five senses of an american abroad

It is loud.

Disconnection isn’t an option when my “land of the free” passport links to an American identity and follows me into first conversations and introductions wherever I go.

I’m alone in a café and I’m overhearing a conversation in which the president of my country is both the topic of discussion and the butt of jokes. I am both smiling in agreeance and grimacing because of course I didn’t come to this café with no wifi to grieve for a home that looks more and more unfamiliar with each breaking news story.

But disconnection isn’t an option since November 8th, 2016.

I’m taken aback realizing how we will remember, place in the history books: “the Trump years”—although I wish we would call it something different. Perhaps the “time of white folks woking,” or the “enlightened resistance” because, um, HI HELLO—

Coretta Scott
Kimberlé Crenshaw
Alicia garza
Dorothy Hugues
Wilma Mankiller
Maxine waters

^^^THEY HAVE BEEN HARD AT WORK BEFORE THIS CLOWN CAME TO POWER. WHERE HAVE WE BEEN.

WHY WAS NOVEMBER 8th 2016: THE NIGHT. THAT WE BECAME ANGRY.

The night I stayed awake until 7am refusing the nightmare of my unregistered absentee ballot affecting global turmoil somehow becoming reality.

November 8th, 2016: the night that hate became as visible as it is visceral.

I see it in the headlines, feel it in each ardent and well-intentioned query of “How are things back home??”

The taste of populist ideals has slowly, silently permeated from Poland to France to the patriarchal GoodIrishCatholic country in which I’m sitting and writing.

I can smell the scent of misogyny’s gate left not just ajar, but wide open—leaving so large a gaping hole that others think they can also “move on her like a bitch.”

But this isn’t my nightmare of unreceived ballots. Because I am awake. This is a nightmare of no longer knowing the difference between “awake” and “alert.”

My senses are heightened.

And that is why, in a small café tucked in the west corner of Galway with no wifi, I can hear it.

It is deafening.