A Woman without a Country

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Donald Trump was democratically selected as President-elect of the United States at around 3am this morning.

I woke up around 5 and now feel anchored to nowhere. I no longer belong to any place, certainly not this place. I have come un-moored from my national identity, because I do not identify with this. I do not recognize us.  I am horrified. And terrified. And ashamed. And nearly mute with rage.

Last night, the majority of my fellow countrymen (and women) told me that my body didn’t matter; that it’s agency or power or capability wasn’t real. They told my LGBTQ friends that their lives, choices, dreams, hopes were not valid or worthy. These voters told my black friends that they are so uncomfortable, fearful, resentful of black people’s capacity to rise and be seen and lead that they would rather collapse the country by electing a monster in retaliation, than err on the side of a government that, at least in some ways, saw black people as human beings — which, as evidenced by their vote, they do not. They told people not born here that they were not welcome, that there was  no place here for them. They told us that a black presidency, followed by a female presidency was too big of a threat to their too long-held authority. They told all of us that we should be afraid. Congratulations. We are. At least today.

I fear for my mom, my grandmother. For my aunt’s child, due in March. I fear for my friend and her wife, who were recently married, who are probably talking about the best way to protect their family. I fear for people, more specifically women, of color. I fear for my Latino/a friends, my friends whose siblings or parents weren’t born here, my friends who weren’t born here, my friends who practice or recognize a religion that isn’t Christianity. I fear for the state of women’s healthcare, and the war about to be waged against my body. I fear for the poorest, most disenfranchised among us. I fear for anyone who believed what was fed to them — because believe me. He will fail you. He will unabashedly, abjectly fail you.

I just. I really don’t know. Words are failing me today. The office is quiet. If there is a Trump supporter here, I cannot imagine them feeling victorious. There is no nobility in this kind of quiet. No one around me is celebrating anything. We’re all terrified. This is mourning.

We’re huddled in our cubes whispering and sharing in our fears, in the type of anxiety that feels like a locked room. We’re not sure if the people on the other side of the hall agree with us. Please know though, I agree with you. I’m here with you.

We truly did not see this coming. There was no way. Surely, there was no way. I’m still trying so hard to make it just not be true.

I do not feel safe. Or protected. Or free. But there are these things. The small, beautiful, powerful things.

  • The following text conversation I had with a friend.

Him: Try to have a good day if you can. Alcohol and soft drugs can help (lol).
Me: I’m gonna try. You too. And hey, thanks for being a decent, thinking, compassionate, logical, open-minded human being.
Him: I think it’s important that you know that I am that way because of the influence people like you had on me in my life.

  • My aunt telling me

“Just take care of yourself today and know that our family stood strong against this — together. I love you.”

  • My sweet co-worker printing out Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou for my whole team, as we share in our fear, disappointment, and fierce resolve.

There’s going to be sarcastic humor tomorrow. There’s going to be self-righteous indignation tomorrow. There’s going to be jokes. There’s going to be strength and a re-ignited passion to align myself in solidarity with the communities I’m a part of. And you can fucking bet that there is going to be 4 years of pure, unadulterated “I told you so’s” from me. Know that as a certainty.

In the days to come, I’m going to go back and volunteer at the women’s health clinic. I’m going to lend my time and compassion and whatever tiny amount of privilege I may have as a white women to causes that make us better, not policies and politics that reveal that absolute worst in us.

I’m going to write and read poetry and listen to music and take walks outside — all the things that have always saved us, that have made us most human. I’m going to take a bath. I’m going to take care of my friends and family.

But today, I get to be angry. And scared. And resentful. And hurt. And astounded. And disappointed. And ashamed.

Today I get to ask,

What will become of us now? Now that we all — and indeed, the world — have such a clear, crystallized view of just who exactly we have revealed ourselves to be.