On Wednesday night, I had a dream.
In the dream, I was washing my hands. I looked up into the mirror, and was horrified by what I saw.
Half of my face was the same as it always was. But the other half had dramatically changed. My skin had ripped apart, showing the disease underneath. Green lines of toxic tissue oozed fluid and pulsed with every heartbeat. Part of my flesh had torn off, and all I could see underneath was utter darkness, a deep and dense void. I felt visceral disgust at my appearance. I don’t remember which was worse, my rotting face or the emptiness underneath. Someone had smashed my face in, and revealed the ugliness within.
I told a friend about my dream, and she pointed out that it carried parallels with our current political climate. The election punched a hole in our body politic, revealing the hatred, violence, and destruction within. Those things are not new; they have been there for a long time. Those things were not made known only in this election; other events have revealed these factors before. But this election was a particularly powerful blow to our image of ourselves.
People say that we’ve never been this divided. But I don’t know if that’s true. I wonder if we’ve always been this divided, but now we’re being honest.
There’s a saying I heard from my counseling class: “You can’t heal what you can’t feel.” I know the rhyming is cheesy, but it’s easy to remember. Until healing can begin, you need to recognize that the hurt exists. Maybe this is just that kind of moment.