On Tuesday, I posted a 12-Step Guide on how to cope if your presidential candidate lost that night. In all honesty, I didn’t expect to actually be the one needing it.
But when I attempted to fall asleep Tuesday night, around midnight, I couldn’t help but think about all the things in my life that may change: would my 401K be affected? The amount of annual taxes I owe? Would I have access to my choice of birth control or should I get an implant before January? Would my insurance rates change? My deductibles? Will there really be a wall at the edge of my state? Will my risk of being shot and killed in public increase? Will it still be safe to fly and/or travel overseas? Will there still be free press?
Frankly, I don’t know the answers to many of these things, and I suppose we will all be finding out soon enough. I’ve had my candidate lose before, and it sucks, big time.
But this election was emotional. There was so much hate and drama and sometimes, it seemed like it would never end. But when I voted, I wasn’t necessarily voting for a person. I was voting for the things I believe in – to my core. I was voting for equality – for myself, for my gay friends, for my non-white friends, for immigrants.
I was voting for my right to choose what happens to my body. I do not want any man grabbing my genitals without my consent (and my consent is never happening). I am not okay with rape. And I am not okay with a man, especially a man who does not know me, making decisions about my reproductive health.
So, when the results were tallied, I wasn’t upset about the person. I was scared for myself; scared for minorities, scared for women; scared for our country. The results put clearly – in red and blue – what we already knew: that making America “Great Again” really means moving backward, and taking away the rights of progressives. And now, we know that a lot of Americans cannot wait for our rights to be stripped; our bodies taken advantage of; and literal walls to be built between us. We’re one step away from a field of ovens.
And it’s terrifying.
But, I’ve spent a lot of my life being scared. And I’ve found that being scared makes me do things I probably wouldn’t normally do. And when you’re put out of your comfort zone, growth happens.
We cannot live these four years in fear. Now is not the time to be silenced. So, where do we go from here? I say, we keep working for the rights we so desperately want. Whether it be on a local, state, or national level – we can still get to work.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
With that said, I’m on the hunt for causes I can be a part of. Here are some things I’m thinking:
- Volunteering at Planned Parenthood – info here
- Volunteering to help victims of domestic violence
- Getting involved in local politics
- Becoming a Reading Partner – info here
- Volunteering and/or donating to a Boys & Girls Club – info here
If you have any additional participation, volunteering, or donating ideas, I would love to hear them!
Having said that, though, don’t think that making a difference has to come in giant projects or overtaking commitments. Frankly, talking helps. Finding people you can share your beliefs and passions with spurs positive action.
Other things I’m doing to cope? Watching less news. I will never blame the media for this and will always stand up for the rights of the press and the jobs that journalists do. However, I’m limiting myself to just a few minutes of news in the morning, and that’s it. I don’t want to watch long, repetitive news programs that will probably stress me out.
I will also be limiting my time on social media, particularly Facebook. I have already deleted my Facebook app, which cuts down on mindless scrolling that leads to unnecessary stress.
What will I do with all my extra time? Well, aside from volunteering, I can spend more time reading, and of course, watching “Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party” on VH1. No, seriously.
And I’m not trying to make light of the situation, but I do know that we’ll get through this, and we can do it cooly and in a way that helps others, while helping ourselves.