I woke up this morning with a feeling of uncertainty and fear so bottomless, so stark, it’s kind of giving me vertigo. I haven’t felt this level of sheer despair and impotence since I was forced into a plane, with no saying of my own, to come to the United States.
I feel I am having PTSD flashback of that moment, when I refused to cry and the tears and terror were choking my throat and making it hard to breathe. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me with unrelenting focus, knowing that if I blinked, or thought, or spoke, I would break.
In the fourteen years, I’ve lived in this great country I have been called a spic to my face once. I have gotten mean comments on my blog calling me a beaner, but to me internet trolls don’t count. Maybe because of that I never truly believed that Trump would be elected. His vitriolic words, his rampant sexism, his ugly view of all Muslims, his mockery of the disabled was so over the top that I thought, naively, that those feelings were not reflected in the heart of others.
It makes me wonder what feelings people had been hiding when they look at me. Do they wish to say “go back to your country” and knew it was not PC and therefore bit their tongue? Do they feel now that they can do it, since the President Elect of this country so freely does?
I am scared. I am scared because all these years I have felt safe in the knowledge that this country was a shelter for all, I am scared for my mother, whose immigration process has yet to be completed. I am scared for my cousins who are also in the process of legalization. I am afraid for my rights as a woman and what laws that protect me will be the first to be repealed. I am afraid that there are so many, many people who saw all this hate pandering and saw it as inspiring.
Was it silly of me to think we all want to be united, together, as one, no color or race? Have I been listening to too much Imagine by Lennon? Was I burying my head under the sand, ignorant of the rotting core of this country? It’s not the party I am against. I lived through one Bush administration with no problem. It’s the name calling and the wall-building, and the fear mongering and the seeds of racism and bigotry that are sprouting in the hearts of others.
I am afraid for the state of the relationship with my husband who fails to understand in all his straight white man privilege that HE has nothing to fear, but I DO. The same way he belittles that fear we all woman have of walking in dark alleys because we are conditioned since infancy to fear a predatory attack from a random man. A fear my husband feels is exaggerated and does not understand because empathy is a concept he never grasped. The same way so many other people in this country apparently don’t either.
There is a weight in my soul, not because Hillary didn’t win and we didn’t get our first woman president (which would’ve been awesome), not because Trump won…but because he won the way he did, spouting divisiveness and hatred and racism and bigotry.
Now they say we must rally behind him, but is he going to rally behind us? The people he mocked and threatened? The millions he put down and called rapists, the ones he sees as property to maul and inappropriately touch?
The truth is, he doesn’t scare me, he doesn’t worry me, he isn’t the one breaking my heart. The people who I share this country with, my neighbors, the ones around me who voted for him, those are the ones who scare me, who worry me, who made me feel like I can’t trust because I don’t know what is festering in their heart.
I will try to focus on the 2% difference. The small 2% that cost the election. That is a big number of people, who fight for good and inclusiveness and what is right.
I wonder how long it will take for this feeling to dissipate. I remember what shook me off my stupor when I first got into this country, it was a very small moment, listening to music from back home in a Sears store. Maybe something equally insignificant will shake off this feeling of dread.
I will go home and hug my cat and my dog who have no idea what is going on and wait for hope to rekindle in my heart…for now, it’s pretty fucking bleak there.