Friends, I haven’t posted in almost 2 weeks. Like I said the other day, I’ve had writer’s block. Today I remembered a creative writing teacher who gave us an assignment: Write an essay titled “I don’t want to write about…” So I’m going to try it.
I don’t want to write about the election. I don’t want to write about how I’ve been watching CNN so much, I know it’s not in my best interest. it makes my head hurt to just hear the same commentators talking over one another.
I don’t want to write about how sad I am. I love my country. I especially love the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I love that we have due process. There are amendments I wish we didn’t have. There are rights I wish were not afforded to us, and there are also rights of which I sincerely wish some people would stop availing themselves! I have lost friends over this election. I just can’t maintain a meaningful relationship with someone who espouses the values that any person or group of people are less-than and should be harmed. I am sad because I love the people in my life very deeply. It truly breaks my heart that anyone could hate them because of their race, country of origin, sex, gender, orientation, diagnosis, or ability.
I don’t want to write about how angry I am. It infuriates me to see anyone harmed. I am enraged that people with a microphone and a camera focused on them would use their power and influence to advocate for and encourage people to hurt someone else for not agreeing with them. I don’t like to be angry at all. It clouds how I experience the world around me. I lose patience and sometimes react in ways I regret later. It keeps me from being present for people I love. It inhibits me from being my best.
I don’t want to write about how confused I am. I go to bed at night with a new story breaking, only to wake up in the morning to it having been debunked. It’s hard to know which stories I read are true, and which ones are not. When I write, accuracy is extremely important to me. if I present something on IOI as a fact, it means I have done my research. I cite my sources so that you can look for yourselves. If I make a mistake, I want to know. I feel responsible for what I publish. It represents me as a writer and a human being. If I write an article and falsify information to get you to agree with me, I have failed. If I can’t feel strong and secure by telling the truth, I shouldn’t be writing at all.
I don’t want to write about how scared I am. Things that have been said and done during this election have evoked strong feelings in a lot of people. First off, I am afraid for the people I mentioned earlier who fit into categories of people who have been marginalized and slandered. I worry for their well-being. I worry about if any of them are internalizing the horrible things they’re hearing about themselves. I know from experience how easy it is to internalize things that I shouldn’t. My brain capitalizes on every negative thing it can when I am depressed. I am really scared by the thought of people who already are vulnerable feeling attacked by someone validating their deepest fears. Even worse, seeing someone encourage people en masse to be violent toward strangers. I am afraid for people I love and feel very helpless. I worry that anything I have to say pales in comparison to what’s being fed to us 24/7. As if that weren’t enough to be afraid of, November 9 some people are going to be very happy. Others will be very upset. Hate crimes against American Muslims went up 78% in 2015. Hate crimes against people who are transgender rose 40% (2016). My fear is that no matter who wins, these numbers are going to go up.
I want to write about gratitude. I have had deep, meaningful conversations with people I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I have made new friends and strengthened other relationships. I have reconnected with friends on Facebook whom I haven’t spoken to in over 20 years. I am grateful because this election has made me think critically about issues. I know where I stand and what I think about many different subjects. But as new information, some of it false, was presented I did my own research. It has been a good experience to look at issues and what they will mean for me and my loved ones. It feels good to stand up for other people and work to create safety in a volatile environment where their very personhood is being belittled at best, and at worst, demonized.
Finally, this election has given me hope. People are standing up and getting involved. Organizing, educating, advocating, and demonstrating are happening from the ground up. Regardless of who is elected, I hope these people won’t lose that fire and passion. People are standing up for one another. I have seen people come together from completely different backgrounds, demographics, and ways of life. This wasn’t going to happen without something drastic happening. Something I often say is that there are very few things we have control over in life. However, we always have control of our attitude, and what we do with the situations in which we find ourselves.
As always, I’m reminding you to please take care of yourselves and those you love. IOI has a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/insightoutsidein and you can always post there or message me directly. I didn’t want to write, but now I’m glad I did.