There’s a deep sense of somberness that I felt all day today, the day that Donald Trump has officially been elected as the next President of the United States of America. Today, I was much more cognizant of my surroundings, the people I interacted with, the modes of transportation I took and being very intentional with truly seeing everything for what it was in the moment.
Instead of driving to the city, I decided to take the train. I wanted to be upfront and feel the presence of others around me, see their faces and read their emotions instead of focusing on being behind the wheel.
The majority of the people on the train were black, and I wondered what they felt. Some folks looked despondent, younger kids with their backpacks hung their heads with headphones in and the most engaging group of people I saw were communicating with each other through sign language. In essence, it was more silent than usual, and you could feel a sense of depletion as everyone just tried to put one foot forward and continue on with their lives.
People are just trying to survive. To make it. With any support that they have.
Maybe the fact that DT is the new President Elect hasn’t affected everyone. Maybe this was just another day for most people, and I’m a bit jealous of those with political apathy.
Watching the results come in last night with my dad was tough - as he laughed and gained excitement as the shock came over him that more states turned from yellow to blue to red, permanently. His definition of a 'good time' is different from mine, especially when it comes to politics, but what I’ve come to terms with is that I’m very grateful that I was able to watch this unfold with him. In a past life he was a political journalist, possibly a president, and the turn of events during every part of this election and each campaign has made this an exciting time for him. There wasn't enough wine for us to come to terms of the reality of what transpired at 2am (or 3am? I can't remember), but what I know to be true is that the results put a stamp on what America was built upon - greed, racism, bigotry, white supremacy.
I believe the results of this election has exposed everyone and everything. All cards are out on the table for all to see, and there’s nothing left but to fight in order to heal the wounds. The wounds exposed of the underrepresented, marginalized and unheard. It’s not easy, and compromises have to happen if the end goal is for us to be better, together - no matter what our differences are.
I’m grateful for the friends and family who’ve reached out to me - a support system is ever so needed during times like this.
So what do I want to say?
Life is hard. There are terrible people out there, and now more than ever we have to remain courageous and be resilient if we ever want to get to peace and unity for all. It may not happen in my lifetime, but it’s worth striving for - for our future generations. It’s not about us. It’s about what’s possible.
But in order for us to even get to what’s possible, we have to face what is directly in front of us. And that means facing fears, having difficult conversations, and exposing truths - whether you agree with them or not.
So what helps getting through times like this? Taking time to sit with your thoughts and feelings - and understand that these do not define you. Acknowledge the joys and pains of what’s happening when you’re silent, and know that you’re not alone in these thoughts. They’re all valid. What's helped for me is that taking the time to sit in this silence, to disconnect from the media, to meditate (and not fighting what comes up) is ever prevalent when I go through tumultuous times. Using the tools that I know from an app like Headspace, or books like Deep Work and Waking Up, this is what it’s for. To navigate during the difficult times and being able to not only see the light ahead, but become the light for others to see themselves.
Also, action cures fear forever and always. Take the time that's needed (#selfcare), but also use these setbacks as more drive that lights the fire within to create work that you care about, work that helps others be better people to others.
Change can be hard, but it’s the only thing that’s constant. We might as well learn how to navigate the trenches thoughtfully, by being kind to ourselves and by developing a sense of empathy so we’re able to cultivate a promising path for those to follow our lead.