I spent the whole day after Election Day 2016 crying at work.
I was devastated. I was terrified. I felt betrayed by my country and began playing witch-hunt games in my mind.
Who in this room right now voted for HIM?
Am I safe?
Who wants me dead?
Who wants to take away my rights?
Who wants to subject me to conversion therapy?
I was on a downward spiral. Partly numb, partly in utter disbelief, and partly just struggling to stay afloat.
Friends were jumping on social media, speaking out, going to protests and rallies, calling senators and representatives.
And I was immobilized.
I didn’t want to think about it. Dwell upon it. Acknowledge it.
I had spent the past year finally getting to a healthy emotional state, and this was whacking me in my kneecaps, attempting to make me buckle.
I felt guilty. I have an intense phone phobia, so every time I saw my friends post pleas to make phone calls to politicians, I felt more and more ashamed. It heightened my anxiety every time I even SAW one of those posts.
I read think-pieces about peoples’ predictions about what a Trump presidency might look like, and I couldn’t make it through.
I had to turn off podcasts I regularly listen to just focusing on news and issues of intersectionality in a humorous way, because hearing any mention of the recent events would make me feel nauseated.
And I made sure that, on my solo trip halfway across the country back home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, this queer girl with a shaved head looked thoroughly shapeless and wore a hat to attempt to disguise my visible queerness. For my own safety. I was terrified driving through Amish country in Pennsylvania as I saw Trump’s name emblazoned on the side of barns, or Ohio or Michigan. I was so sure that if I got out of the car for gas at the wrong exit, I could become another hate crime statistic.
Thankfully, nothing happened, but I braved 52 hours of solo travel in this fear over a six week period.
When I was at my parents’ house over the holidays, the television was always on, and I was constantly barraged with news about the topic. I had to request that, on Christmas eve, we not watch such a thing. There was no way I could handle any more of it during The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.
Reality is setting in. With every new cabinet appointment, with every asinine tweet, with every newly-emboldened move by Congress, the fear trudges back into my mind. The inauguration is next week, and Shit Is Officially Getting Real.
And still, I feel so guilty about my inaction. My In-Activism.
I keep telling myself that it’s more important to keep my mental health right. I’m not in a state of denial. I know it’s all happening, and I feel utterly powerless. At this point, I need to practice self-care. And for me, self-care is avoiding these things that instantly send me into a state of anxiety and depression.
I saw so many people posting about Obama’s farewell address the other night, but my heart just couldn’t handle watching it. My heart is so full of sorrow and fear about losing My President.
I don’t know what my solution will be. I know I will ultimately need to do something. I know that I will settle into reality in some way.
Please know that I’m not complacent. I’m just trying to get by in the only way I know how.