Election Blues

Garden nasturtium at a black fence. Panorama

By Dana Sturtevant, MS, RD

 

I chose to go to sleep before the election was called.

I woke up and avoided the phone, enjoying the stillness while trying to prepare myself for what I was about to find out.

Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know that I am breathing out.

And then the bomb dropped. President Trump.

My heart sank. My gut wrenched.

Shock.

I have to facilitate a group in a little while. How the hell am I going to do this right now?

This is my work. This little corner of the world is mine to transform.

And so I got dressed. Brushed my teeth. Washed my face.

Stunned.

As I was about to leave my room at Kripalu, the depth of what just happened hit me and I started to sob. How are people of color going to leave their homes today? The Muslim people who call this country home? The immigrants, “legal and illegal?” The transgender community?

I climbed into the arms of the man I love. A good man. One who is also on the transition team.

I headed out the door, looking out at Lake Mahkeenac as the sun came up like it was just another ordinary day. But I knew it was not. What a gift it was to be in this sacred space that has taught me so much about loving the hell out of people.

I headed into the dining room overlooking the lake, and met eyes with the amazing woman I’m blessed to call my business partner and best friend. I lost it. I ran into her arms. She hugged me like the wonderful mother she is. We wept together, while most of the other women in the room sat stunned, gazing into the distance.

“We’ve got work to do,” we said to each other.

I walked into the cafeteria to get some fuel for the day, wondering how I was going to eat when my stomach was in knots.

I expected to see lots of people crying, or at least with bloodshot, puffy eyes like mine. Instead, more stunned faces gazing off into the distance. Breakfast is a silent meal at Kripalu, but the silence was different.

Four middle-aged, white women sat on one side of a long table with blank stares.

Oh, this is what trauma looks like.

Sadness rose up. More tears.

Some women seemed not to know what had happened, more pre-occupied by the organic food that was about to nourish their bodies, wondering if it was made with the right flour, sugar, fat.

Distraction.

The truth?

My day-to-day life won’t be that affected by this administration. I’m…

White. Middle-class.
Married to a man.
Covered by employer-provided health insurance.
Barren.

I have…

No children I have to explain this to.
No children that could be drafted into fighting a war for these war mongers.
No children I’m leaving a ravaged planet to because of these climate deniers.

I live in a safe neighborhood in a progressive community.

My skin tone is safe. My body size passes without much judgment.

I can stay here and hide.

I can numb out if I want to and it won’t affect my cute, little life.

I get to choose when some don’t have a choice.

I can deny that this man has shined a light on the dark, shadow side of the country in which I live—a side marginalized communities have known all along exists in the good ole U.S. of A. A country sometimes called the greatest nation on earth. A country that still has the potential to become the greatest nation on earth.

People have been given permission to hate, sometimes in the name of God. Say it loud and proud, just like him.

More sadness. More anger. More tears.

How? Why?

I see the suffering, and
I see the goodness.

Today…

I can’t sleep.
I’m awake.
I will stay present.
I choose hope instead of despair.

I stay open, my heart without armor.

I don’t shrink back.
And I try not to puff up.
I choose to stand my sacred ground.

I will not be silent.

I decide to send loving kindness to all beings. ALL beings. Every. Single. One.

May all beings be safe.
May all beings be healthy.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings live with ease.

To the black, indigenous and people of color…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the LGBTQ+ community…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the people who voted for him, for her, for third parties, and the ones who did not vote…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the terrorized and the terrorists…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the honest and the corrupt…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the abused and the abusers…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the men and women who’ve internalized the patriarchy…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To the “legal and illegal” immigrants…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

To my colleagues and friends fighting for social justice…

May you be safe.
May you be healthy.
May you be happy.
May you live with ease.

Today, I see the suffering. I see the goodness.

I vow to not limit my activism to social media.

I will lend my voice to the voiceless, the silenced, the nameless, the “othered.”

Today, I vow to be a warrior for love, for light, for equity and justice for ALL.

Comments

  1. Jules says

    This post really resonated with me. It’s difficult to keep hope alive in my heart after the election & subsequent administration choices. Thank you for providing inspiration on how not to become bitter.

  2. Elsie says

    Even as the days and weeks have passed since the election, this resonates! We are all still asking how could this have happened. Yet as the answers are playing out, even the recent ones regarding Russia’s role and the role of false news, it seems so impossible. Thank you for writing to reassure us all that the trauma we feel/felt is real. Also, for helping us see it all as a call to speak up, speak out, and act. As a person who for years reached for food to numb the hurt, the traumas, it would be easy to hide in this upcoming holiday season with cookies, with cake, with candy. But going numb can only be in that first few days as we were wondering if we were dreaming. I love your prayer, you poetry to make love, hope peace and compassion and safety be with ourselves and then to shine out into the world. For me it hits close to home: my Jewish son-in-law, my precious grandson who is lovingly being raised by parents who are cherishing the traditions and heritage of both Christianity and Jewish beliefs, of my two cousins who are gay and their spouses, of my niece and her husband “of color”, of dear friends who are Muslim, Hispanic, immigrants……. Thank you!