my freedoms were guaranteed, including my expressions. All of them. Today I am no longer sure.
Today I live in a world where the things I might write, true or not, can be wiped off the internet if someone disagrees. Access to the free exchange of ideas and opinions and academic study can be restricted with the push of a button. The words just disappear. It was the very first thing to happen yesterday. The first thing — the first lesson — the first message sent and received. They can make it disappear. Wipe it out. Delete it. Pretend it isn’t true. Americans died for this, friends. It’s no small thing. It’s everything we claim we are.
I am a writer. This is my life. My love. My wellness. My legacy. I am an American. Born of revolutionary Americans. Descendant of European immigrants and suffragist women. Daughter, sister, niece, cousin, and wife of veterans. Survivor. Believer. Patriot. The struggles of everyone who fought to make me free and died to keep me free echo in every strike of my fingers against these lettered keys. Every day of my life I’ve known that I can write my convictions, speak them, and live them freely, openly, and without fear of oppression or suppression by the government which protects me. My nation of free men and women stand with me and my right to think and speak and write in praise or in protest.
Today is the first day I’m no longer sure of that. Today is the first day I wonder how long it will be before someone makes me disappear from the internet. How far will I be allowed to go? How much will I be allowed to say? How will I know when I’ve pushed the limits of my freedom (which isn’t freedom at all) too far and risk being punished by being expunged? How is it possible that I am all of the things I wrote in the paragraph above yet I am grappling with these questions? I’m not supposed to have to fear or question any of it. And yet I am, for the first time, because today I’ve been shown how fragile and endangered my freedoms, my opportunities, my access, and my outreach really are.
Out of obligation and duty to my American heritage, I can’t be silent about that. Reconciling these issues is and will be critical to wellness, both personal and national, regardless of how badly I don’t want this blog to be political. I don’t see how I can champion wellness and ignore the fact that wellness is impacted by all of these things. My practice will have to accommodate these factors. A wellness blog will have to embrace the threats to our collective wellness if our wellness practices are to be relevant and applicable to the environment in which we practice them.
So bear with me, friends. I mean to be free. I mean to be heard. I mean to be seen. I mean to be well. I mean to live the American dream that brought women like me through every previous attempt to silence, cripple, indenture, criminalize, and enslave us. I mean to face these demons. I mean to survive them to honor the women who thought my future freedom was non-negotiable. I mean to choose in favor of a free future for generations of American women to come. If I disappear from the internet because I dared to exercise my freedoms I can just as easily disappear from the planet. How well can I be in such a reality?
We shall see.
— Maylaiy Delirious
(I miss you already)