i keep waiting to feel better, for everything to feel the same before it did on Tuesday evening. there have been moments when i hear a song, watch a familiar tv show, hear a dear friend’s voice and everything feels normal. then it sinks in and everything feels tainted again, like nothing will ever be the same.
the days leading up the election i was 100% positive clinton would win, as many of us were. for the record, i voted for bernie, but was just as happy to cast my vote for Hillary. to me this election was about love vs. hate. i left telling my friends and truly believed “there aren’t that many assholes in america” i feel so naive. the night of the election i called my mom pretty early on…she admitted it didn’t look good, there were multiple phone calls that evening with her and somewhere in there i started to cry. she told me not to, that everything would be ok, i felt silly for a moment. coming from a woman that has lived through the era’s she has, i thought, ok, i am over reacting, it is just the presidency, someone out there will protect us. the night went on and friends started texting, in shock. i knew it was over. i took wylie out for a walk and bumped into neighbors on the street, all of us in disbelief. what the fuck was happening? i couldn’t handle it anymore and i knew i had to get up early to go to work. i thought if i turned the tv off, i could shut it all out and maybe wake up with good news. i was fooling myself. i couldn’t sleep. i tossed and turned, checked my phone over and over. i literally had a nightmare (about trump and being sexually assaulted)… i got maybe 2 hours of sleep. i woke up super early to be on set for a campaign. i couldn’t brush my teeth without gagging, the results were in.
that Wednesday was such a dreary day in NYC. we were shooting at a loft in Brooklyn a few floors up above the concrete jungle. many of my jobs are often working with new people, but luckily in my industry the majority of us think alike. having to constantly meet new people and work together with new people not knowing them sets you up for a great deal of respect for anybody regardless of their “anything”. within a few minutes i couldn’t help myself. i walked over to the hair and make up team to ask how they were doing. the lead makeup artist hugged me. i had never met her before. a while later she told some of us one of the guys on the crew voted for trump and was boasting about it. i spent the rest of the day trying to figure out who he was. i assumed it was the only guy in a good mood that day and wearing something that resembled a duck dynasty bandana around his head. ( i admit this is just as bad as any form of racism)
it wasn’t my best day of work. i was distracted, it seemed everyone was. i was going through the motions, but i had yet to really understand what i was feeling, except gross and horribly sad and defeated. we went to the catering truck parked on flushing avenue in the middle of the largest Hasidic jewish community in the country. this is a community that segregates themselves in the middle of the biggest city in the USA. i wanted to hug them and ask them how they felt about the election, wondering if it is even phased them living in their bubble, but so reminiscent of what their culture has been through. the sweet girl from Oregon renting out my extra room told me her office let people go home early. what election has left people so utterly depressed and scared? how can that not be accounted for? i couldn’t wait for the day to be over so i could go home and cry and read the Facebook posts looking for others that felt just as bad as me.
….and it certainly wasn’t hard to find those people. i called my mom on my way home and she admitted she was a mess all day. when she had told me to not cry the night before, she said didn’t realize how much this would actually affect her. we both cried together miles apart on the phone for everything that was just lost.
i slip into my bed from sheer exhaustion and hopes of escaping my dreary mindset. the following morning on my way to work, i call a dear friend that always has good insight and a positive approach, looking for intellectual comfort. she answers the phone….she tells me she is the middle of meditating to try and release all her anxiety over the election. i start crying and i literally couldn’t get any words out. i think that was the first time in my life i was literally speechless. it is deeply sinking in how much this is affecting people, and that is so overwhelming. if the friend i was calling to lean on, was feeling as scared as me, this just makes it all the more real and terrifying. we both admitted to each other that we were trying to identify who might have voted for trump at work. and both admitted this is just as bad as the racism on the right. but i somehow do not think those with racism on the right are feeling bad about their racism.
