There’s a necessary grieving period after certain elections. There’s nothing like conservatives winning an “unwinnable” election to remind you of your priorities, values and hopes. But it can take a bit of time before you’re ready to take action.
I found myself suffering from an election hangover that lasted for a week with no alcohol or illegal drugs involved. I got sick and had to take time off. I listened to a lot of Kate Bush, Lizzo, Halsey, Taylor Swift and Kanye West, and hugged my wife and our dogs.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the ‘hangover’.
It could have been the Tweets about the multiple self-harm and suicide attempts amongst refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru since the election. Alternatively, it could have been hearing from friends about their children’s terror – about climate catastrophe, about their safety, about their futures. Maybe it was hearing the fears of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people of colour, queer people, transgender and gender diverse people, poor people, women, and those from other marginalised communities. Maybe it was reading about some people’s total disregard for human rights and animal rights.
I’m not ‘over’ my hangover but I am ready to show up again, as an activist and as a writer.
I returned to my manuscript of the memoir I have been working on for a few years. It has changed so much in that time. Even though I wanted to have a published book earlier, I realise now that it wasn’t time yet. There’s a lot that I can add now and can explore with more complexity. It’s a book about mental illness, the gender binary and queer identity. All of these issues have a lot at stake as the popularity of far-right and fascist politics grows.
It’s also time to return to freelance writing about political issues. I don’t even know where to begin – there are so many issues to address – but I suppose I can start anywhere.
At the moment, I’m writing, editing, thinking and plotting with a fresh and furious post-election lens.
Ultimately, I’m ready for action, even though I’m tired and sick (and sick and tired). Who’s with me?