You may have noticed that I’ve been missing for a little while. I took a break from Facebook, where I am generally quite active.
After the election on November 8, Facebook got a bit emotional. And I needed to take a break. There was too much to process, and I felt myself getting swept up. I was torn, I had so much to say, so much to express, but I was not able to do it from a place of power at the time. I was too much in fear. So I made a commitment to a week away.
Taking a break was a really smart step for me, and although it was painful, I’m glad that I didn’t shut myself off before the results came in. I needed to see and feel all the raw pain that was being expressed and shared. I needed to know. But, as I say to my clients sometimes, it’s okay to visit the lands of despair, sadness and anger, but try not to live there. I found myself unpacking my bags, putting on the gloves, and shadow-boxing in the corner. I could feel the emotions building up, looking for a target. And because the emotions were so wild, I was searching in all directions for something to DO.
So, I took a break, before I sucker punched the wrong person.
In my absence, I decided to take my own advice. I got back to the basics. When you are feeling like a victim, feeling like you are powerless, go back to the things that center you. For me, those things are waking up at 5am to meditate, snuggling my dogs for an hour before I start getting ready for work. Two days a week I go to Crossfit before work. When I’m getting ready I put on uplifting, upbeat music while I shower and get ready, and when I decide on an outfit, I pick something that is going to make me smile. I made sure to drink some water every day. I thought about the things I’m grateful for.
One of the hard things to do was to get back to work. As a therapist and a coach, it’s important to be completely present with your clients. This is why meditating every morning was so important. If I was distracted, I wouldn’t be able to be there for the people who needed me. I wouldn’t be able to really listen.
And I took the time to dissect what I was feeling. Here’s what I learned:
I am angry. Part of me is just angry that my team lost, but that is nowhere near the extent of it. I’m angry that my job is about to get so much harder. I’m angry that people I work with have been the target of racist remarks, told to go back “home.” I’m angry that those people who really needed the insurance they are getting, the ones coming to see me to get better so they don’t need to rely on benefits anymore, are going to lose it. And we’ll still have to pay for them when they visit the emergency room, or when they can’t hold it together to keep their job, and when they can’t figure out how to deal with their trauma. I’m angry at the people on either side of the race who are using this as an excuse for intolerance. “Libtards,” “Deplorables,” and a thousand more divisive terms show how far this election broke us apart.
I’m sad. I am grieving so many things. I completely understand that we need to fix our health care system and that it’s a scary world out there. However, even if I really liked or agreed with President-elect Trump’s solutions, there was no way I was going to be able to over look his personality. If there was only slip-up, maybe he made fun of the disabled reporter and then immediately went, “Oh my god, that was horrible, I’m so sorry, I’ll never do anything like that again” then maybe I could get past it. But there were so many. The truth is, I’m not mad at Trump. He’s an asshole, but he’s just doing the best he can. He actually thinks that way, that when somebody talks about me, I make fun of them. He calls names. He labels people. “Crooked Hillary” “Lyin’ Ted.” Anyway, I’m not mad at Trump. I am just unbelievably sad and angry that so many people encouraged him. That people I know and love made excuses for him.
The biggest thing I’m grieving are my beliefs about the priorities of the American people. That we are a people who love each other, who believe in equality and humanity. That we put the importance of the health of the planet over wealth. That we believe in peace. That we believe in tolerance. We are a country that is supposed to believe that we can do anything, come from nothing and make something of ourselves, that we can overcome the impossible. And I felt like we voted for fear. For get those people out. For I want mine. For I can’t help you. My emotions were so strong because my belief in us is so strong, and voting for the ideals that Trump embodies was beyond my imagination.
The hardest feeling, the one that took some time to pinpoint was doubt. I started to doubt myself. I started to doubt everything. I started to feel like I was being delusional, living in an “I believe in the goodness of humanity” dream. Like maybe everything I believed was a lie. That’s the one that got me off of Facebook. I needed to look that one in the eye.
So. Now what? I’m not going to pretend that I’m not feeling these feelings. I’m not going to pretend like everything’s fine, although it’s been requested that I stop being so vocal and out there about it. I’ve gotten the message, thank you very much, that I (and everyone else feeling these feelings) should just stop whining and give Trump a chance. That I should get over it. That I shouldn’t be so mad, he’s going to fix our insurance. Is that how to handle it? I’ve decided a couple of things.
- I am not going to shut up.
- You can’t fight hate with hate. I refuse to be a part of the name-calling. I will not unfriend you for voting for Trump (I will unfriend you for being an asshole). I do not support violence. I will support any of Trump’s decisions that are designed to uplift America, to build us, to unite us. I will oppose any that are designed to divide, to take away rights, to leave anyone out. I will oppose any that appear to be beneficial but carry veiled threats.
- This election was a wake up call. We are being called to serve and we all need to figure out what that means for each of us. During my break over the week I thought about what this means for me. I am good at listening, at problem-solving, at helping others create plans and execute them. So I’m in the process of creating a mastermind group for 6-10 progressive, restless folks who are looking for direction after the election, who are looking to act from a place of power and strength, not fear.
Please, I beg you, join me. Join me in spreading love. Join me in turning this pain and fear into action. Join me in being a part of the solution.