i spent the day in new jersey doing returns for a job. this is new york suburbia. rich, minorities, everything you could think of. i relished in it that day. i looked people in the eye whose skin color was different than mine, whose sexual orientation was different than mine, for every women and little girl that just lost the biggest symbolism of our lives and i mourned. i mourned so deeply. i wanted to tell them, i am not what you think i am, i am with you.
on my way home from work that day, i call another dear friend out in LA, again looking for some reassurance that maybe, just maybe i am overreacting. but the response is the same. the heartbreak is the same. as i drive through manhattan and she on the streets of LA, we console in each other looking for answers in how this could have happened. a few days later she and her husband took their kids to the march in LA. when i saw a comment her husband made on Facebook about how hard the week has been, i melted.
Friday, started to feel a little better. the kids in the building upstairs share their stories on the protests in manhattan they attended. i was so proud of them. i pull myself together for a few hours of work. i get off early, thank god, and i try to have some normalcy and watch a little tv. or rather the chelsea handler episode with Barbara boxer which left me in tears. i highly suggest you watch it.
yesterday, at the store 90% of the customers that came through mentioned the election in some sort of way. yes, i live in Brooklyn. yes, the overwhelming majority here celebrates each other’s differences,i really don’t have to guess what people are thinking or feeling. but the people that struck me the most were the man and woman from Canada. when she told me they were Canadian, i replied “well, you are certainly here at an interesting time”. her reply was ” we probably won’t be coming back soon”. without trying to assume anything , ” i asked why, ” thinking maybe they came often, but were too busy these days. BUT the man replied ” because i am muslim”. i replied “i am so so sorry” i was so embarrassed. i was so ashamed, i could barely look at him, i started to cry.
it is Sunday. we are now on 5 days since the election. i keep waiting for this feeling to go away. i keep waiting for everything to go back to normal and that we somehow all move on. everything looks different now, the future looks bleek and ugly. but i realize, i don’t want life to go back to normal…because the moment it does, is the moment we have accepted the consequences of the ignorance we have all created on both sides. when i see a post on facebook or instagram that isn’t centered around the election or something from apartment therapy about how to declutter my house, i actually get fired up…i get scared that we are loosing site and letting go of what we need to accomplish. right now, nothing else feels important. it overwhelms me in the best way and worst how many people feel the way i do. i am not just posting pro-choice propaganda that nobody pays attention too…. we are all doing something together for the first time, possibly in my entire life. everything has changed, everything is in jeopardy, everything in on the line. i have never felt closer to the people in my life, to the people that share the same values as me. it is the most powerful thing i think i have ever felt.
i am not willing to just sit back and accept trump, and frankly, am disappointed in people that say we should just accept it, at least from those coming the left. i admit it makes me question your you just a little bit. i have been sitting back letting everything be as it is since Obama got elected in 2008. i volunteered back then, i was so passionate about getting him elected. i remember thinking when Hillary was running against him, america just isn’t ready for a female president. (clearly, we still aren’t.) since then, i have sat back in my joyous comfort of the liberal side shaping the things i see fit for our society. my beautiful gay friends have the right to marry, healthcare is more accessible to all, my friends that thought i was the devil for smoking pot in college are suddenly curious to try it, the right to choose is still a right, a global climate change plan is set into place, seeing anything about the obama’s just makes me giddy, and a female candidate is coming to fruition. true that things were and are not perfect. black people are getting shot by police, apparently- a white working class majority was being ignored, and racism was hiding in the depths of every corner of america. i have been naive to all of it. i truly did not think trump could win. i truly thought i could sit back and watch this election from my couch and Hillary would be in the Whitehouse. there were many times i asked myself why i wasn’t out volunteering…looking back now i see i was complacent. i thought no harm could undo what now feels like 8 golden years.
today, in hindsight, i see where i went wrong. i see that i took for granted the beautiful society that was taking shape and didn’t even realize it could all be ripped away like taking candy from a child’s hand. i thought being an american meant never having to be fearful of your government or even members of your family. i thought freedom was pure and just.
