It’s been a long time since I’ve written something to share. I’ve gotten much better at actually journaling for myself as opposed to just telling others to do so though. But I wish I didn’t have to write this. I wish I didn’t wake up this morning feeling both numb and disappointed. I wished it was still the summer, and that the nights were still warm, and the days were still filled with light. I felt the urge to shed a layer of skin and wash away the past election cycle.
My grandmother, who will be eighty in a few weeks time, told me months ago that she wouldn’t be surprised if Trump was elected President. Even in thinking back across the span of her life, and what she’s witnessed so far, I foolishly wanted her to be wrong. She lived through and fought during the Civil Rights Movement in 1950’s Alabama. She was my age when the Freedom Riders were attacked. She grew up in Anniston and was the Secretary of the local Southern Christian Leadership Council chapter. She told me that some parts of America, long hidden, would come out in mass and that they would be angry. Angry that we elected a Black man to be President, not once, but twice. But the wisdom of the elders, both living and on the other side, cannot be doubted any more.
In the days leading up to the longest night of the year, it feels as though the lights have been cut out early. And people are reacting in a lot of ways. There’s the obligatory blame game happening across media platforms, but particularly social media. There’s that discovery that people you know or grew up with voted for Trump. There’s a feeling of wanting to run. To flee. To walk out in mass exodus because this has to be the end of the United States of America as we know it – right?
I’m here to confirm that all of these realizations and feelings are true. Some of us are feeling so defeated, angry or anxious that we feel as though our bodies do not belong to us anymore. They’ve been claimed by a system that was never designed to defend and protect queer, Black, Brown, Indigenous, POC folks. Yes, that system is political, but if we know the personal is political – then we need to cast our votes elsewhere.
We have to cast our votes for ourselves. For our families. Our partners. Our loved ones. Our ancestors. Our children. This vote is for the future we want to conjure. The alchemy that allows us to re-envision what our world will be. The homes that we will design and build. A potion that allows people to find their place in this new reality and bend it to their will. One that gives agency to the people who feel like it was robbed from them with last night’s decision.
These election results coming in a season of massive struggle is not an accident. As the world (hopefully) watches and defends Standing Rock, I can't help but wonder that there's likely an overlap among the people who voted to route the pipeline from Bismarck and the folks who voted for Trump. How much consideration did people make when casting that vote on the pipeline? Did people take a long hard look at where all the party candidates stood before making their decision? Defending our beliefs takes on different forms because we are all different beings, but if people are putting their lives on the line for water, what are you willing to fight for?
There are many people who have put their bodies on the line. There are some folks in the streets right now and who will take the streets when the night falls. Also on that spectrum are the people who have never felt the urge to fight or to flee in quite some time. This is okay. A lot of us have yet to live through a moment like this and it’s important to honor the kaleidoscope of reactions that come.
Wherever you land – fight, flight or somewhere in between – check in on yourself. Then, when you’re ready – check in on your communities. All relations. Chosen and given. Now is the time to reach out. Now is the time to tell your people that you love them. Wholeheartedly. Unconditionally. Now is the time to hold space for someone, even if right now that means it’s just you. Arming ourselves with that unwavering love is profoundly needed right now.
The next seven are already here. Our challenge is to sustain a world that is worthy of them. I believe that we will meet this challenge in our own equally valid ways. What we wash away from our bodies – mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally – is within our control. I chose to birth a new existence from the one we've been given. May you chose so for your highest good and all of your relations.