Alyson Camerota and Chris Cuomo are staring right at me. They are dead serious. Announcing Donald Trump is elected the 45th president of the U.S.A.
My plan was to stay up during the night, but I was down in fever and a cold and couldn’t do it. I dragged myself out of bed in the late morning and onto the couch. Put the TV on. CNN. Met by my usually energetic midday anchors. Not a smile on their face. Donald Trump is the new president-elect.
I felt like when I was watching the planes crashing into the Twin Towers. My body went into a cramp. This couldn’t be true. This is not happening. But like with the planes and the towers they ran it over and over again. Breaking news. The banner. I read it. Over and over again. And again. I cried.
The last few days I have been extremely tired. Like zombie tired. It’s the cold of course, but I am beginning to think I am having a mild PTSD light, hopefully transitory.
I know what a shock is. I have had a few. So I don’t use the word carelessly. But there on my couch I was registering the feeling of a mild shock.
I think the fact that my companions for the occasion and the day, Alyson and Chris, clearly were as horrified and stunned as I was, enhanced the feeling. We were in this together. As all the commentators and experts in the studio that day.
For three days I kept CNN on morning to lights out. I watched Hillary Clinton’s succession speech momentarily. I saw the motorcade ride for the White House with the new president-elect while it happened. I heard every reporter and expert comment during the 1,5 hours the two presidents had their first meeting in the Oval Office. I watched the photo shoot at the end of it. President Obama relaxed (as relaxed as he could be in that situation) on his turf. And Donald Trump looking pretty small and his man-spread interestingly narrow compared to Obama’s. I watched all this to be present in the moment. That’s my way of processing. And it comes with experiencing intensely.
Switching over to Swedish National Television at the end of the third evening I discovered something odd. I felt slightly uncomfortable. A little bit of anxiety out of the slower tempo and the softer voices. Abstinence. I resisted the reflex zapping back to the high energy that’s been feeding me for three days. And in a while my breathing deepened. My pulse slowed down. I felt like I landed in Umeå after sitting in Seattle traffic for some weeks.
Then the fatigue. And a feeling of being in limbo. Part of it fear and uncertainty of what this planet will turn to with the boy brought up to be a killer never admitting he is wrong at the helm of “the free world”. Part of it because I don’t really know where I am at.
Three days experiencing and processing the frightening change of history with Alyson, Chris, Wolf Blitz and the breaking breaking news has transferred me to the U.S. My mind is there. Although my body is here. I feel like I am sitting in a tiny wooden boat without ores, drifting on the open sea. Balancing tide and waves. And myself. The trick is to just sit there. Follow the movements of the water.
Here on my couch I feel a strong need for silence. It’s like those three CNN-days are still ringing in my ears. Shouting. And the message of it. Too much input. I need that silence and listening to myself to move back here. Touch ground. It’s hard though, since every day will be dramatic in this political shift and the temptation being present in that first hand information via American media will be strong.
The shocking fact that Donald Trump will be the next American president and the experience of the election has left me vulnerable. I am a soft-boiled egg without a shell. But I will try to stabilize myself with a positive future scenario. The fact that it didn’t come to a third Democratic term (which would have been historic) makes it possible for them to return in four years. And the fact that Hillary Clinton didn’t win makes the opening for a different woman to do so, which would not else be possible in a mans-age.