the politicians keep urging everyone to come together, to listen to each other, to understand. i am truly sad for those that feel they have no place in the last administration. i feel terrible for the families that are struggling and worried their jobs are on the line, i feel accountable that the democratic party was ignoring them while more than likely catering to the likes of myself.
i do not feel terrible for the people that discriminate. for those that vote on their personal religion. for those that have used this election to to unleash their racism and did. i do not feel terrible for the members of my mother’s extended family that did not want to invite their transgender cousin to the family reunion and insisted that if she did come they did want to sit near her. i do not feel terrible for the people that claim abortion is wrong in the name of the lord, but don’t want to help refugee families fleeing from drug and religious wars. i do not feel terrible for the mother with two children that rely on government healthcare for disabilities, but they voted against Obamacare.
in fact, i condemn those people. i admit, i want nothing to do with them and i have no idea how to reconcile any of our ideology. i judge them as much as they judge me. i admit i don’t know how to overcome this. i don’t know how to accept these differences.
i am sad for the little girls that woke up Wednesday morning and cried. i am sad they will remember this deeply for along time to come and how sad their parents were. i am sad that we as women lost a huge part of history and triumph for our gender. i am sad to think about the discrimination their generation may be left to fight. i am sad for the girls that will be sexually assaulted. i am sad for my niece that was adopted from Guatemala and my nephew that is half back and live in the burbs of st louis, are surrounded by racism. the kids at isa’s school were shouting out for trump. i can’t imagine what her thoughts were or what my sister must have felt trying to explain it to her daughter.
i keep trying to understand the amount of grief that is being processed around the country and world. is this how people felt when JFK was shot? is this what the days after 9/11 felt like? (i can only remember that day- the days after are a blur and there was no social media to continue it along. i was 21, but that was so damn long ago) how is it possible that we all have pits in our stomaches for the past week and how an this be right?
i have been trying to understand and sympathize with the people that voted for this man, some of which may or may not include some extended family and distant friends,like many of us. i have been trying to read and watch articles and news i would not normally part take in to better understand how these people were hurting enough to overlook all the racism. i have been trying to understand why people care enough about what someone’s skin color is, whom they have sex with, what gender they want to be, what a woman does with her body, or their need to dominate the opposite sex, or forgetting the shear fact that their ancestors also immigrated to america. how they can’t see everyone should have access to healthcare, that climate change is real, that at the end of the day we all have beating hearts, lungs that breath, blood that flows, that we are not that different after all. people are so afraid of what is different than them…and it is something i will never understand.
this Facebook group popped up in my feed because of a friend and i went to check it out. @chicksontheright. i was astonished by the awful,hurtful comments. those on the right are not any closer to coming together and i am not sure i am either. i hate to admit that, but after reading all of this negativity it is hard for me to have faith in beliefs so angry and heartless. i have been a part of 👖 pantsuit nation now for not even a week and the amount of love pouring, i mean pouring out of the group has been so inspiring. we are not trying to spread hate, but love and basic human rights.
i am terrified of the hate, as are many many people. i am terrified of all the just and good that is being threatened to be undone. i am terrified of my government, and as an american i thought that meant never having to be terrified. if we can have open discussions with each other on why it is those that voted for this man felt the need to do so with honest answers not centered around religion or hatred, then i am open to listening. but if this part of the population will continue to discriminate, make fun of people’s lives and hearts, and laugh and ridicule the first amendment right of the protestors(after their candidate threatened to do the same), then no. i am not open for discussion.
i think one of the biggest things i have been contemplating is the amount of people that feel the same way. when the whole world is panicking for because of about 25% of the population of america, something is wrong with the system. now that we approach day 5 this morning and we still can’t shake this feeling. and dear friends, please please don’t let this feeling slip you. don’t stop fighting for what is right. don’t stop believing that we can make a difference and that all is not lost. we can not know what is to come, but i do think this could be the most vital time in our lives and a chance to really make a difference.