I knew it could happen. I just didn’t want to be right.
I can’t recall the last time I woke up feeling so uneasy and unsure, so desperate to talk but wanting to keep my mouth shut, so vulnerable and disgusted and helpless.
I didn’t care what the candidates wore or about their hair or if they sniffled or had a cold. I cared about what example the candidates set, as a standard, to hold the highest office in our country.
I couldn’t say I didn’t care who you vote for, because I did. I’ve largely stayed out of social media debate, because I believed minds were made up and there was no convincing people otherwise. Because I didn’t want to damage relationships or get into endless arguments or hurl articles back and forth to prove a point. I was proud to say #ImWithHer. I still am.
So how did we get here?
I read this essay about five months ago — before half of this circus even came to a head — and while it’s quite lengthy, I think many will find the time to try and understand how this could happen… and did.
2016 has seemingly become the year of the anti-, with droves of people, particularly in rural regions, being vocally anti-establishment, anti-government, and truly believing someone with no professional experience is better than someone with an imperfect 30 years of experience.
These people have felt marginalized, as minority voices have taken center stage and action toward the promise of equality for all.
Trump said last night he’ll be a president for all people. How are we to believe him when he’s openly bashed and berated nearly every human but the Christian, white male?
I check two of those three boxes and find it hard to go about my day today. How can I expect my fellow women, friends of other races and religions, LGBTQ allies, and all others who don’t fit this rhetoric to be OK?
I live in one of the most progressive and liberal cities in the US, yet I’m conservative compared to many of my fellow residents. And if I feel unsure, unsafe today — how does someone in my home state of Florida feel, who wears a hijab or who is not white, or who had the unfortunate circumstance of being born a woman?
The pains in my stomach could be blamed on period cramps or a woman’s intuition, but I know it’s the fear of what this means for my future; for my Muslim and black and Hispanic and Hindi co-workers and friends; for my nieces; for my LGBTQ peers; and countless others.
I’ve taken great pains to refrain from speaking in absolutes or extremes this entire election cycle, but I’m exhausted. I feared this could happen — this would happen — and the only thing I fear now is every day of the next four years. I hope to all that is holy, he proves me wrong. That we can have forward progress and make real changes with thoughtful debate, care and compassion.
We have to do better for our fellow humans. We cannot sit idly by and allow people of any race, religion, gender or economic status to be marginalized simply because of that checkbox on their identity. I’m prayerful the system of checks and balances will help keep policies and legislation from being extremist or exclusive, but it’s going to be a while before I can do so with both eyes closed.
Resources for those struggling today:
- Suicide Prevention Hotline
- What Do We Tell the Children?
- Cory Booker’s uplifting message
- Bible verses about hope
And while I’m all for healthy and productive debate, I kindly invite anyone with hateful commentary to please show my site the same respect I’ve shown yours by moving right along.
It’s been an emotional week for my home state, particularly for the city of Orlando. I woke up Sunday to my family and friends there marked as “Safe” on Facebook, but there are more than 50 families who weren’t as fortunate. I’m still collecting my thoughts into coherent sentences for a separate post, but until then, here are some things to help us smile through the pain:
- Hallee’s Birthday: Hallee Sorenson is a vibrant young woman, who happens to be autistic and celebrated her 18th birthday alone last year after invited guests failed to show. Her cousin Becky has now invited all of Facebook to send Hallee birthday wishes via mail. If you can take a few minutes to brighten this young lady’s day, cards can be mailed to:
34 Wellesley Way
Bangor, ME 04401
- Magz Retires: The mother of all teachers — my mother — retired last week after 32 years of teaching foreign languages and life lessons. She spent 22 years at the same high school and has inspired countless students throughout her tenure. True to form, she’s still working hard this week and grading AP tests in Cincinnati. There’s a large margarita on the rocks (no salt) with her name on it when I see her next month.
- T-Rex Competes on “America Ninja Warrior”: The T-Rex costume has provided plenty of laughs in various viral videos, but this one might just take the cake. I don’t think I could complete any of these obstacles in regular clothes, let alone an inflatable costume. Spoiler alert: T-Rex’s tiny arms may be his downfall.
- NYC Gay Men’s Chorus on “GMA”: Driving out the darkness with a message of positivity, my friend Marc and the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus shone brightly on Monday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.” Their message of pride and joy to comfort the grieving Orlando and LGTBQ communities is truly mesmerizing.
On a final note, as Father’s Day approaches: If you’re fortunate enough to have a relationship with your dad, please call or spend time with him — anything you can — on Sunday. A close friend of mine just lost her father to cancer, 50+ children in Orlando won’t be celebrating and there are things so much bigger in this world than our stubborn differences and disputes.
Thanksgiving Day has come and gone — hopefully your holiday was spent with good food and even better people. Here’s the conclusion of the 30 Days of Thanks series:
- 22. A functional car, as Jimmy has been pushed to his breaking point and I’m rocking Magz’ sweet hatchback Focus while he gets fixed.
- 23. Supermarkets, which accommodated many last-minute stops and continue to provide a platform for charitable donations throughout the season.
- 24. Weekends, for reminding us to take a step back and breathe. Sleeping in doesn’t hurt, either :).
- 25. Laughter, because it makes my world go ‘round. I have a loud, unapologetic laugh, and I adore anyone and anything that brings it out.
- 26. Sportsmanship, which I relied upon after losing nearly every board and card game played this weekend.
- 27. You, for inspiring me to keep going (even when writer’s block sets in). I appreciate each and every person reading this for their support of this creative outlet.
- 28, 29 & 30. Faith, hope and love — the greatest of which is love. I can’t imagine what the world would be like without the simplest gestures of compassion and care.
It’s absolutely a goal of mine in this next year to remember more things like these 30, rather than the things that get me down. Look around — you may be surprised how many blessings surround your life.