Welcome to this week’s Friday Open Thread, y’all. It’s my first time hosting the Friday Open Thread as an Autostraddle staffer and it feels a bit like the first time my parents gave me the keys to their car. It’s both really exciting and slightly anxiety inducing at the same time. But we got through another week together, so this should be a piece of cake, right?
This week was a bit of a rollercoaster wasn’t it? It started out so great, with the unveiling of the Obamas’ portraits at the National Portrait Gallery. Watching Michelle Obama get a verklempt over the fact that her portrait — a portrait of a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago — would adorn the walls of that majestic space was just too perfect. And then, watching President Obama unveil his portrait…and all he could do at that historic moment is stare at Amy Sherald’s amazing portrait of his beloved…it warmed my heart. Despite having lived with their leadership for eight years, the new ways that the Obamas continue to expand the American imagination continues to astound me.
But then the rollercoaster took a steep, steep nosedive. I swear, it’s been over a year and I’m still astounded by the ways in which this administration continues to lower the bar on common decency. This week, we were reminded that this White House does not care about women and coddles abusers. This week we learned that there are 120+ people that work in this White House that don’t have necessary clearances. This week we were reminded that this White House (and its Department of Education) hate trans students. Oh, and that $130k check to Stormy Daniels a month before the election? It was from 45’s lawyer?!
Then we hit Wednesday and the rollercoaster rebounded. It was Valentine’s Day and there was just so much love being shared. Even for a cynic like me, it’s hard not to be touched by all the beautiful displays of love.
But later that day comes news out of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 17 people went to school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, full of the hope and promise that only Valentine’s Day can bring, and didn’t come home to their friends and families. Their names are Carmen, Aaron, Martin, Scott, Nicholas, Gina, Alyssa, Luke, Meadow, Alex, Helena, Peter, Chris, Jaime, Joaquin, Alaina and Cara.
We’re just seven weeks into the New Year and this is the eighth deadly school shooting. EIGHT IN SEVEN WEEKS. Now we begin the cycle:
Step 1. Send your thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families.
Step 2. Shut down any talk of gun control by suggesting that people are politicizing the deaths.
Step 3. After sufficient time has past, talk about how we need mental health care reform, not more gun laws.
Step 4. Do nothing about gun control or mental health care reform.
Step 5. Rinse and repeat.
Having this space, after something like that happens…I feel like I should say something profound…but the words elude me. I don’t know why we live in a society that thinks that the blood of those kids is an acceptable price so someone can walk around with an assault weapon. I just don’t know.
What I do know, though, is that we’ve made it to the weekend. As crazy as this week was, we made it and that’s something worth celebrating. So let’s do it, let’s celebrate that we’re still here.
Black Panther is finally hitting theaters this weekend and I’m thrilled. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for the better part of a year and I’ve got my opening night tickets, my Moviepass card for additional showings and a big purse to sneak in snacks like Penelope from One Day at a Time. I’m so excited to see this unapologetic celebration of blackness and all its multitudes and, even moreso, to see it all through the eyes of my nephews. I want them to see themselves as heroes, if only for a few hours.
What are your plans to celebrate this weekend? Did you opt to avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds and decide to push your lovefest back until the weekend? What have you got planned? Whatever it is, do me a favor and just enjoy it. This week was a rollercoaster, next week probably will be too, so just take whatever moments of joy life offers you and savor it. You’re amazing and you deserve it.
And should the someone pop up and try to steal your joy, just quote the wise words of Bianca Del Rio from RuPaul’s Drag Race: “Not today Satan, not today.”
How To Post A Photo In The Comments:
Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL” and then…
code it in to your comment like so:
How To Post A Video In The Comments, Too:
Find a video on YouTube, copy the URL, and paste the link on its own separate line in your comment. You no longer need to use the “embed” code!