Up and At ‘Em

This morning I woke up and cried. I didn’t think I would, but the tears just leaked out.

I looked around my bedroom; everything looked the same but felt different. My alarm rang, my unknowing, orange tabby curled in a ball at my feet. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in feeling this as my facebook newsfeed is packed with broken hearted friends. I know I’m preaching to the choir. I don’t know what else to do in this moment.

My sadness quickly turned to anger. I got angry because I imagined a gloating, laughing Trump pointing his stubby fingers in my face, making fun of my (our) despair.

Earlier yesterday, my whole being vibrated with conviction that history would be made and Hillary Clinton would become the President of the United States. I felt extremely proud to vote for her. I had the privilege of seeing her speak a few weeks go. I stood in the long line, I wore a button and stood right behind her as she spoke about her vision for this country. I teared up then, too. Tears full of hope, pride, and anticipation for what’s to come. It goes beyond her gender, values, and emails. She has spent her entire life in a boxing ring punching and kicking her way through some epic bullshit, cobwebs and glass ceilings. And despite tons of hatred toward her, I’m with her. I’m for her vision of an America that emanates progress, tolerance, and kindness.

It’s easy to point fingers. It’s easy to blame the non-voters, and the protest-voters. It’s easy for me to get mad. But this is the way it turned out.

I pulled myself away from my computer screen for some fresh air. I’ve been sick for a few days and decided to drag my butt out of bed and trudge to the pharmacy. There was a surprising number of people in line ahead of me, also sick. We all waited in silence. I’m usually one to smile at or acknowledge each person I come across, but I had a hard time even making eye contact. I couldn’t tell if I felt so dismal because of my respiratory infection or because the world feels as though it too is squashing my chest.

I got my antibiotics and headed back home. As I pulled into the parking lot, a neighbor waved at me; I waved back, but I felt so far away. I don’t know about you, but I’m longing for connection. I checked my phone and read messages from friends and family. My sister woke up, held her baby and cried. Some friends are pissed and raging and others whom I idolize are defeated and depressed. My friends who are labeled “other” based on their skin, identity, and religion are scared for their safety and their pursuit of happiness. Others, including myself are worried about humanity as well as the planet. My heart hurts for all of these people. And I’m scared too. I’m more scared of the masses of people that spew hatred and bigotry from their hot-cheeked faces than I am of Donald Trump. I think he has yet to truly know the full effect of this fire he stoked. This is not about which candidate worked harder, or who was the most fit to run the country–if it were, the result would’ve been different; it’s about which message resonated the most with voters. It is crippling and devastating to learn that hatred, walls, racism, bigotry, and fear was heard loud and clear. It’s far more pervasive than I ever thought.

I just listened to Hillary’s painful concession speech and my heart aches for her. I wish I could tell her how proud I am of her. She is a woman of such great strength, grace, and intelligence. She battled bullies, sexism and discrimination and will continue to for the rest of her life. I take solace in the fact that she did win the popular vote. She’s going to keep fighting for us. We need to fight too.

There are places where the light is breaking through the darkness. In MN, where I used to live, the very first Somali-American, Illhan Omar, is now a legislator, when just days ago, Trump visited and claimed MN has had to “deal with enough (of the Somalis).” He vomits untrue, brash words. This historic event proves he doesn’t know about the states or communities he’s referencing. This is only one instance among countless others, but it hit home for me. One of my dear and closest friends, Jenn Melby Kelley was also elected to city council of Mankato, MN. Jenn is another role model of mine, an openly gay and compassionate person; she’s worked her entire life for others. Small steps. We can do this.

President Obama’s words of urgency to remind us that we’re all on the same team. Part of me thinks this salve may not work. I’m trying to remain positive. But today it’s pretty damn hard. Tomorrow will be better.

I’m so thankful for my upbringing. For my entire life, my parents pushed me to be a strong and independent, bossy, opinionated, nasty woman. I’m lucky and privileged to have my life. Others aren’t so fortunate.

As I said before, my sadness and grief is turning into anger. Perhaps not anger, more so conviction, agency, and a constant hum of invisible energy. It’s growing stronger as the day slumps onward, and I think that’s because others are feeling it too. The vibration is contagious. Don’t despair. There’s work to do.

“And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” -Hillary Rodham Clinton
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