Amidst the confusion, and despair, and disbelief, it was suggested to me by a very close friend of mine (I won’t say her name, to protect her identity) (Ann. It was Ann) that perhaps a few people would enjoy hearing my thoughts on this election. So I sat down at my computer, cleared my head, and opened a document. Then I started crying. So I had some hot chocolate, and my close friend (Ann) rubbed my back for a while, and I got myself together, and sat down. And started crying. Then more Ann comforting me, and more hot chocolate, and back and forth like that for about six hours or so, the chain of hot-chocolate-and-back-rubs only interrupted briefly when I had to run to the store for more hot chocolate packets (“Just give me all of them, all the boxes,” I remember saying, through tears, to a very scared stockroom boy) and now I am ready to go.
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher Mrs. Kolphner taught us a social studies lesson. The seventeen students in our class were introduced to two fictional candidates: a smart if slightly bookish-looking cartoon tortoise named Greenie, and a cool-looking jaguar named Speedy. Rick Dissellio read a speech from Speedy, in which he promised that if elected he would end school early, have extra recess, and provide endless lunches of chocolate pizzandy. (A local Pawnee delicacy at the time — deep fried pizza where the crust was candy bars.) Then I read a speech from Greenie, who promised to go slow and steady, think about the problems of our school, and try her best to solve them in a way that would benefit the most people. Then Mrs. Kolphner had us vote on who should be Class President.
I think you know where this is going.
Except you don’t, because before we voted, Greg Laresque asked if he could nominate a third candidate, and Mrs. Kolphner said “Sure! The essence of democracy is that everyone—” and Greg cut her off and said “I nominate a T. rex named Dr. Farts who wears sunglasses and plays the saxophone, and his plan is to fart as much as possible and eat all the teachers,” and everyone laughed, and before Mrs. Kolphner could blink, Dr. Farts the T. rex had been elected President of Pawnee Elementary School in a 1984 Reagan-esque landslide, with my one vote for Greenie the Tortoise playing the role of “Minnesota.”
After class I was inconsolable. Once all the other kids left, Mrs. Kolphner came over and put her arm around me. She told me I had done a great job advocating for Greenie the Tortoise. Through tears I remember saying, “How good, exactly?” and she said “Very very good,” and I said, “Good enough to—?” and she sighed and went to her desk to get one of the silver stars she gave out to kids who did a good job on something, and as I tearfully added it to my Silver Star Diary she asked me what upset me the most.
“Greenie was the better candidate,” I said. “Greenie should have won.”
“I suppose that was the point of the lesson,” I said.
“Oh no,” she said. “The point of the lesson is: people are unpredictable, and democracy is insane.”
Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried.” That is perhaps a pithier and better way to get my point across, than that long anecdote about Mrs. Kolphner. Should I just erase all of that and start with this? Whatever. I’m pot-committed now, and is there extra caffeine in that hot chocolate? Because my head feels like a spaceship. The point is: people making their own decisions is, on balance, better than an autocrat making decisions for them. It’s just that sometimes those decisions are bad, or self-defeating, or maddening, and a day where you get dressed up in your best victory pantsuit and spend an ungodly amount of money decorating your house with American flags and custom-made cardboard-cutouts of suffragettes in anticipation of a glass-ceiling-shattering historical milestone ends with you getting (metaphorically) eaten by a giant farting T. rex.
Like most people, I deal with tragedy by processing the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. My denial over the election results was intense. My anger was (in Ron’s words) “significant.” My bargaining was short, but creative — I offered my soul and the souls of all of my friends in exchange for 60,000 more votes in Milwaukee, to any demon who cared to accept. (Tom told me it was a terrible deal, but I didn’t care, in that moment.) My depression I have already mentioned. Which brings us to Acceptance. And here’s what I stand on that:
No. I do not accept it.
I acknowledge that Donald Trump is the President. I understand, intellectually, that he won the election. But I do not accept that our country has descended into the hatred-swirled slop pile that he lives in. I reject out of hand the notion that we have thrown up our hands and succumbed to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and crypto-fascism. I do not accept that. I reject that. I fight that. Today, and tomorrow, and every day until the next election, I reject and fight that story. I work hard and I form ideas and I meet and talk to other people who feel like me, and we sit down and drink hot chocolate (I have plenty) and we plan. We plan like mofos. We figure out how to fight back, and do good in this infuriating world that constantly wants to bend toward the bad. And we will be kind to each other, and supportive of each other’s ideas, and we will do literally anything but accept this as our fate.
And let me say something to the young girls who are reading this. Hi, girls. On behalf of the grown-ups of America who care about you and your futures, I am awfully sorry about how miserably we screwed this up. We elected a giant farting T. rex who does not like you, or care about you, or think about you, unless he is scanning your bodies with his creepy T. rex eyes, or trying to physically grab you like a toy his daddy got him (or would have, if his daddy had loved him). (Sorry, that was a low blow.) (Actually, not sorry, I’m pissed, and I’m on a roll, so zip it, super-ego!) Our President-Elect is everything you should abhor, and fear, in a male role model. He has spent his life telling you, and girls and women like you, that your lives are valueless except as sexual objects. He has demeaned you, and belittled you, and put you in a little box to be looked at and not heard. It is your job, and the job of girls and women like you, to bust out.
You are going to run this country, and this world, very soon. So you will not listen to this man, or the 75-year-old, doughy-faced, gray-haired nightmare men like him, when they try to tell you where to stand or how to behave or what you can and cannot do with your own bodies, or what you should or should not think with your own minds. You will not be cowed or discouraged by his stream of retrogressive babble. You won’t have time to be cowed, because you will be too busy working and learning and communing with other girls and women like you, and when the time comes you will effortlessly flick away his miserable, petty misogynistic worldview like a fly on your picnic potato salad.
