I woke up this morning with my eldest son and the election results. I snuggled my son, sad for him and his future. My instincts to protect him from this sad reality, the votes for hate and cruelty. I planned to wear black and mourn, to protest the hate.
I thought of the Hillary sign in my yard, and I remembered how one day some men stopped to curse at me for supporting Hillary. Even last week, my plumber said “You’re lucky I came in. I almost drove by because of the sign out front”.
Should I take the down? Was I making myself an target? I didn’t want “them” to find my family.
And then I scrolled through Facebook. In the midst of sadness, shock and disbelief, was this, from an old NYU grad school friend:
“No but seriously. I refuse to be cowed. I refuse to be scared. I’m still here and I still matter. And all of my desires and goals and dreams for my life and those of others still hold meaning. And the things that brought me joy yesterday will still bring me joy tomorrow. And I’ll never stop trying. Life’s too, too short.”
Powerful, not sad. The election has been decided. Hillary won the popular vote, which means there is popular support for the social progress we embraced. We still have momentum. For one, we have the delicious surprise of Pantsuit Nation. At 3 MILLION strong, we are a collective of some smart, ferocious, passionate men and women. Delicious.
And from Pantsuit Nation, came this:
There’s a concept in behavioral therapy known as an “extinction burst” — basically, when you’re trying to remove a behavior (let’s say in this case, xenophobia/misogyny/etc.) often you will actually see an increase in that behavior before it dies,
The old world order is SCREAMING right now. What I’m seeing tonight are the death throes of a system that cannot last.
Whatever the outcome, remember that what happens at the federal level is not the end of the story. We can take charge in our communities, and we can continue to move in the right direction.
Let ’em scream. The rest of us have work to do.
My momma bear, my protective intuition is on overdrive right now. I’ll protect my children, because that’s what I’m genetically programmed to do. But I have others in my care — my LGBTQ friends, my black friends, my Hindu neighbors and my women. My Jews. My job is to care for you and stand up for what is right.
Realizing this, I got fired up, a la Obama.
The more I thought about who I could help, the more empowered I felt. Instead of feeling the victim, I empowered myself. I moved my brain toward a place where I could envision myself helping others.
Then, a friend shared this from The Huffington Post: If You’re Overwhelmed By The Election, Here’s What You Can Do Now. And another shared this from Jezebel: A List of Pro-Woman, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support.
Action. There’s action to take. There’s work to do. And a list of links in the above articles to help you move forward.
Then, Facebook delivered this wisdom: “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb
Exactly. This is the light, this is the possibility. This is the place from which we will grow. This effort isn’t over.
Be sad and mourn. Move through the 5 stages of grief. Take care of yourself; do what you gotta do. Then harness that energy, move through sadness to anger to action and fix the problems at hand.
We have work to do. Let’s get to work.