Tuesday night was a very late night in my household, so the husband and I were understandably exhausted on Wednesday. But Thursday morning we woke up, still sluggish.
“I went to bed so early last night but I’m still tired.”
“I think it’s because of everything that happened these last few days.”
“I feel like my soul is exhausted.”
It definitely is.
One of my catchphrases is “It’s okay to not be okay.” I say this when people are sad but trying to keep it together, often to their detriment. It’s a granting of permission to feel feelings and remove the pressure to quickly move on from them.
This is one of those times.
A racist, sexist, xenophobic, unintelligent, White Nationalist, sexual predator who was endorsed by the KKK was just elected president by people who thought that all of those things were okay. And even if they don’t believe those things to be okay, they voted for him anyway. Must be nice to believe that you can burn your country to the ground and you’ll still come out okay.
I don’t have that privilege. I have many privileges, but that’s not one of them. I’m not White.
A majority of White voters decided that America was better off when only White people had power, and voted to get that reality back. It’s not surprising, as there is plenty of historical precedence for this. Progress that threatens the White supremacist patriarchy (aka: the status quo) is always halted. After Reconstruction, we got Jim Crow. After Brown vs. Board of Education, we got White flight to segregated suburbs and active resistance to integration. After the Civil Rights Act, we got the War on “Drugs.” After Obama was elected in 2008, we got voter ID laws. After 2012, the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act.
(And that’s just the race stuff.)
And now, after the country was led successfully for eight scandal-free years full of economic recovery and social gains, we get a racist, sexist, xenophobic, unintelligent, White Nationalist, sexual predator who was endorsed by the KKK.
Despite all of this, we still have to go on. We still have to function knowing that the country (still) hates us. Knowing that a large number of the people we come into contact with voted for this person. They endorsed him. They heard all of the terrible things he said about minority groups, took in all of his horrific policy ideas, watched him pick an anti-woman/science/LGBTQ/economy VP, and were like “Yeah, but…” (Or they were like, “Fuck yeah!” but those people aren’t the surprise.)
I don’t know about you, but I’ve side eyeing a lot of people over the last 36ish hours. And I’m exhausted.
Going to work this morning took Herculean effort. But I still need to be here. (Now more than ever since who the hell knows what’s going to happen to the economy.) And, even when the sting of electing a racist, sexist, xenophobic, unintelligent, White Nationalist, sexual predator who was endorsed by the KKK wears off, the fact that the people I interact with on a daily basis allowed this to happen will still be the same. I work with outwardly decent people. The institution that I currently serve has some very forward-thinking ideals.
It was our supposed allies who let us down. Not us. We didn’t let us down. We did what we had to do, they didn’t. We didn’t do this to ourselves. This was done to us. But we should have expected this.
Thankfully, it’s not everybody. Far too many, but not everybody. I’m not in this boat alone. I’m not paddling through the murky waters of the Holyshityallreallydidthis River all by myself.
It’s a small thing to hold on to, but it’s something.
Throughout the history of this country we’ve had things done to us. Super fucked up things. We shouldn’t have to still fight the battles that generations before us fought, but we do because clearly they weren’t won. Now we know why it’s so important to continue. Now we know that we shouldn’t become complacent with superficial progress. Now we remember why it’s imperative to keep fighting.
Some of us knew this, but now it’s clear to everyone. There is work to do. I truly hope that translates into more people who want to do the work.
But in the meantime?
Just get through the day.
Then the week.
But don’t lose the fight. Even when you lose the fight, don’t ever lose your fight. That’s all we have. The racist, sexist, xenophobic, unintelligent, White Nationalist, sexual predator who was endorsed by the KKK won’t fight for us. The people who elected him won’t fight for us. Our progress is not of their concern. All we can count on to fight for us is us.
But rest when you need to rest. Take a break when it gets to be too much. You’re not a superhero, nor should you try to be. It’s okay not to be Super Woman. You’re still super.
It’s okay to not to be okay right now.
It’s okay to not want to deal with this shit right now.
Just exist for as long as you need to.
The fight will be ready for you when you’re ready to fight.