Illustration by Alia Wilhelm.

Dear Rookies,

I, perhaps like you, continue to feel sad and drained about living under this leadership that disregards truth, attempts to warp reality, sanctions white supremacy and white nationalism, denies not just responsibility for but the fact of its citizens’ deaths in a natural disaster to which it failed to respond, and, among so many more cruelties, watches a poised, credible, even apologetically sincere woman share and relive the trauma of her sexual assault, and then rejects her truth in favor of a partisan agenda and male self-preservation. I’m very grateful to be around people who also watched Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony and saw an entitled, evasive, screaming head that already has way too much power, but I know that I am lucky. I don’t know how I would have coped a few years ago, when I was still in high school, if I was hearing that what happened at this high school party was standard high school party stuff, or boys just being boys. And if I was going to school—or work, or family dinner—with people who defended him, or had committed the same kind of violence.

Although I wish she had been given no reason to testify in the first place, I keep thinking back, in awe, to Dr. Ford’s bravery and integrity. I keep going back to the fact that calls to a national hotline for victims of sexual assault spiked 201% during her testimony. I keep thinking of this lecture by Adrienne Rich: “When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her.” And this essay by Audre Lorde: “I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. And it was the concern and caring of all those women which gave me strength and enabled me to scrutinize the essentials of my living.”

If you don’t have that support system right now, I am sorry. If the last few weeks have forced you to relive your own trauma; if you’re weathering the loneliness and fear of being in a community that does not understand: You are not alone. I see you. This community sees you. Your support system is out there, and you will find each other. That is a very real possibility, and it can create very real change—in you, and in the world.

Our theme this month is Spirit. We’re thinking and talking about passion, teamwork, fighting for what we believe in, hard work, burnout, rejuvenation, and taking care of our souls. This is a playlist I recently made for myself, of songs that name a certain despair but awaken my feelings and, at the end there, give me some hope.

I want to know what does that for you. Send us your artwork, photography, collages, illustrations, writing, poems, short stories, all of it… here. Thank you for doing that, and, as always, for being here.
Love, love, love,