This is the last thing I’ll post about the 2016 Presidential Election, I promise. Because this is not a political blog. This is a blog that focuses on thoughts, feelings, and living well. But because this is a blog that focuses on those things, I have to tell you about my thoughts, feelings, and how I’m living. Well…
I have been holed up in a cave, more or less. I was scheduled to work only a few hours the day after the election and I was dreading it. I considered calling in “sick” but I knew that no one would buy that and my boss was hurting just like I was. The day was dead. Almost no one came into the store. One woman showed up. I mustered up my cheeriest voice and said, “Hi! How are you doing?” She said, “Uh… I don’t know.” And I let my face fall. I said, “Me, too.” And we just kind of looked at each other for a bit and tears welled up in both of our eyes and that was the first positive step towards healing for me. Crying with a stranger in the book store.
Later that night, my dear friends invited a beautiful group of people over to sit in the living room and eat soup and listen to records and quietly say, “what the hell just happened?” I wasn’t hungry so I just had a glass of wine and got so drunk that it wasn’t until just then that I realized I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink the entire day. I was just so numb that I didn’t realize it.
I quickly moved from not eating anything to eating everything. Crying. Drinking. Eating. Crying. Drinking. Eating. Not wearing makeup or clean clothes. Acne… in new places that I didn’t know could get acne. It was a dire situation around here. And every morning I woke up and thought, “Okay, all right, I think I’m done with this. Ready to get back in the game!” And then I would check Facebook… Oh boy. Facebook. I’ve since jumped off of Facebook in an act of radical self-care.
Here’s the thing about Facebook and the source of my gut wrenching disappointment. Judging by the people that I saw on Facebook, I didn’t think that I knew a single Trump supporter. Everyone that I knew was either posting regular Cat Memes or regular Bernie Memes. Everything was normal. No one was ever saying anything about how they thought Donald Trump had some good points. So I was feeling really good. Not until election night did I realize that it wasn’t that I didn’t know any Trump voters—it was that I didn’t know any proud Trump voters.
Well, they weren’t proud until after he won. And then after that, everyone was coming out of the woodwork and that was what I was upset about the very most. I have a tender and honest heart and it was wounded… It was wounded because people that I love cared far less about the treatment of other humans on this earth than they did about their own insurance premiums. Because they didn’t care that I or so many other women and children have been sexually assaulted—they’d rather put a predator in the seat as my protector. Because they don’t mind the promises of having our Muslim friends register according to their religion—or the talk of internment camps for them, just so long as no one threatens to take away their guns because they really like to shoot cans in their back yard on the weekends. Do I think that everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, homophobic bigot who sexually assaults people with abandon? No. I don’t. But if you voted for him—you so clearly do not mind those things.
It’s because I unknowingly lived in complete denial and then was so quickly thrust into being forced to accept it. Being called a whiny crybaby because my brain could not process all of the truth that was being displayed to me all at once. It was like I woke up on an entirely different planet and everyone was saying “get over it!”
Yesterday I spoke with a dear friend of mine who is this brilliant example of honesty in love and eloquence and celebration of others. She’s proud of her Muslim heritage and loves to celebrate it. I wondered how she, of all people right now, was able to form thoughtful and coherent statements. So, she explained to me, well, obviously she accepted that Donald Trump would win the presidency, like, a year ago or something. As did, apparently, every single other person of color that I knew. They processed all this a long time ago.
I didn’t know. I’ve come face to face with my own privilege and white fragility this past week. I’m embarrassed and humiliated and heartbroken by my ignorance and my people and what we have done.
And look… I’ve done it. I’ve holed up in my cave of humiliation and I’ve done my best to mute the triggering voices that I’ve been encountering. I’ve feasted with my best friends with dogs at our feet and kids running around. I’ve started eating vegetables and drinking water again. I got coffee with my group of Feminist women. I cried through the cold open of SNL and laughed generously through the rest of it and I think I’m healed—or almost there. I’m not licking my wounds any longer, anyway. I know that much. I’m not jumping on Facebook right away just yet, though. I’m not a masochist.
What I’m saying is that some good has come out of this dumpster fire election for me, personally:
-I’m awake, now. I could have done more but I didn’t because I thought my side of the street was clean.
-I’ve come face to face with the reality that there is a sickness in America that made people think that this man was a good choice. Donald Trump isn’t the problem with America. He’s a big, looming, festering, symptom of our problems. We need to get to the root of what could possibly compel so many people to think that this was the right thing to do. This problem was here long before Trump was.
-And more than anything else, I’ve realized that I can’t rest on my laurels. Whether Trump or Hillary won this election, there would still be problems here in our land. Problems that I’m capable of helping out. Would I feel compelled to donate my money or talents to organizations or people who could use them if Hillary was the President-Elect right now? I promise you, I would not at all. But I can help and I know it, now. I’m ignited. I won’t just sit here in my cave for the next four years only to pop my head out on election day. We’re going to do the work.
Make no mistake, just because I’m desperately looking for the bright side doesn’t mean that those of you who voted for Trump did me or anyone else a single favor. But what more can we do but pick up, dust ourselves off, and serve?
In the coming months, I’m going to figure out ways that this community here can not only help to keep me accountable to my promise but to get involved as a group. Maybe this will involve some local meetups? I’m really not sure but this is real and it’s happening and if you’re on board and/ or you have ideas, you have to let me know. It’s important. ❤
I love you all. No matter who you voted for, I do so desperately love you. I understand if you’re not crazy about me, though, right now.
In the mean time, if you’re dying to help out here are a few resources that you might find helpful.
7 Things Millennials Can Do To Set Our Country on a Better Path (Bustle)
Where to Spend Your Money Today (Racked)
Call out racism every time you encounter it (this isn’t an article, I just need you to start doing it).
A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support (Jezebel)