It’s 5:15am on Thursday, November 10th, and this is the second night in a row that I’ve been unable to sleep. My body feels heavy, exhaustion weighing it down, but my mind refuses to shut off. It’s still reeling from the emotions that this election has brought.
Yesterday, I rose from a sleepless night of lying in bed, heartbroken. My country has elected a narcissistic sociopath to the presidency, and our nation is terrified. We have made a cyber bully the most powerful man in the world. And both sides are frozen in their fear.
It’s childish, but I can hardly say his name. It’s like Voldemort in Harry Potter, where everyone mutter He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Again, it’s childish and feeds into the fear, but it’s how I feel.
Yesterday, after the election results, I got together with a friend for coffee. We’d planned on going over some branding designs that she’s creating for me, but we spent the first hour just sitting, our confusion and vulnerability laid out on the table. Another friend joined us. I cried, just as I’d been crying all day.
While I’m afraid for many reasons, I recognize that it’s my white privilege that allows me to not fear for my life. I called it “luck” today, but it doesn’t make me feel lucky. It makes me feel numb.
Unlike so many of my friends and community members, I do not have to worry about having hateful things spat at me for just existing. There is a lot of hate towards women, but it’s nowhere near what others in the country are going to be facing in the upcoming years.
My friends are scared, my country is scared. Everything feels completely out of control, which makes me feel even more vulnerable, were that even possible.
But in all of this vulnerability, I remember my readings of Daring Greatly, and know that the only way to combat this fear and shame and vulnerability, is with gratitude and love. The one thing I do still have control over is my actions, and so this year is about making my aspirational values my practiced values.
Instead of mourning the mistake of millions of my fellow Americans, I’m going to do my best to fight the fear and hatred with love.
Pay it forward, as much as you can. Don’t speak about doing something, do it. Don’t just pray for peace, speak up when faced with injustice. Travel with an open heart, and absorb as many perspectives as possible.
These are the things we have control over. These are the things we have the ability to impact. These are the things that matter.
Over this election season, there have been so many beautiful bits of wisdom shared, but the one that I believe most is that love trumps hate. There will be a lot of hate in the next few months. The way to combat that isn’t with more hate, but with love.
Now that the election is over, and the media will (maybe) stop showing us so much emotional political media, we can finally remember what we have in common. Instead of despising our neighbor for his/her beliefs, we can remember that they helped shovel our driveway last winter, or fed the cat while we went on vacation.
I’m starting to ramble now, so I’ll cut this off. But know that there is hope, that this world is not yet going to hell-in-a-handbasket, as much as it might feel that way.