The country I live in now is not the same one I lived in during the last twenty-seven years of my life. It has grown darker. More fascist. More racist, sexist, and homophobic. All the progress I had seen from the last president - all the rights given to people like me, and to people not like me - I took it for granted. We all did.
Amazing how it all can be overturned and reversed now.
I'm not gonna lie: I have cried quite a bit over the last three days since the United States presidential election. I have not been able to write anything beyond the posts you see here, and that includes my, so far, failed attempt to do NaNoWriMo. Many fears of mine are boiling up in my stomach. Fear for those who might lose their healthcare. Fear of the destruction of the first amendment of the Constitution. Fear of losing access to many extraordinary artists on the Internet due to the imminent dismantling of net neutrality. Fear for Latinos, undocumented or not, who must comfort their families and children regarding potential deportation. Fear for the future of humanity on this rapidly warming planet. Fear of losing democracy. Of losing all that I and others have worked so hard for. Of losing my livelihood.
I have seen so much sorrow and anger from those I love. I have seen so many instances of hatred and cruelty where non-white, non-cis, and non-hetero people are the victims. Incendiary notes left on cars. Hijabs pulled off Muslim women. Threats of violence, and then the actual carrying out of violence, against people of color and other religions besides Christianity. Nationalist and racist groups preparing to rally and march in the streets. Children actually bullying other children in schools, using slurs and racial epithets. This is the America that our new president - who I don't consider my president at all, and hey, he didn't even win the majority of votes - has encouraged and promoted. This is a mad, evil America - one that had once existed, then hidden itself in the face of compassion and reform, and then finally reared its very ugly head.
Quite honestly, being inundated with bad news on top of more bad news on top of more bad news daily is like being sucker punched in the gut, winded, and then punched again as soon as you feel like you got your breath back. It's really a devastating feeling. And last night, I was so overwhelmed by the deluge of negative information, warnings, and grief from my loved ones that I felt my soul on the precipice. I know it sounds dramatic and hyperbolic, but it's how it felt. My thoughts grew dark, and I could swear I heard a voice in my head say to me, "Maybe you don't want to live through this after all."
Fortunately, I was able to surround myself with people who made sure that I didn't harm myself. I was told, "Please don't leave. We need you." And while I am by no means a hero - in fact, I consider myself quite the coward - I now understand that we have to fight. And fight we will.
I know that I will have to join the ranks of those who want to ensure the preservation of this nation's greatest attributes, and the preservation of our species on this world (which we happen to be slowly cooking right now, but hey. Maybe we can all live in Alaska when it becomes the new Hawaii). And I know that fighting isn't only marching or protesting, though I do want to participate in those. I know that fighting can simply be showing up and supporting marginalized people as they struggle with the notion that a narcissistic, unprincipled orange monster, who sees them as inferior and unfit to have the same rights as others, is now the most powerful political leader in the world. Fighting can be donating to progressive organizations and raising one's voice so that the politicians can finally hear it. Fighting can be as simple as hugging someone who needs it, or educating those who need to remember compassion and kindness.
But perhaps fighting is also simply surviving. I am still in the throes of grief for the future of my society. I know what I have to do to take care of myself. Starting tomorrow, I will attempt to actually begin my NaNoWriMo novel. I will make sure I talk to people if I need it. I will keep updated on the things we can do to fight against a potentially harmful government. I will seek the courage to be bold and active. And I think no other words are more appropriate than the final lyrics of Brian May's "The Show Must Go On," performed by the band Queen:
I'll face it with a grin
I'm never giving in
On with the show
I'll top the bill
I have to find the will
to carry on with the show
I hope that you, too, my dear readers, can be with me on that metaphorical stage as we continue on with the maniacal, usually unfair show that is called life. I cannot promise you that we will be okay; I cannot even promise you that we'll survive. But for now, we live, we love, and we fight.
Make your night and weekend a time for healing. I love you.