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I can’t fight this feeling…

Perhaps I should say I won’t fight this feeling.

I paused. I took a day’s worth of breaths. I let the feelings wash over me in waves. Panicked. Numb. Angry. Numb. Mourning. Numb. Disgust. Numb. Understanding. Disgust. Anger. Hurt. Numb.

I don’t want the numb. I don’t want to be calm. I don’t want to let it all go. I want to hold on to this feeling that something isn’t right here. That so much is wrong here. To the feeling that we should have done better. To the knowledge that we can do better. That we have to do better.

This morning, after days of introspection and a dark mood, my partner sent me a text.

I don’t want to forget this feeling. I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like that this feeling paralyzes me. I don’t like being on the verge of tears. But at the same time, I don’t want to forget this feeling. I don’t want to become complacent and numb. I want this feeling — this awful gnawing feeling — to motivate and inspire action.

I want to do something. I want to motivate something. I want to make this world a better place. And so for right now I will do the only thing I know to do. I’ll write this. I’ll share it here.

I am saddened and angered by the results of this election. Not because I’m a sore loser. Not because I didn’t get my way. Not because I don’t agree with his policy. Not even because I believe that justice was not carried out.

Because I believe that promoting hate and revoking the hard-earned rights of our citizens is the wrong choice for our country. A country of immigrants. A country founded because people needed the freedom to be who they are.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

To those of you who would say “Now you know how we felt when Obama was elected.” I say no. I don’t. I understand that he wasn’t your president. I understand that you were disappointed. I understand that you didn’t agree with his policy. But I also understand that you weren’t being made to live in fear.

There is a difference.

Hate is not a policy. Hate is not a platform. Hate is something that terrorizes the innocent, pushes people down, and destroys life.

With this new presidency I will live in fear.

Fear that my basic human rights will be stripped away because I am woman.

Fear that people will continue to be persecuted or excluded for the color of their skin.

Fear that my child will grow to adulthood in a country that is not accepting of who they are.

Fear that the right to marry who you love will be stolen back after it was fought so hard for.

Fear that people will be forced to live a lie pretending to be something they’re not because of an M or F marked on their birth certificate.

Fear that freedom of religion will mean freedom to one religion.

Fear that our country, founded by immigrants, made more wonderful and diverse by those who join our nation, will erect a wall and close its doors.

My kid wants to leave.

“I don’t feel safe here.”

It wasn’t a childish statement. It wasn’t an exaggeration. My child does not feel safe or wanted in this country. Their voice wasn’t heard in this election despite my vote.

There has been a fundamental shift. Hate speech swells. Harassment increases. Threats are made in public. People are being treated as less than because of their gender, their sexuality, their skin, their religion.

The thin mesh that kept hateful behavior in check, that promised to punish those who would do harm to people different from themselves, dissolves with the shift of power to those who believe that this country belongs to whites and that non-heteronormative behavior is a mental illness.

That is not something that most people believe. The popular vote was for a woman who, though not everyone’s ideal president, would have continued to steer our nation in the right direction. In the results I’ve read only roughly 50% of eligible voters cast a vote in this presidential election. Half of our nation’s eligible voters didn’t even bother to make their stand. Or were somehow prevented from doing so.

So in this tough and painful time remember that. Know that there is more to be done. There are people who are not heard. There are people who did not speak.

Let’s find ways to support one another and strive to make our corner of this world a better place once again. Volunteer your time if you can. Give generously of your resources if you’re able. If you have visibility raise up the voices of those who don’t. Support those who most need our help, even if it’s with just a kind word or a knowing smile.

2 thoughts on “I can’t fight this feeling…

  1. dnelle says:

    The only thing that’s made me feel okay this week was this morning at my coffee shop when I carried a coffee over to a mom while I waited for my order to be ready. I didn’t even want to talk to her… in fact, I avoided it because I’m so close to bursting into tears at any moment that I was *afraid* to talk to her. But she was juggling two 4 year old boys – smiling, happy, boisterous kiddos – and it was obvious her coffee was going to get cold sitting there on the counter. And I carried it over to her, and got her a lid, and for like 30 seconds it was okay because there was something to do that meant something. For 30 seconds I felt okay.

    I love the work I do, but it’s not enough for me right now. I can’t focus on it, and the fact that my work uses an internet-connected computer means that instead of work, I’m doing things like pricing out survival gear on amazon, or flipping mindlessly through the kohl’s website to figure out how to use a coupon right. Sitting here is torturous (I type that and can hear his voice, “torture works, folks”… i can hear his voice everywhere).

    I don’t know how to hold on to this feeling and also do my day-to-day life. I want to scream and run. But run to where? I never much felt like I needed meaning in my life – Meaning with a capital M, meaning. I’ve been enjoying the ride, learning new things, loving on my dogs and trying to get enough sleep. But right now… right now, it feels like I’ve made a grave mistake, not having meaningful work.

    Anyway. Thank you for this. Thank you for your voice. It doesn’t make the fear go away, but it makes it a little more bearable.

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