I think all of my online friends who have heard me complain can rest assured that I’m not dying of a heart attack. It must’ve been anxiety or pleurisy because if I was dying of a heart defect — which 60% of the babies born with my genetic disorders do have, by the way — I think I would have already dropped dead. Because I just did my miles. In this heat. Up hill.
When it’s this hot, I have to do them up and down my mom’s driveway which is a little more shade and a little less of an incline than my Memaw’s — but also a bit scarier.
My grandfather always told me that the bad things (the s-words) won’t get you if you make noise before you you approach, so I have this technique.
First, I pray.
I say: “Pop, I know how much you hate laziness, so I would like to prove once and for all that your smallest grandchild has always been your toughest. But when it comes to being a “farm girl,” we all acknowledge that I’m the biggest chickenshit. So if you could keep the “bad things” at bay for me, I’d really appreciate it.”
Then, I sing.
Loud enough that when I get to the top of the hill, the neighbor sometimes looks like… “Who the f… is someone killing a cat?”
I turn my phone on speaker and blast Andra Day’s “Rise Up” as we walk or run up and down the driveway. I belt out the lyrics at the top of my lungs. And that helps me not being mentally afraid of the bad things. (Try it, fellow scaredy cats. Pop will protect you too!)
Then, when I get physically tired in the 100° heat, I say to myself in Pat Summitt voice: ” You want to go home? You want to go home, Mathis? Because you’re working out like it!”
Still in Summitt style, I say to myself: “You think Matt Kemp is going to go out with a girl whose backside sags? Let’s go, shorty! Have you seen Rihanna! Matt Kemp thinks you don’t want it! Matt Kemp thinks you don’t care!”
And when that doesn’t work, I give myself a mental Pat Summitt stare and say, “You think Clay Matthews is going to go out with a girl that’s out of shape? He’ll put your little tail on the bench!”
And just when I’m about to drop, I channel Peyton Manning and say to myself: “Well, Kenny Chesney was going to call you but he heard you just had to buy some bigger shirts.”
(Y’all remember those commercials.)
Now, that may be a form of self-hate, but it helps. (Don’t act like y’all don’t do it — how else do you get through a work out?)
Then, when I’m just about ready to die and I feel like I physically can’t go on any more, instead of tapping into the Dixie Chicks and being “Not Ready to Make Nice” and thinking about cheating boyfriends like I have in the past, I think about Donald Trump. I think of him mocking that disabled reporter and think… you know, my legs may not be much, but they work. And I’m going to run because you are not going to get the better half of me, or them, Donald Trump. I think about Maya Angelou and I think about how, like her, I — and America — will rise.
I think about all the demographics, my fellow Americans, that Donald Trump has insulted. All of the little people he knocked over (and by little people, I mean those who are still, blazingly, oppressed) that he has put down — trampled, disprespected on his rise to the “top.”
I think about how he and his hate is not going to win, and in every mile, every step, I hear Pat Summitt in my head: “Right foot, left foot, breathe.”
And I think about how though it may be tough, though it
might be a fight, though we may have a battle in November, together we will ensure that a man like that will not win.
I think about what America means.
To me. To you. To all of us.
I think about all of my Latino brothers and sisters; think about my dark-skinned brothers and sisters; my disabled brothers and sisters; my American family members that need a hand up, that need somebody to love them, that just needs somebody that cares; think of our persecuted gay and transgender fellow citizens. I think about them all. I think about what America is, what America has always been. And how, no, we’ve never had a time where we’ve been perfect — I acknowledge that. But we’re pretty damn great even when we’ve had our problems. I think most Americans concur.
Of course, I’m a white person so I can say that. If I were an African American who lived through the Vietnam era and a time of segregation and of a country that expected me to die for it without question, without so much as giving me the right to eat at a lunch counter, perhaps I wouldn’t have felt that this country was alway so “great.”
I don’t know — I can’t speak on anything but my experience — but I know that every day, regardless of our past and the sins of our fathers, we have a choice to make it better. And that better — our better selves, our better angels — is not reflected in any thing that Donald Trump stands for.
As the heat gets me and I feel like giving in,once again: Right foot, left foot, breathe. Repeat.
And before you know it, I’m done.
You will not win, Donald Trump.
You will not win with me, you will not win with America, and your brand of hate and greed and bigotry will not win in November.
I have heard, coming out of your own mouth, how “it’s really hard for short girl to be attractive, really hard for a short girl to
be a 10, ” but I can tell you this, even on my dumbest, most unattractive, and pudgiest day — I’ve always been a hell of a lot more attractive inside then you, you quesadilla-faced fucker.
Most of us have.
And disabled people have a soul that you can’t touch. Don’t you forget it.
And come this November, whether physically able or not, we are all going to rise up in an ass-kicking that you will not forget.
You will not win, you fear mongering motherf-cker. Because America has always belonged to its people, and its people are a hell of a lot better than you.
Now, watch us rise up.
Thanks, Ms Day, for the inspiration.