I had just barely arrived in Austin, TX for our vacation, when I woke up to the news that we were to have a President Trump. Lying in bed, I felt that one-two gut punch of shock and disbelief, followed up by a greasy, queasy dread that has wrapped its way around my spine, and where it still resides today, every second. Even though I was traveling with a group of people who I know would perfectly, completely understand my feelings…at 8am on November 9th, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed for 10 minutes straight.
I’m not one for political discourse. I never have been. I hold my beliefs closely and I don’t talk about them. I don’t engage with people or debate them. I don’t know if that’s just because I am a quiet person and I don’t talk with anyone about much of anything, or if it’s more to do with me keeping my mouth shut about things I don’t know very much about. It’s hard to say something stupid if you don’t say anything at all, right?
I’ve been thinking about this all week long as we traversed the streets of Austin agonizing over an indigestion caused more, I think, by the current state of events than all the tacos and barbecue that I was somehow still managing to eat. I don’t think this “keep your mouth shut” policy has served me well in the past and I fear that that it is not going to do much for me going forward either. On the evening before we returned home, my youngest sister asked me if I was going to be writing about any of this mess on my blog; “I don’t know”, I dithered hesitantly, “I mean, I don’t even know what I’d say?”
She told me that, in the blogs she reads, no one is saying anything about any of this -the election, the candidates, their personal fears or hopes regarding the results–no one, she says, brings it up at all. Now, I don’t know whether these blogs are beauty or food or fashion or craft-related, and who are we to dictate what someone else writes on their own blog, anyway, right? And that maybe by veering from their normal content, or sharing feelings on strong subject matter, these bloggers fear they might lose readers and followers. I thought about it, and asked her, as a frequent reader of these blogs, what is it that she would like to read, what is it that she wants these bloggers and writers and content producers to say?
“Something,” she replied. “Anything.”
And with that in mind, I am telling you–you, as someone who reads this blog and who may be interested in my thoughts–that I am feeling heartbroken, disillusioned (and terribly, stupidly naive for it), and desperately frightened. Though I do mostly write about fashion and fripperies and light-hearted nonsense here on my blog, perhaps it helps you to know that I think about other things as well, even if I do not give them voice here. To be perfectly honest, I have a great fear of talking/writing about why I am so distressed and alarmed right now. That maybe I am not saying these things properly, that I am not using the right words. That what I am trying to say is less valid, because I don’t have as much experience articulating them.
I am frightened and angry. This horrid man, this vulgar, racist, misogynist, corrupt candidate, was not the president I wanted. And if I feel that way, if I can hardly see through the tears in my eyes or speak through the now permanent lump in my throat–what about my friends who do not have access to the same privileges that I do, as a mostly middle-class, cis white woman? What about my non-binary friends or my POC friends or otherwise-marginalized friends? You’re no doubt terrified and furious and I’m not so blind that I don’t know that you always have been and this is nothing different. Except now I am starting to feel it, more, too. (Even now my pulse rate is quickening with anxiety talking about this. Am I saying any of this right? I love my friends and don’t want to think that I’m hurting them on top of everything else they are already going through, with my guilty white lady talk.)
Honestly, I don’t think about this blog as something with “followers”. You guys are friends. I am not writing for countless random eyeballs; I am writing mostly for me; either to amuse myself or to get something nebulous out of my head and into tangible words, to try to make sense of it. Either exercises or an exorcism, I guess. Otherwise, I write for folks who already know me on some level, or for someone out in the ether to stumble across, and say “oh, yes, yes, I relate to that, and now I know there is someone who feels like this, too!”
I am not worried about losing readers and followers, much in the same sense that I am not concerned with gaining any. That’s not why this space is here.
One reason it is here, though, is that I know you folks–my friends and loved ones–are reading. And listening. And thinking. And I’d love to know your thoughts on this. I don’t want to be a nuisance person who worries and frets without making a move to do something positive. What do you do, when you don’t know what to do? What are you folks doing to contribute, to help, to move forward? If you are comfortable doing so, please share and talk to me/us here about it. I have to believe I am not the only one who is looking for some suggestions here.
Where to start? There is so much I don’t know. I don’t even know how much it is that I don’t know. I know I have a lot of work to do, and I have to start somewhere. Why not with education? First and foremost of myself. I’m tired of feeling afraid that I am too clueless to contribute, and if there is one thing I know I can do, and do it well, is read and learn. I’m also not too bad at collecting, organizing and disseminating information; here are some links I have found, though, post-election.
I hope to check back in and revisit this soon. I have a lot to learn, and even more to do.