Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America.
Let us have a moment of silence for 2016.
This is has been an overall kinda shitty year hasn’t it? With the death of many beloved celebrities, The refugees crisis, natural disasters from Haiti to Cameroon, police brutality in the US, Trump moved from the court jester to an actual presidential nominee, more than 20 transgender women murdered as of September, the list goes on. But with hopeless optimism, we kept hoping that 2016 was going to do a plot twist on us and redeem itself with this here spectacle of an election. Alas…
I’m shock, a lot of us are in shock, but if you are part of a marginalized group, this is a particular kind of pain. Because even before this election, you constantly worried about your safety, but now in particular you wonder how much more you will have to endure under a president who blatantly expressed his disdain for Muslims, Hispanics, black folks, people with disabilities, women, essentially anyone who isn’t white and male. So here we are at the dawn of this election, just trying to get through the day. As you contemplate way to live through this, here are some ways to practice self-care.
Exercise your right to Block
You probably have a lot of people on your social media timeline expressing their inhibited joy for the election outcome, while you watch in horror wondering if these “friends” have ever cared about you as a black person, a woman, a queer person…etc. You will probably watch in horror, and question whether these people really do care about you, or at least people like you. If you are like me, you will probably wonder if maybe you’re overreacting, that maybe you should keep them around because you don’t want to transform your timeline or network into an echo chamber. But I tell you, don’t you dare feel guilty. There is a difference of opinion about economic policies, then there is a difference of opinion about who’s lives have values. One of these is non debatable. A person who supports Trump is telling you they could care less about your life so for your own good, let go and kick them out a la Spartans. Get generous with that block button!
Take a social media break, a break from work if you can afford, a break for the world
Evelyn wrote this skit regarding coping police brutality, but this definitely applies to this moment because we now have a president who publicly endorses the idea that black lives, that the lives of people of color and women just don’t hold any value. Let us all just take time off time to come to terms with this. Let us just sit with these news for a while, just do our best to breathe through, survive through the shock, gather ourselves, uplift ourselves. Just feel all your feelings fam, cry all the tears, ache in the anger, take in the terror, feel it all. it’s gonna be so hard, and we need to get through this. And don’t you dare listen to anybody trying to police your feelings or make you feel guilty for this rage. FEEL IT ALL do you hear me? feel it all! Take the time you need. It’s gonna be a minute.
Try to find some good in this catastrophe
This election has successfully siphoned the joy out of our lives, but in the midst of it a few things happened to spark some light into the darkness.
- Catherine Cortez Mastos was elected as the first ever Latina in the US Senate
- Kalama Harris was the first Indian American U.S Senator/ First Black Senator of California (her mother is Indian, father is Jamaican)
- Ilhan Oman was the first Somali-American Muslim legislator to be elected
These are just 3 of many reasons to not let this election overshadow moments of immense pride for these women and their accomplishments. I’m not telling you that it trumps Trump, but let us hold on to the beacon of light that these women gave us with their victories.
Practice Acceptance (repeat as needed)
Say it with me: Donald Trump is POTUS. Donald Trump is POTUS. Donald Trump is POTUS.
As I type this, I’m still in disbelief. There is a terror that is quickly slithering through my veins and trying its best to take me down. But I have to accept this. Voldemort and his horcrux the toupee, have made it to Washington D.C, and the Dementors are spreading despair and hysteria. And here I am, telling you to accept it. I know this seems absurd. Why would we ever accept that the cheetos king has made it to la Maison Blanche? Pema Chodron said it best, “Suffering comes from wishing things were different. Misery is self-inflicted, when we are expecting the “ideal”. Acceptance isn’t about celebrating the truth, it’s about making peace with it so its weight doesn’t drag you down to the Abyss. Right now, part of the sinking feeling we have in our chest is from the desperate zone that this must be an episode of the Twilight Zone and soon we will all wake to realize that 2016 was all a dream. But it’s not the case at all and we must come to terms with this however long it takes. Acceptance is not just about calming your own anxiety, but it’s also a matter of emotional efficiency. The sooner you surrender to this daunting truth, the soon you can focus your energy and resources to community building. And this is going to be a process. A long process. Maybe it will even take you the whole 4 years to accept his presidency, but don’t waste time in denial. We got things to do guys. Which brings me to the next point.
Seek Community, Build Community
Check in with people who are part of your close circle, to ask how they are doing. This is especially important for people who are at the margins of society because you know that your already dwindling safety is further compromised; not just by the president elect, but the people who voted for him as well. Check in with each other, take a day off if you can afford it, talk with your children, have uplifting discussion within your groups. If anything good can come out of this election, it’s the fact that more than ever, we have to practice solidarity and get in the trenches for each other’s wars.
For me, this perhaps might be the most important step because doing something, is how I cope with disenfranchisement. I mean that we must try and not spend too much time pointing the finger to an “out there” source of the problem. This is a practice that steals your power and leaves you feeling hopeless, while also exonerating you from your own crimes against marginalized community whether by silence or active disempowerment. More than ever, we have to figure out what sustainable, intersectional, introspective solidarity looks like. What can we do for one another? Show up for transgender communities, continue to support Standing Rock, support the fight against racism, speak out against Islamophobia, stand with refugees. What progress look like within the community? How do we show up for one another?
Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America.
Who would’ve thunk it? But here we are.
Isabelle Masado writes about body compassion on her blog "The Dear Body Project". She knows all too well that the personal is the political, is the community. As such, there is no discussing body compassion without talking about the assault on black bodies, trans women, and people with disabilities. Her mantra is, "How can I live in a way that makes room for you too"? She writes to examine, to heal, to redeem.