Last night was rough. This morning is worse. Six hours of working the polls, attending a Democratic Watch Party that started going south very quickly, and hours of waiting…till 2…3am in the morning. With very few hours of sleep in between the time I went to bed and when I had to get up, I am drained. I am disheartened.
I am heartbroken, but I am not shocked.
I had to look into my daughter’s eyes this morning when she woke up, and give her the bad news. The first question out of her mouth, before she even opened her eyes was, “Who won?”
If she would have opened her eyes first, she would have seen the answer clearly written on my face.
This morning was rough. My husband and daughter our Jewish, and I am agnostic; our friends are as diverse as our planet. Knowing that the America I live in elected a person like Donald Trump is horrifying. Knowing that myself, my daughter and husband, and the majority of my friends, do not fit into the narrow worldview of his most ardent supporters is scary.
So I need a small break. Some time to process, to come to terms with where do we go from here. How I can help my daughter…my family…my friends…feel safe for the next four years.
Please don’t construe my melancholy, it is not caused by an election not going my way. It stems from a belief long-held that Americans generally care for one another, and look out for each other. That we, as a whole, look out for those who have less, or are treated as less. I thought that we were better than this.
It is going to take some time for me to cope with a fundamental shaking of that core belief.
I understand that not all of you feel the same way I do. Difference is the spice of life, and I respect that. Please respect my need for some meditative solitude right now.
Until then, here is one of my favorite poems by the esteemed Maya Angelou. You can watch her reciting it here. I have come back to this poem so many times in my life (and too many time to count in 2016 alone), and it always helps to give me the strength to deal with setbacks.
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.