He is the present, sadly, but he is not the future. You are the future. Your strength is a million times his. Your power is a billion times his. We will acknowledge this result, but we will not accept it. We will overcome it, and we will defeat it.
Warnings: heavy mentions of sexual abuse. some fluff at the end.
Disclaimer: I know many fic writers do not write things like this and I myself would not normally write something like this. However, this was written for me by me to help not only wrap my mind around what I have experienced in the relationship I was just in, but to also make me feel as if I’m not alone and I have people to lean on (which I do not in real life because my now ex-boyfriend made me give them all up.)
All credit goes to Marvel.
She sat on the edge of
her bed, knees pressed to her chest as she stared out at the night sky from her
window. The moonlight did little to illuminate her room, the darkness masking
Steve’s shadow as he stood in her doorway. He watched her, waiting. He knew
this was wrong, but he didn’t believe that she was keeping it together as well
as she claimed to. Her shoulders raised in what looked like a sob, and as Steve
was getting ready to rush into action and console her, she let out a long
breath, dropping her head back and lolling it around in a stretch. Steve
pressed his lips together in a firm line, before exiting the room, quietly
closing the door on his way out.
Y/N bit her lip to remain
as silent as possible until she was sure Steve was out of ear-shot. That’s the thing about him- when he’s not on
a mission, when their lives weren’t on the line, he wasn’t stealthy. At all.
The dark might have masked the shadow, but his reflection in the window was
Sighing, which she seemed
to be doing a lot of lately, she crawled into bed, Bucky’s sweatpants and a
t-shirt he had brought home for her after a simple mission covered her body,
but she still felt uncomfortably exposed, even after tucking the blankets as
close to her body as possible. She checked her phone, hoping to see at least
one text message from an old friend, but nothing. She shoved it off the bed and
it hit the ground with a loud thud. Burying her head in her pillow, she tried a
million different things to distract her of what he had done to her and her
life, but no dice. He was all she could think about.
She felt betrayed. She
felt violated. She felt hurt. But most of all, she felt dirty. It seemed like
all she had been doing lately was taking showers, hoping that somehow it would
wash away the mental scars she had been harboring.
While she was happy and
proud of herself for getting out of the relationship, she wished she had gotten
out of it before this happened. Or in this case, before the past 6 months
happened. She itched at her skin when her skin crawled at the thought of him
touching her again.
She nearly jumped out of
bed at the overwhelming thoughts and began pacing around her room quickly, as
if she was looking for something. Her hands went up to her ears and she could
feel a scream coming on and she bit the insides of her cheeks to suppress it.
She dropped to the floor, bent over with her face to the ground as she willed
the memories to die off. Her whole body felt the pain of the thoughts radiating
Sniffling, she pushed
herself off the ground and onto her feet, wrapping her blanket tightly around
her. She walked out into the hall where all of her team’s bedroom doors were. 10 doors, 5 on the left, 5 on the right. On the left was Bruce’s, yours, Nat’s, Clint’s,
and Bucky’s. The right was Steve’s, Sam’s, Thor’s, Tony’s, and Wanda’s.
Y/N knew that her team
had opened up an “open-door” policy where she could come in any time of any
night if she couldn’t sleep. Usually, she’d sleep with Bucky or Wanda. But
tonight, she felt so lost in her own thoughts that she couldn’t even decide
that. She looked sadly at each door, tears forming in her eyes out of pure
exhaustion. It was only one in the morning, an early night for the Avengers,
but tonight, they were all snug in bed, sleeping blissfully, and Y/N envied
them. Not being able to decide and certainly not wanting to go back to her
room, she plopped onto the hallway floor in between Nat and Clint’s doors.
Using the fluffed up
corner of her blanket as a pillow and the rest of it to keep her warm, she
forced herself to close her eyes and slowly but surely drift off to sleep.
30 minutes later found
Sam and Bucky walking back from an evening sparring session, laughing quietly
to each other as they entered the living hall. Sam was the first one to stop
when he saw Y/N sleeping, her back pressed as close to the wall as possible and
using a portion of her blanket as a pillow. Bucky stopped second and they
looked at each other, knowing what this was about. He went to approach her, but
Sam reached his hand out, putting it against Bucky’s chest to stop him from
getting closer. “I think she’s saying something.” Bucky gave Sam a look and
pushed his hand off, slowly getting closer until he was kneeling next to her.
He leaned in closer and as soon as he heard the words rolling loosely off her
lips, he sat back, looking at Sam with a look that said it all.
Sam followed Bucky, and
he felt his heart break. She was repeating, “ruined” like a broken record. Bucky
pursed his lips together and put his arms out, ready to grab her and take her
back to bed with him, but Sam stopped him.
“I have a better idea.”
The next morning, Y/N
quickly felt all the bones in her body hating her for sleeping on the floor
before she had even opened her eyes. She turned to roll over and face the wall
when she heard snoring coming from next to her head. She peeked one eye open,
And that was when she saw
Each and every Avenger,
including Vision, were positioned like a Tetris board beside her. Each in their
own sleeping bag and pajamas.
Steve Rogers, kissing Tony Stark directly on his arc reactor each and every night, fingers tracing the scars that surround it in such a delicate and gentle caress that Tony is just rendered speechless every single time at how Steve can love that part of him so deeply and intimately.
He asks Steve about it- one day. About how he does it.
Steve just smiles against the glass casing and whispers into the scarred, battle-worn skin;
“Because it is a part of you- so how could I ever not love it?”
And that’s all he says, before coming up to kiss the tip of his nose and pull him into his chest so they can sleep, fingers never leaving their place on Tony’s reactor.