I’ve cried a lot in the last thirty or so hours. In the shower. On the phone with my mother. When I wake up in the middle of the night.
Maybe you didn’t feel that bad Tuesday night when Trump was elected to the highest office in this land, but if you read this website, I don’t know how that could be possible.
The three of us who founded this site are black (the ones Trump said lived in hell) and women (the ones Trump grabbed by their pussies). And though none of us are Muslim or immigrants or disabled, we all have friends and live in city centers surrounded by the kind of diversity Trump and his campaign reviled.
I have cried because I am terrified of what the next four years mean for me, my family, my partner, and my community of not just people of color, but artists and activists. How can you trust a person who has denigrated the vision of the world you believe in and who you are? I don’t know how to feel safe in a place with millions of people who chose to elect that person, who believed in or gave in (and the two are one in the same to me) to a level of racism I knew wasn’t gone, but perhaps naively did not expect to see so gleeful a return to on a policy level. I know there are many places in this country where I am not welcome, where the WHITES ONLY sign is metaphorical, but until now has not been physical. Oh, but who knows what 2017 will bring!
But in the week or so preceding election night, I has also been thinking about how I could live a life more concerned with the internal. I’m an introvert so I already believe in introspection. Instead, I mean not allowing what happens to me to determine how I feel about myself.
Last week, I found out I was a finalist for a book prize and also was rejected for a fellowship. Same week, but it was easier for me to take on sadness of the one and harder to let myself feel the joy of the other. I didn’t want to stop myself from feeling what I felt, I just wanted to find equilibrium.
Balance seems even harder this week, to let myself feel this sadness, but also not let these next four years be nothing but sadness.
So, when you have been knocked down, when the external feels like it’s eating up all of your insides, how do you rebuild?
Take Care of Yourself.
I’m not even sure I knew the term self-care before a few years ago, but I sure believe in it. Yesterday, I danced to Stevie Wonder, watched Samantha Bee, and meditated. If you haven’t shown yourself some kindness, here are some ideas. And some of these election fatigue tips from Juliette are still excellent post-election. Self-care on top of self-care is a good thing.
Do What You Can And No More.
Protests were happening last night in many cities around the country. Maybe you were out there, I wasn’t at the one in Chicago. I liked the idea of doing something with all of these feelings I have, walking with others who felt the same way even knowing it had no effect on the result of the elections. I also realized that dancing in my apartment was doing something and that night it was the most I could do.
Remember Your Values.
If this election has sparked a desire for activism in you, great. As others have written, the fight goes far beyond the ballot, but it would be easy in these early moments to say you’re going to do something and then do nothing. Some argue that this presidency might be not as bad as people anticipate and it is easy for any one to become accustomed to a bad situation. Ever stayed too long at a terrible work situation or continued to date a jerk? Me too. Motivation cannot be relied on, but values can. What do you hope this world will look like in four years? Not what you think it might given the climate, but what you actually want it to look like. Got some things in mind? Perfect, now figure out what you need to do to make that vision happen.
Find and Build Community.
With those ideas in mind and your self cared for and in balance, find or return to your community of women, of artists, of queer folk and their allies, of cocktail makers, of eggs Benedict lovers, of prison industrial complex fighters, of a cross section of it all. And if you don’t have the community or can’t find the community, how can you build it? A Facebook message and a coffee shop may be enough of a beginning and there is no telling where that could lead.
When I posted earlier this year about Trump, I did so with tongue firmly in cheek, like so firmly it was sutured because I didn’t believe he would win. I thought Hillary would ultimately triumph. Well, joke’s on me. And also, strangely, I take hope that if a man only driven by impulses, who blundered at every turn, can pull off this stunning victory, victories of worth can also be had. He has that money and that white male privilege, that’s old school. We’ve got each other, a changing world, and four years.
Let’s go do this.