I don’t want to get political.
I really don’t. And I won’t.
I will say, however, that I urged my fellow family members and friends to vote. I posted on my social media accounts to please, for the love of God, go vote. I spent a good chunk of time sorting through my feelings with my fingers on a keyboard the day before the election. I then proceeded to share these very personal, somewhat uncomfortable thoughts/events/feelings with all of you on Monday evening, as over 1,000 of you have now read that blog post in the past 48 hours.
As in touch with my feelings as I may have been Monday and Tuesday… Wednesday morning was unlike anything I’ve felt in a long time… And truth be told, I didn’t allow myself to feel it for long.
Tuesday: I got my people to the polls. I shared my story. I swelled with so much pride seeing the lines at the polls, seeing everyone posting their photo with their “I Voted” sticker on Facebook and Instagram. I made the executive decision that I would NOT watch any election coverage on Tuesday. So at 7PM, I turned my phone off and left it on the kitchen counter. We then proceeded to our basement bedroom with all the dogs, junk food, and a joint. We let ourselves fall asleep to the sweet sound of “Friends” on Netflix. .
It was out of my hands now. There was nothing else I could do. It’ll be OK. She’s going to win…maybe not by much…but she’s going to win.
My oblivion was blissful.
Wednesday: Wake up at 7AM. Jon gets up for work. I ask him to turn on his phone and check.
“This can’t be right…. No. No…this can’t be right. Trump won.”
I’ll probably never forget what those words felt like. How they knocked the wind right out of me when I first heard them. I jumped out of bed and went upstairs to my phone. I turned it on and there was just buzz after buzz after buzz with about 20 text messages I had missed through the night/early morning from friends and family in complete disbelief. The thought dawned on me, “Holy shit, Rachel. Half of America has been feeling all sorts of shit while you slept.”
Another punch to the chest.
It’s now 7:20AM. I get on Facebook and start scrolling and it’s not fake. It happened. I immediately find my “medicinal green” and light up. I can’t process this right now. It’s grey & foggy outside. It’s early. Just don’t feel it right now. (And no Mom, I’m not a pothead/wake and baker.)
So I didn’t.
All day long.
I didn’t get on my phone. I didn’t turn on cable. I watched the 2nd season of “Friends” on Netflix. I wanted Rachel Green’s problems in the mid-90’s. I wanted nothing to do with Rachel Williams in 2016 problems.
I picked up my guitar. I scribbled down thoughts. But then I decided that I didn’t want to think just yet so I went back to “Friends”. There’s no way I can put into words, let alone, a song about what I should be feeling right now. What so many of us are feeling right now.
When my boyfriend came home from work, I decided that we should go out for dinner. I needed to get out of these four walls, off of this couch, out of my numbness.
We walked into a couple of neighborhood bars. On the flat screens behind the bar area was either CNN/FOX/MSNBC. “I cannot,” I told myself and then walked directly out of their establishment. Got lucky on my 3rd bar. All they were playing were the Detroit Red Wings I breathed a sigh of relief.
I ordered up some chicken tenders and a vodka soda. I talked with Jon about his weird day at work. I told him about how insanely funny “Friends” is and how there were so many episodes I’d forgotten about. Then halfway through my second drink, I looked around…
Everyone was cool.
Everyone was drinking and eating.
The sky had fallen and yet, here we all were.
Maybe some of them voted Clinton. Maybe some of them voted Trump. Maybe some of them didn’t vote at all. Either way…I just watched.
I watched as people inhaled and exhaled, laughed, high-fived, sipped their IPA….
And then it dawned on me.
We are all in this together.
There is no “me” and then “them”. Our future President is the same. Whether you are Taylor Swift or Kanye West, whether you are gay or straight, whether you are Mormon or atheist, whether you are an immigrant or born/raised/die in Detroit. Whether you are feeling victorious right now or whether you are feeling confused and heavy-hearted, like myself.
I know it may sound naïve or idealistic, but I have to believe that there is no black or white, gay or straight, poor or rich, right wing or left wing…there is hate and there is love.
The haters were going to be there REGARDLESS, loud & proud, whether it was Trump or Clinton in the White House. All you need to do is scroll your Facebook newsfeed to see that.
I won’t do it.
There’s a million things I could say about the hateful posts I’ve read. The videos I’ve seen go viral. The words that our President-elect has said that have hurt. The fears I have for my African American peers and my homosexual friends, including my homosexual brother. (Nobody better fuck with my brother.)
But I won’t.
Because in the end, my hate says nothing about me except that I don’t love myself enough to love those around me. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I have vowed to show myself love and compassion and respect every, single day…even when it feels undoable. Even if it’s just in the slightest, most microscopic of amounts some days. So I will do the same for others.
Whether they’re racist or whether they’re just Republican or whether they just hated Hillary Clinton…I will show love…even if it’s just in forgiveness.
I will rise strong. We will rise strong. If Hillary Clinton can make it through a concession speech, I sure as hell can get through my Wednesday, my Thursday, and every day after that…
And I will start by making the conscious effort to get my face out of my fucking phone. Out of fucking Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. I will start by practicing what I preach.
I will thank this election for making me more self-aware. For making me more aware of the people around me. For making sure this big crack in my armor heals and grows stronger than it ever was before. For truly making me feel united with so many of my fellow Americans…because we know we can do better.
Don’t just type the words.
BE the words.
Now that we see the division, don’t hide behind the wall….
Build the bridge.
Build the bridge with no intention of burning it.