The Portland Phoenix

Unpacking the Sausage: I spent election night the right way

I spent election night holed up at a resort in the middle of the country doing drugs in a cuddle-puddle of blue-check queers.

It’s a very tender group of people, deeply concerned with making sure each of us feels supported and cherished. A dear heart I’ve known over half my life and their partner organized the trip. Even though I hadn’t been on a plane since 2019, something in my heart told me I couldn’t miss it.

We got here late Sunday night and had been feeling each other out for a few days, the whole group having interacted mostly-to-entirely online prior to the trip. I had planned to pretend the election wasn’t happening in the name of having a good day but, like every other political masochist, that resolution lasted until I got the notification saying the Maine polls had closed. Unlike most of the poor souls abusing themselves on Tuesday night however, I only sat there refreshing my phone until the drugs took effect.

Then it didn’t matter anymore.

For a few blissful hours, I was mostly able to step away from the world outside the little townhouse living room we’d packed with pillows. My recent health struggles forced me to spend the first hour and a half of psychedelia reckoning with the precariousness of existing as an immunocompromised person as the pandemic wears on. Then I stood up and realized my legs felt like they’d been animated by Dr. Seuss.

Once the giggles started, the acceptance followed. I hope you’ll forgive me the self-indulgence of transcribing my chicken scratch as I sit here on a fold out couch, listening to Joni Mitchell’s “Court and Spark” at 5:40 in the evening while everyone slowly wakes up from the shared dream:

Death is not an ending. Death is not a deadline. If you live every day as though the next one is only a reasonably good bet, the grip on the mortal coil loosens and you might find that you can unclench.

Love everyone you can, as much as you can, as soon as you can. You won’t regret that.

Avoidance of regret is, itself, such a cute little bit of cognitive dissonance, though. Regret cannot exist once these cells cease the tenuous agreement they’ve made to act in concert as “me” for a while.

You are doing the best you can in each moment and it is enough because it has to be. We can try and flow in the direction of what looks like growth, but ultimately don’t forget that it’s a current.


You will never drink in the whole sea. No one is meant to.

Typing this out, I feel a small flash of embarrassment. None of this is new ground. Anyone who’s ever brought an open heart and a ready mind to sordid potions in search of clarity has heard it all before. Take it slow, go with the flow, don’t let the world drag you under. Be gentle with yourself and others. I’m well aware how cliche it sounds.

Things become cliche for a reason, though. Humans share a language of words, but also of ideas and gestures and sensations. The familiarity and comfort that comes with being reminded of seemingly obvious truths may not yield earth-shattering revelations, but I don’t think that necessarily makes it less worthwhile. The election didn’t yield any earth-shattering changes, but I’m pretty sure people all over the country are busy spilling enough ink about it to drown a fish right now.  The fish probably has some opinions about that too.

And here I am, the last notes of “Twisted” flowing out of my phone as I tap my thumbs on the keyboard to tell you about my silly little trip with my silly little friends. I guess I could have written about the election, but I feel certain I’m happier for not having done so.

I’ll bet you are too.

Bre Kidman is an artist, activist, and attorney (in that order), and the first openly non-binary person in history to run for the U.S. Senate. They would be delighted to hear your thoughts on the political industrial complex at

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