Monday, January 23, 2017

Field Notes: Inauguration Day

by Teresa Leggard

19 January 2017


This marks the last day that Barak Obama is president of the United States of

America. I do not feel well. I will not yet go so far as to say that the impending

inauguration is making me sick. I feel sad, uneasy, and responsible.


Resist. Fight so hard that there is no time or room for fear.


20 January 2017


Woke to a voicemail:

The best retaliation against an oligarchic, fascist regime like the one we’re entering

now . . . educate; don’t medicate; get clean; get smart . . . Resist.


On this auspicious day in 2008, I was working with a different team, on a different

floor. In a large common room with sparse, bright furniture and concrete floors, a

television was tuned in to live coverage in Washington, DC. It was so cold. I

remember seeing red noses on the screen, eyes wet from wind chill and raw feeling.

I sat there, maybe the only brown person in the room at the time, and I felt my skin

gave me a kinship with the new commander-in- chief. In my mind this kinship made

me closer to him than any other American in that room watching with me. I was

hopeful that after having the 2004 election stolen in broad daylight—like being

stuck-up at an ATM—the country had a leader we actually endorsed.


21 January 2017

Today validated my decision to seek out a woman of color as my therapist. More

than half the session was about—I’m still working up to using the name. I told her

that in addition to my regular concerns, I’m now thinking about expediting my

passport application (I’m kicking myself for ever letting it expire in the first place);

what I have in liquid assets on any given day; how quickly I can get to my family and

should I just move back to be near them; how much can I afford to pay out-of- pocket

for health insurance. I told her I’ve started learning self-defense.


I was verbally harassed while walking to my car. And sure, it could have been any

Wednesday. And sure, these two vagrants probably were drunk any day of the week,

but the alignment of it all—on top of reports of increased numbers of hate

crimes—was too much not to take notice.


I stood talking to some classmates the Saturday after the election. One said his

consolation to his students, many of who were immigrants, was that American

politics goes in waves and sooner or later this current wretched state would pass.

“The trick is,” I tell him, “you have to survive at least the next 4 years.”

Teresa Leggard is a New York-born, Jersey-raised, Midwest transplant. She’s a writer, editor, poet, playwright, and recovering procrastinator. You can’t really find her online except for here and the occasional tweet at @LeggardTM, but if you’re in Kansas City she might be at The Writers Place ( One day she's determined to find out "Where Brooklyn at?"


  1. Awesome piece Teresa! There is no doubt that many people felt the way you did that day and the days after.

  2. Masterful! Really nothing more can be said...CgN