After: Day 7

Felted Chickadee Wreath

A week ago today, I was living in a tense but hopeful state, anxious for the election, but confident that Trump would not win.

Now, our country is reeling from an unprecedented election, struggling to make sense of the new normal. Every day that passes brings news of assaults, attacks, and brutal treatment of minorities across the country. The media is issuing Breaking News alerts right and left, every time a new and even more disgusting politician is appointed, or our president elect makes another poor choice. It is so so so important that we don’t hide from this negativity, but we stay informed and educated on the choices being made in our government. There are endless ways of staying informed, and for me, Twitter is the source that is easiest and most convenient. Here are some of the most powerful articles I’ve read this week:

On Steve Bannon – A sexist, abusive, anti-semite with a criminal record a mile long, and our new Chief Strategist

More on Steve Bannon

Vice Morning Bulletin

Despite all of this, there is still good in the world and I’m holding tight to all of it. Here are some things that gave me hope or made me smile this week.

Chicago is and will continue to be a Sanctuary City for immigrants.

Felted Chickadee Wreath
This gorgeous wreath from Anthropologie

This job posting and the reminder that there is such thing as ‘good’ change.

Hand Lettered Typography - Dumbledore Harry Potter Quote
Dumbledore’s Infinite Wisdom

 

My Uber driver the other night who wished me “A good evening and an even better day tomorrow.” (cue emotional meltdown)

 

After: Day 2

You never know what exactly that “thing” will be that splits your life into Before and After, until it happens. You never fully appreciated how lucky you were to be living in the Before until here you are in the After and there’s no going back.

Today is Day Two of the After.

Yesterday was Day One. It was a day of tears and fear and disbelief for so many people. I was in a blissful state of shock when I woke up until I saw a black man sobbing on my way to work and it hit me. No matter how scared I might be, he has every right to be more so. The more I read, the more people I talked to, the more I wrote, I understood the enormity of what this decision means to our futures. I was overwhelmed by emotion, and spent every minute of the day trying to comprehend what this could mean. I was driving myself crazy running through every worst case scenario, each of my thoughts snowballing into 20 more. I was only grounded after talking to Jayden, and realizing that we need to maintain some kind of solid ground for our kids, and not let them see our fear. I can’t let him know that I wonder if he’ll be in an internment camp, or if the wall will be built, or if there will be a civil war. I have to remind him to have faith that there are good people in the world who will come together to fight for what is right. We cannot spend our lives wondering What If. Instead, we move on, putting one foot in front of the other, being the best person we can be for ourselves and everyone around us.

Today is Day Two. I’m able to set my emotions aside and read and learn more about what this actually means for our country.  I’m reading about the implications of this presidency on healthcare, minorities, the economy, safety, education. Today I’m reading reports of hate crimes on women and men of color and who are LGBT. I’m reading articles from teachers whose kids came in crying because they are scared their family will be hurt. My heart aches for our country, but at the same time I’m full of pride and hope seeing pictures of peaceful protests around the country and reminding myself that I am not alone in this fight. Hilary won the popular vote. We are stronger than Trump. We are stronger than hate. We will not sit quietly and let our friends and family be treated like they are anything less than equal. None of us know what this fight will be or how we will play our part, but we are all ready when the time comes.

More than anything, I am terrified of what I don’t know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the end.

I don’t know what words to use. I’m embarrassed. I’m scared. I’m sad, and I feel like the truth is being suffocated across the country. I have that disgusting feeling in the pit of my stomach that usually means guilt or ultimate dread. I could probably puke right now, and could cry on a dime. I can picture our country in another civil war, and our lgbt community running and hiding for their lives. I can perfectly imagine a modern underground railroad where I am embarrassed to be white in a country that shuns anyone who isn’t. I don’t want to be here for that, and I don’t want to be his prized citizen in the eyes of the world. I don’t want to be associated with a country that runs on hate.

I don’t know where to go from here. Do we run? Do we prepare to fight? Do we hide? I can only hope that the rest of the world looks at an election map before they start bombing us, and avoids the west coast and Illinois. At the risk of sounding trivial, this feels like the last Harry Potter when good is very obviously fighting evil, and love is fighting hatred. I believe that love will always win, and take comfort knowing that no matter the election results, the majority vote is love. We will come together and stand up to the evil that has spread across our country.

Where are these people who voted for him? Do so many hateful people actually walk this earth? Is this real? Is it possible that the election results were hacked?

I just wish I knew how this was going to turn out

I’m dreading waking up every morning to more news 

I want to know if we’re going to be bombed

I want to know if there will be a war

I’m scared of what I don’t know

I just typed that “I’m lucky to be a straight white woman,” and then realized how wrong that is. Lucky isn’t a word that you use to describe race, or sex, or sexual orientation. We are all who we were born, and we have a right to be that person and be treated equally. I feel unlucky to be white and straight in this country because I feel guilty. I will fight every day of my life for all LGBT, all minorities, everyone who does not have the rights that I do. I will stand with them, I will fight with them, and I will add my voice to those that need to be heard.
I could go on. and on. and on. And whether I write it here or not, my mind will be nonstop questioning everything I know to be true for quite awhile. I need my family, I need love, I need to know that some things have not and will not change because of last night. Thank God that I have 7 Harry Potter books at home that remind me that love will win.
Please comment. Or call. Or text. There has never been a time in our lives that we’ve needed to be as strong together as we do today. We need to surround ourselves with good people and create a community of love that welcomes everyone with open arms. More than ever, there are people who need a friend or a kind word. Treat everyone you meet with kindness, lift everyone up in their battles.
p.s. If anyone has any ideas how to talk to Jayden (8 years old-minority) about this, hit me up. We have a long walk home from school tonight and I need to start preparing myself now.

UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who has sent me links and ideas about how to broach the subject. For anyone else who may be curious, here are some great resources:
These articles are absolutely wonderful not only for how to talk to your children, but how you yourself can find a positive outlook on this. We have to remember that this is NOT the end of the world, no matter how much it might seem like it. We will all move forward, we will carry on, and as long as we do so in the best way possible, we will succeed. Spread positivity and love and kindness and compassion in a world that is so desperately lacking. My favorite quote is from the first link by Jen Chung:
“This. Is. The Worst. Day. Of. My. Life,” she delcared.
“Well, I hope this is the worst day of your life,” I said.
“Why?”
“Because we’re healthy-and we’re all together. Think about how much worse it would be if someone you knew and loved died. So I hope this is the worst day of your life.”

I will absolutely show Jayden the incredibly powerful speech that Hilary Clinton gave this morning, because she had a special message for young people, just like him. I want him to know that he is SO important today and everyday from now on. He is our future and it is important that he feels like he has a say in it.

If I can manage to hold it together during all of this, that will be a miracle. I’m picturing the three of us sitting in the kitchen crying, and it’s not pretty.