i went to bed last night already knowing. i looked at the picture of my 97 year old grandmother, who yesterday acknowledged that this could be the last election she may be alive for--i promptly told her to stop talking, after she voted. i looked at the picture of my smiling face after i voted.
i had sat and done the math and while no one on the television was willing to admit it and while friends of mine said to keep hope alive, i knew. i climbed into bed, put my phone on silent, and closed my eyes.
oddly enough, i slept better than i have the last few weeks. i think, in part, because there was nothing to be done. i went to bed knowing the outcome of this election process and now i had to come to terms with it.
still at 6am, i stared out the window, refusing to look at my phone. i didn't want to read the words "president-elect". i didn't want to see the text messages from family and friends. i stared for a while and then finally bit the bullet. and there it was. confirmation.
and then i felt them...tears.
i am an emotionally odd person, i feel. in that i can be a champion at crying, but not at the things you'd expect. i've not cried at funerals of family members, but i have cried at particularly sad commercials. and so as much as i knew i felt gutted, i didn't expect the tears to appear.
and with the tears i realized just how scared i am.
i've been saying i am scared, but before it was in the abstract. it wasn't in front of me. now it is here. the reality is here. as jay smooth (and lots of others) said, hate won last night. sexism won last night. racism won last night. homophobia won last night. white, patriarchal supremacy won last night. i've been well aware of the fact that much of this country could give a damn about me because of my race and gender and now they feel vindicated. now they feel heard. and now who knows what will be said and done all under the image of the american flag. for weeks people told me it couldn't happen and there was always part of me that knew it could. because there were people who felt this lost with obama and while i can't comprehend that, i know they exist. because there are people who truly believe supporting many of the freedoms i find obvious is a dangerous proposition. because they are just as adamant as i am. because history has shown us this. history has shown people's true colors. and we like to think that we are past certain moments in time, we like to think that we are smarter than those before, and we aren't. we are different, but we aren't smarter and we aren't any less selfish and we aren't any less hate filled.
i may not be a body on a plantation, but it does not mean that there are no people in this country that believe i still belong there because i am less than human. and the worst part...some of the people who think that have sat next to me and claimed me as a friend.
i sat up and thought of the things that scare me. personally. the little and the big things that may change over the next four years. the practical things and the emotional things. i thought of my friends and what they are afraid of losing. i thought of how easily my brain had made some switches, already made edits. i thought of how i used to say i wanted kids sooner rather than later and how this pretty much secures me not having a child before i am 35.
i also thought of how i learned about history. world history. and i remember learning about the roman empire and just how large and powerful it was. and i am remember thinking that if something that big and powerful eventually fell then that meant the US would eventually fall too. and i thought of how i've been wondering, with all of this difference and hatred spewing, if this was the beginning of the fall and i woke up today pretty sure that we were at the start of it.
anyway, i found myself crying. i find myself crying.
and then of course here i am writing. i have a number of plays i am working on and to be honest only two right now seem important. because they discuss race and gender. because they discuss history. i know we need entertainment. i know we need escape. but right now the idea of continuing with some of my work seems ridiculous. maybe i'll feel better later.
tonight claudia rankine is coming to my class. i am hoping she will give me some guidance on how to use writing to combat the things i am scared of, the people who i am scared of. i will read citizen again today and breathe.
my boyfriend wrapped his arms around me this morning and i leaned back and i almost cried again and then we talked about how we are going to have to get to work--doing work we were already doing, adding work we didn't think we'd have to do.
and so we will. it starts today guys. the work starts now.