I wrote this piece a few days when my rage was in full force. I’m not a naturally aggressive person and it’s hard for me to hold on to this kind of anger for long, so I’ve returned to feeling tired and sad. Regardless, I still want to publish it, because it’s important for me to remember what this anger feels like. I should be angry. I should fight.
A few days ago, I wrote a blog post named “Exhausted.” I wrote about how tired I felt witnessing the sexism in this country and feeling it weigh down on me, especially during this election cycle.
I wrote that blog expecting that Hillary Clinton would be elected president.
I have cried so many times this week. I’ve cried because over two hundred years after its founding, the United States still does not have a Madam President. I’ve cried because now my little sister is going to reach adulthood with the highest glass ceiling still in place. I’ve cried because I was so passionate about Hillary and I am devastated that she will not be my president.
But that’s only the surface level. Truly, I’ve cried because I am heartbroken and I am terrified. What will happen to health care? What will happen to reproductive rights? What will happen to marriage equality? What will happen to my Muslim friends, my black friends, my hispanic friends? What will happen to the planet as climate change rages on? What will happen to my queer friends who were struggling to express themselves and have now been shot in the foot by a country they thought was starting to accept them? What will happen to my friends when they are sexually assaulted in a country where rape culture extends to the highest office? What will happen to groups who are already struggling so much: transgender people, undocumented immigrants, those with severe mental health problems?
I’ve never really understood the five stages of grief thing. The classic five stages are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On election night, I experienced… something like that.
Stage 1: Denial. I felt this for a few hours… or maybe a few years? I assured myself that the early results were just an abnormality. Hillary would win. It would swing back around any second. Any second…
Stage 2: Anger. I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch someone. I wanted to run for a hundred miles, until my body crumbled underneath me and had finally released all the rage I felt.
Stage 3: Bargaining. I didn’t bargain. Who am I, the godless heathen that I am, going to bargain with? Instead, this stage was swallowing my anger to remember the people in my life who needed me. I have friends across the country who were hurting just as badly as I was. Am.
Stage 4: Depression. I wanted my parents. I wanted someone to hug me and tell me it would be okay. But by now, everyone had gone to sleep and I was alone. I watched The West Wing until 5 am, weeping for a nation that didn’t exist.
Stage 5: Acceptance.
No, I do not accept.
I accept that this is reality, as much as it still feels like a nightmare. I accept that I am in a positive of privilege and therefore need to accept responsibility for working towards a better world. I accept that the world is not a kind place and that nothing will ever come easy.
I do not accept racism. I do not accept sexism. I do not accept xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, any goddamn “phobia” that’s just hatred of human beings.
At the end of my last blog, I promised to get angry. Well, I’m here, and I’m furious. If you come for my reproductive rights, I will fight. If you come for my right to marry whoever I love and not be discriminated against for it, I will fight. If you come for the rights of any of my loved ones, of any marginalized person, of anyone who does fit into a white, male, straight world, I will fight.
If you try to grab my pussy, I’ll think about my sister when I punch you in the face. It’s too late for me to build a better world for her, but I will fight like hell to make it better for our daughters.
I invite you to join me, especially if you are white and/or a man and have the ability to fight for others. And, I’ll be honest: I know what my analytics are. I know that you’re probably a white man. There’s a lot to be done in this country, and I believe in you and your ability to be part of progress.
Get involved in your community. Be aware of midterm elections and the issues on every ballot you can vote on. Write to your representatives at every level and make your voice heard. Donate to organizations that will need it in the next four years (I suggested ACLU or Planned Parenthood, to begin with). Volunteer for worthy causes. Campaign for politicians you believe in. Support, both privately and publicly, friends and strangers who are suffering. Do not, under any circumstances, allow hatred to happen in front of you without fighting against it.
The work starts now.