I feel like someone died. I feel actual grief that has come in waves all day. I couldn’t cry last night from shock, and then, the tears came hot. Every meeting I had at work today started with a debrief of how and why this affects each of us so personally; stories of immigrant families, Muslim spouses, feeling like 9/11 all over again. There were shared tears among colleagues and shared opinions that no, let’s not cancel meetings today, we keep doing the good work we’re all so passionate about in education and diversity. Cause Lord knows, that’s kinda all we’ve got today.
I do not feel grief over Hillary Clinton losing per se, though I am heartbroken that we came so deliciously close to shattering the glass ceiling, only to have it replaced with a steel ceiling, reinforced with bars and a “Keep Out” sign firmly nailed to its gate.
The grief I feel is for the loss of the nation I thought I lived in.
I have to take a moment to put on display my incredible white, straight and wealthy privilege. See, I thought this was just all actually going to be ok. Cause in my world? There’s no stop and frisk. There are no hanging effigies. There are no rafts across cold oceans to get to a better life. There are no parents and children separated by undocumented work. There is no fight to gain and lose and gain and lose my right to marry.
And those of you who relate to any of the scenarios I just mentioned? Well, you’re likely not as surprised as some of us today. Cause that’s all so real, you already knew. Ferguson knew. Baltimore knew. Detroit and your poisoned water knew. Pulse Nightclub knew. Charleston, we should have known. But we don’t fucking learn and haven’t since Fort fucking Sumter.
The weight of the incredible, underlying, not talked about but omnipresent, hatred for anyone who’s not white and male came crashing down on me in the last 24 hours. I thought we were mostly ok. We are not.
I had to tell my sons that something unexpected happened last night and watch as my 7 year old’s tears came spilling over with worry about his father who is a (legal) immigrant.
I also had to recuse myself from Facebook for a bit. I am having a really hard time with my immediate community– and the utter lack of empathy in this very, very red conservative state. If I am being honest, I couldn’t even make eye contact with anyone today. I walked around with the bitter taste of anger rising in my throat and “how fucking could you” throbbing at my temples; at the schools, the grocery store, the gas station. I want you to wear giant red TRUMP signs across your back so I know who to avoid. So I know who to protect my children from.
The challenge though? That’s the exact vitriol that I am trying to squash in the world. When they go low, we go high. I know.
But can I go low for like a second or two before I go high?! I just want to wallow and eat cupcakes MICHELLE OBAMA, OK?!
Also, the people who voted for him are my neighbors, their teachers (though not all and believe me I know who you are and I cried tears of relief in that school parking lot today knowing he was with you), probably some of my co-workers, definitely people at church, and on and on.
I’d like to flippantly blame this on living in the South, but darlings, that map was BLAZING red from sea to shining sea. From the Mexican border to the Canadian frontier we’d all so desperately like to storm right about now. Places that have not turned so crimson in history blew up.
We have a sickness in our country; there’s a cancer of hatred, mistrust, racism and lack of education about our fellow Americans. It has spread so aggressively that we elected a reality TV star who openly talked about sexually assaulting women to the greatest seat of power in the world.
Lovies, I believe we have hit our rock bottom.
On a more personal note, I do not recommend getting a divorce and having the election of 2016 10 days apart. I feel doubly victimized and trodden on by men right now. By the system. By the mere fact that I have a vagina and therefore cannot be President, don’t get paid the same amount for equal work, and am likely about to have many, many of my reproductive rights taken away by a group of white men who think they know what’s best for my uterus.
I said to friends that the day of my divorce was in the top three saddest days of my adult life and now, I have a 4th. All days of unimaginable grief. Of waves and waves of sadness. Of lost hope. Of feeling unworthy. Of shame.
Of having to pull my shit together and just get on with it, cause that’s what we ladies do.
Got a vagina and uterus combo? Then you know how to power through an important meeting, appointment, deadline, surgery, presentation, dissertation, case, performance (I could go on and on) while your insides feel like they’re being ripped out from you, hemorrhaging at a rate that would put a man on the floor in under a minute; a smile plastered to your face.
We know how to suck it the fuck up and do the thing.
I will wallow today. Today I am taking my day. I am also going to remain angry at those of you who chose hate over hope for just a minute longer cause I get to.
Side note: if one more actual fucking WHITE WOMAN goes on television and says “He just tells it like it is” I will actually punch you in the throat. Damn straight he tells it like it is– but that statement does not mean what you think it means. It means that he will also screw YOU over. Or just screw you, cause he can grab any pussy he wants.
After today though, AFTER TODAY, we put on our pant suits and sensible heels, and we walk firmly forward. This cannot have been for nothing; we have work to do country. Roll up your fucking sleeves and get to it.
And if you voted for Trump and somehow made it this far into this piece… I will extend a hand to you if you promise to squeeze it back in love, kindness and open heartedness.
I want to understand your fear; hate like that can only come from fear that is deep. I want to understand your sense of loss and uncertainty; shame and grief are often displayed as bullying. I want to flip what I assume to be true about you.
I also want you to meet me in the middle. To promise to meet someone new; someone LGBT, someone of color, someone foreign. To listen to stories from people who are “other.” Let’s bring each other into safe spaces and reach across the aisle. Even if we don’t make it all the way across– let’s just promise to try. Even if we’re a little shaky, we promise to try.
I also want you to fucking renounce the KKK because that shit is unforgivable. Like, leave that old, nasty uncle behind in the woods to die, and come along with us now.
Tomorrow, we move forward. Tomorrow, we shall overcome. Tomorrow, I put on my listening ears. Tomorrow, we link arms. Tomorrow, we civilly disobey. Tomorrow, we become the America I believe we can be.
4 thoughts on “A Letter to the Broken and the Triumphant, All.”
Thank you for writing this. These are the words I have wanted to say all day but couldn’t through my tears.
❤ sister. We've got this. Let's do it.
Unbelievable words and so well said. We woke up this morning in shock and disbelief!! My heart is heavy. What has this country become? I am so disappointed there are no words to explain this. I voted for Hilary Clinton and am proud of that fact. Sure, she is not perfect, but I do have to say, she has 100 times more class than that pig. My parents did not bring me up to judge anyone. But, Mr. Trump seems to judge everybody!!!!!! He is so despicable it is hard to believe this he will represent our country. It is just stunning to know so many people voted for this bigot! I can’t even watch the news, because it is too depressing. Indiana is also a very red state with so many misinformed and ignorant people. Right now I am disgusted with almost every person I see(did that jerk vote for Trump)? That’s what I wonder. God help us all!!!!!!
Thank you so much for reading– we are not actually alone. It might feel like it, but there are so many of us who believe we can do better!