It was November 8th when the fear really started to settle in. I desperately took my meds and an extra Vistaril and tried to will my body to fall asleep that fateful night. I had been logged onto NPR’s website for the past few hours in order to watch the election results live, but Florida turned red, my hands starting shaking, and I shut my laptop. This wasn’t right. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. I was so convinced for so long this election would be a victory for women, immigrants, people of color, minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community all over America. I wasn’t ready for another loss. I wish I had been.
On November 9th, 2016, I awoke from a shitty sleep to an ocean of grief. I opened up my twitter app and began to cry along with millions. What have we done?
We had fallen into some kind of hell, with people wearing red baseball caps standing on a ledge, looking down at us, and laughing about our liberal tears. If it weren’t for the fire, we would have drowned.
I spent the rest of that week unable to sleep, eat, or function. I needed an outlet for my intense rage and took to yelling at people via facebook and text. It didn’t make me feel better, but I didn’t have any other options; my fiancé was six states away and I felt utterly betrayed by the rest of those close to me. Eventually, I left town and stayed with my sister-in-law so I wouldn’t be alone with my thoughts, my pain, my fear for myself and others.
How does a woman respond to half the country, family members, voting in a man who brags about sexually assaulting whomever he finds beautiful? And when people of color, immigrants, and minorities express fear for their lives over having a president with a record of blatant racism and hate speech? God, how the heart breaks. Mike Pence, a threat to women and the LGBTQ+ community’s safety, strikes terror in the heart of so many and there are still people today who believe this is something to make fun of.
It’s taken a lot of time to process this grief. I wake up with it. It accompanies me throughout the day. It falls asleep with me and reminds me of my fears as I dream at night. I’ve had to sit with the pain of knowing who was exposed to the awful truth of who Donald Trump is and still decided to vote for him. People I love, people I loved. Church leaders, classmates. Friends, coworkers. Family. It is a long list of people I have invested too much hope in, people I don’t know how to trust anymore.
Since the initial shock of the election results, I have been unable to rid myself of this anger. I tried, but it turns out, I could not disassociate myself from it without growing numb to the pain of others. And I do not want to. I’ve seen what that looks like. I want to stay angry.
Everything is political. To ignore this is a luxury, a privilege going unchecked. All of our lives have been politicized and now we’re faced with a choice: what do we do with it?
On Saturday, my husband and I are proudly attending the Women’s March in Raleigh. I will march with my sisters and allies. I will cry with them, hurt with them, and fight with them. We will walk side-by-side and send our collective message of resistance: No. We will not rest until people of color have been liberated from their oppression. We will not rest until LGBTQIA people are guaranteed equal rights and treatment. We will not rest until women have the rights to our own bodies, pay equality, and have successfully smashed the patriarchy. We will not rest until Muslims and immigrants are safe and protected. We will not rest until America truly becomes Land of the Free.
I am choosing a lot of things as an act of resistance, but especially my anger. If you’re also looking for a way to resist, I would encourage you to attend your local Sister March and then get involved with the many organizations who will need active volunteers, participants, and financial support over the coming years.
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.