So, things are different now.
I write this and want to take it back, for it reveals the optimism I had regarding America way too boldly. I know America is founded on the blood of conquest, but I really did think we were better than this…I think a lot of us did.
I’ve been spending way too much time on social media looking at the spate of racist and xenophobic attacks, pondering the 52% of white women who voted for a sexist bigot, going over and over what campaign mistakes the Clinton team made in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania…
I don’t know the last time when I felt my actions were so futile.
One thing I hate seeing are these false equivalencies which act like this election was just like any other contentious battle between conservative and liberal factions.
“Let’s all just realize we have different views as Americans!” a friend wrote to me.
Different views. You get to say different views when discussing the nuances of foreign policy. I’ll even give you different views on abortion or state rights.
Different views does not encompass being endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan and describing women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community as less than human. Different views is not being totally unqualified and unprepared.
The people who read this blog (thank you again) know this. We know that Trump’s words are not on equal scale with the platform Hillary Clinton was running on, even as we acknowledge she was not our perfect candidate.
Is across-the-aisle dialogue truly possible right now?
I have cried. Yesterday, I consciously emotionally ate a large sized McDonald’s nugget meal and binge watched Insecure. I made immature allusions to The Purge/Hunger Games and wallowed in black humor. I sobbed like somebody died about every other hour whenever I saw Hillary Clinton’s face. I was glued to my social media feed like a fiend.
I am still not out of this gobsmacked wall of incredulity: does a large segment of America really hate this much? (I know the answer is yes, but damn…)
But, I am better for three reasons:
- Community: Sitting with colleagues and friends on the 6th floor near the computer lab. Just talking. Sharing our pain, sadness, anger, and what-the-actual-fuck feels. My non-fiction teacher making room for honest conversation and ending with an ice cream trip. Writing and hearing poetry at Black Poet’s Speak Out and realizing I am not alone. All the friends who have asked me how I am. Organizing a Friendsgiving meal. People. Thank you, people.
- My Grandmother(s) Real and Imaginary: My paternal grandmother passed away before I was born. She was industrious and strong-willed, starting over when my grandfather kicked her out of the family home at a time when being an unmarried Yoruba woman shameful. I start remembering that so many of my heroines: Maya Angelou, Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper all lived during political eras where their lives meant little to the powers that be. Still, they fought back in the ways they knew how. They wrote, they preached, they even sued. They lived and they loved. I must do the same.
- Boring Ass Self-Care: Let Instagram tell it and you’d believe self-care was all yoga retreats and tie-dye quotes from Audre Lorde. Sometimes self-care is boring as fuck. My version of self-care was letting myself sleep since I stayed up so late looking at election results the day before, folding clothes, having my boyfriend hide my phone, and doing kettleball swings at LA Fitness. It was eating slowly and going to burlesque class as usual. It was this blog post. It was undramatic, quiet, and routine. And today it saved me.
We are living in an age of real uncertainty. I am proud of my black women (94% for Hillary, y’all) but I am honestly disgusted and afraid at how the rest of my country voted. We’ll see how much they like the “change” coming along…
I have many questions, as you do.
What will life be like a year from now? My privileges afford me some protection, but what of the most vulnerable in this society? How do I utilize my life and gifts in a way of true service? What will be the first holy shit action this new President in 2017?
I have no answers but I will continue to rely on the support of my community, on my grandmothers, and on truly taking care of myself moving forward. I still believe in the power of radical self-love and a divestment from the patriarchy, including the patriarchy within ourselves. I still believe that women will rebuild this world.
May you find some solace over the next couple of days and weeks (well, over the next four years…)
May we figure out how to really be together in all of this without the lies, false equivalencies, and stand in love. Not the love of trite quotations or anemic half-ass discussions, but a love that acts and sees.
Some of us have a long way to go before we can truly emit this sort of love. I cannot wait for those people, but I will join with the people who are already wrestling with this sort of love.
Onward and Onward and Onward,