Hello friends. It's been a while. In this post-election time period, I found myself hungry for a place to really express how I feel. Then I remembered this blog. It's going to be a long one; it may make some of you upset. That last part is not my intention. I just need to write it all out. Here goes. TL;DR version: I love all of you, and together we can be the light.
It's hard to know what to say when reality is still setting in. In the back of my mind, I had an inkling that the unthinkable could happen, that Donald Trump would be elected President. When it was actually happening, when the maps were turning red before my eyes, I couldn't take it in. It's November 11, Veteran's Day. 4 days post election. The Obamas will be in the White House until January 20. It still feels surreal. Though things are happening already as a result, there are still tons of unknowns (as there would be with any President) so it's hard to articulate.
It's hard to know what to say as a cis-gendered, hetero, white, Christian, educated, female. That last one puts me into one of the marginalized categories, but my day-to-day life hasn't been affected directly- at least not yet. When scrolling through the feed and seeing my PoC, LGBTQ, Muslim friends posting statuses that truly reflect their deep fear, what do I say? How can I, as privileged person, say the right thing? Other statuses claim that messages of love aren't enough, that action is required, a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly but makes me feel as though my expression of love is trite and unimportant. Perhaps there is no 'right' thing to say, as 'right' is dependent on each person's experience and definition. I understand my privilege, but that doesn't mean I don't also fear about access to healthcare or men thinking they are entitled to touch my body because they are simply mirroring actions of their Commander in Chief. Still, finding the words without continuing to marginalize, offend, or other wise make people feel uncomfortable is no easy feat.
It's hard to know what to say when friends whom you hold dear are on a different side. I hesitate to say 'the other side,' because that implies I truly think I am right and they are wrong. This is not the case. Disagreement and the right to vote and make one's voice heard is granted to us by virtue of the Democratic nation in which we reside. I've always enjoyed healthy debate and dialogue. To quote a friend of mine who I won't name here: "If we all had the same opinions this country would go nowhere and would be boring as hell." Truth, all of that. Again, however, it's hard to reconcile those truths against the vile, bigoted, misogynistic things Trump has said and done. Some have called for us to disown friends and family who support such a monster. How could I? How can I find the words to say how hurt I feel that they would vote for someone who so obviously doesn't care about people (and in a very dangerous way) but also that I won't abandon them? Silence will get us nowhere; I'd rather keep the conversation going. My friendships are strong enough that I can express my fear, my feelings, my disappointment in the state of affairs without damaging the relationship. We are NOT who we vote for. Certainly, if someone close to me committed a violent, bigoted act against another, that would be grounds to sever the relationship (indeed, I have done this already) but until and unless this happens, I remain connected to those who think differently and hope the words I do find don't perpetuate damage and division.
It's hard to know what to say when social media blows up with sadness, anger, and fear and you feel like you must say nothing and everything simultaneously. When staying silent seems wrong, but calling people out does too; when your opinion will always be picked apart. When it's easier to unfollow and hide things from the feed than it is to engage because you want to protect relationships and your own sanity. When that move is called cowardly. How do we speak, what do we say? Saying nothing is saying something, too.
It's hard to know what to say when you're hurting for an unrelated reason, and when you fear that talking about it will seem like trite compared to the struggles of others. On election day, right before the returns started coming in, I found out my 29 year old friend with breast cancer died. She had 3 children under 5 and a loving fiance. She couldn't fight off the pneumonia that sent her to the hospital at the end of the prior week. She is the 3rd friend of mine to die in as many years. I watched the returns that night thinking that hope and light would prevail, only to realize that I'd have two emotional blows that night. How can I find the words to articulate my feelings effectively when I just want to shout "STOP TALKING ABOUT THE ELECTION MY FRIEND DIED AND WE ARE ALL STILL ALIVE AND I FEEL GUILTY FOR COMPLAINING." It's hard to know what to say to her friends and family, who I am sure couldn't care less about who is occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave this January but feel their sadness overshadowed.
It's hard to know what to say when you are a chronic optimist (and when being so has literally saved your life) and you just want everyone to love each other and get along. When you want to smile and joke and laugh and bicker with those who think differently because human relationships fulfill you and the weight of the world is already heavy and dark and you want to be its light. It's hard to explain that I feel there is a silver lining even to this series of events (that this may be the catalyst needed for a true political revolution), that you need to find this lining because you need some hope to cling to. Being light on the subject doesn't mean I don't care; on the contrary, I care deeply and want to bring joy to those around me.
The irony of this post is not lost on me; I know I've used a lot of words to describe how hard it is to articulate my feelings. And truthfully, in writing this, I feel as though none of it is the right thing to say, and I worry that I've offended someone. If that is the case, I am sorry, but please feel you can talk to be about it. Come to think of it, anyone can talk to me about anything. I embrace all people the same; real talk is always welcome. Even if we disagree, if you are not directly harming, we can remain friends and I will hug you and we will continue forward. I legitimately love all of you, I am a safe space, and a beacon of hope.