I left for work this morning, tears in my eyes and a sickness in my stomach. I opened my front door to feel the Earth, cold and wet on my skin, still dark with clouds overhead. The sidewalk shifted. I felt the ground mourning.
To think of the severity of what has been done, and to not be terrified and overwhelmed with sadness after electing Donald Trump as our president, is a privilege and ignorance I cannot begin to describe. I am a words person, fighting and connecting with others the only way I know how, and after hours of pulling my hair without any sort of way to express myself, I finally know what to say.
As I sit here, stifling back more tears and trying to avoid impulsive and poisonous thoughts about the next four years, I wonder, what is next? How will we heal? Will things ever get better? God, they have to.
I’ve gotten through much of my anxiety this week by listening to the soundtrack from Once More With Feeling, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode, on repeat. The other day I literally listened to it four times to try to keep calm and get through the day. One of the songs at the end of the episode is currently buzzing in my head, attempting to offer me comfort during this time of darkness: (This is not really a spoiler. It is one line, out of context, that gives nothing away about the episode at all)
Why is the path unclear? When we know home is near? Understand we’ll go hand in hand but we’ll walk alone in fear. Tell me! Where do we go from here?
Where do we go from here? As millions of Americans live in fear and the reality that they are hated and unwanted, how do we proceed? How can there possibly be a silver cloud? There may not be. But the fight isn’t over. Home can still be in sight.
Let’s move forward, hand in hand. We can’t walk alone in fear, no matter how tempting it is to isolate ourselves. The more united we are, the better we can retaliate. Start small and local. I encourage everyone to look into activism and volunteer opportunities in their communities. Work on electing liberal governments in your cities. We can rebuild from the ground up, and expand upward and outward. Concentrate on the election in off years, and not just every four years. Politics aren’t a trend. It is a privilege to not be concerned with politics and how certain policies and laws may affect you.
Be kind and understanding with each other. Lift one another up, ask how are you doing, what can I do for you, are you okay? Be loud and be heard. This is my body, my choice, my country, my fellow citizens and friends and loved ones and we will get basic rights and we will prevail.
I know you’re tired of fighting. I know it isn’t your responsibility to fix this when you have been the victim for so long. I know I’m a middle class white girl who has never experienced institutionalized racism or discrimination for my sexual identity, but I am still feeling. And I am still burning.
Even if we did elect our first woman president, the fight was far from over. This is just the beginning, and Donald Trump is a wall. A road block, but we are stronger. Instead of hate, we fight with love. We fight with passion, clawing and scratching to exist and take up the space we deserve and tear the walls down until they are ruins, until they are nothing.
I still sit here, upset, and knowing that there are others who are less safe than me, more devastated than me, and that sadness turns to nausea. But I am going to aim for feeling hopeful. I am going to fight for you. So when asked, Where do we go from here? We go forward. Upward. Higher than the trees. Nothing is going to hold us back, not anymore.