I think I’ll stay in my bubble. Thanks.

unknown

I am a wild feminist who lives in Chicago and runs a musical theatre company. My friends and family are every color, religion, and orientation. I surround myself with people that celebrate diversity and inclusiveness. Okay. Do you get the picture? Super Liberal. Super Progressive. I live in the brightest blue bubble and I’d like to stay there, thanks.

After the election I read all the same articles that you did about how staying in our bubbles cost us the election. I read about the poor white families in the Rust Belt and how we needed to try and understand where they were coming from. I read that we were to blame, sitting in our towers in our cities (I don’t live in a tower p.s., Trump does) wasting our time on identity politics and political correctness.

I bought into the narrative for a time. I unhid all my hidden friends on Facebook. I started following a couple of conservative papers. I tried to actually listen to the white people that feel disenfranchised, that feel like America has left them behind, rather than instantly bristle at their pro-Trump rhetoric.

And that’s all well and good. It’s great to reach out to people that have opposing views. It’s great to compromise. It’s great to find common ground. That all sounds great, yeah?

The problem is this. I will not bend when it comes to certain things; not even an inch. You want to talk about fiscal conservatism? Okay. Are you more hawkish in your views of war than I’d like? Fine. You’re pro-life? I think we can have a conversation at least. Maybe.

What I will not tolerate? The complete indifference and detachment for our fellow American’s basic human rights. I actually do NOT think that every Trump supporter is a crazy misogynistic islamaphobic homophobic racist. I don’t. What I DO think is that by voting for him, actively or not, you endorsed those ideas. It might not have been why you voted for him, but your vote supported a man who spreads hate about those groups of people. Living in a city and working in the arts and having a multiracial family, you are co-signing hate toward the people I love.

And no matter how hard I try to sympathize with the plight of the disenfranchised white folk, it always comes down to this. You have put my loved ones in danger. You have decided that your life is worth more than others. And I can’t abide by that. It’s a deal breaker for me and I don’t think I want you in my life.

Sound harsh? Well. I don’t know what to tell you. This was not just another election for many of us. We are in a fight for our basic rights. Some of us are in a fight for our lives. Telling us to get “over it” is ridiculous. We are at an impasse.

So, let the unfriending commence. Let’s hide folks with great aplomb. I will unfollow celebrities, news sources, and people that don’t value all human life and won’t feel bad AT ALL. I will enjoy my New York Times and Washington Post. I’ll keep watching Samantha Bee and Rachel Maddow and throw some John Oliver in their for fun. I’m done trying to convince you that humans should be treated like humans. Why is this an argument!? I’m done going to battle with internet trolls when I can spend my energy on more productive pursuits.

So how do we stay in our liberal progressive bubbles and not let this happen again? We surround ourselves with inspiring people that are taking action to change the world for the better. We get involved. We organize. We donate. We march. We build up new leaders. We gain wisdom from our political heroes. We run for office. We nurture all those little girls who woke up the day after the election and asked “why did the bully win and not the girl?” We raise them to be strong and pissed. We remember that we are on the right side of history, that change is inevitable, and that these are the death throes of the patriarchy. We remember that there are actually more of us and that if we can unite, nothing can stop us. 

So, I’m going to stay in my bubble. This is where the artists are. This is where the scientists are. This is where the economists are. This is where the journalists are. This is where the activists are. This is where anyone a shade darker than ecru is. This is where the future of America is. I won’t be convinced otherwise. And instead of popping our bubble, we will reinforce it. We will make it unbreakable. We will make it bigger and bigger until it envelops our country.

But the one thing we will not do? We will not lay down our guard. We will not underestimate you. You have shown yourselves now. We know what we’re dealing with and we will be victorious.

Advertisements

Coping Mechanisms

A person holding a globe on wooden background.

So I, along with most of America I expect, have been suffering from multiple personality disorder this last week. I waffle between wanting to run for president myself and not being able to get out of bed and every single emotion in between. I’ve been FEELING a lot. But I haven’t really DONE anything. I’ve posted a hell of a lot on Facebook. I’ve counseled countless friends. I guess that is doing something. But I haven’t done anything that didn’t involve my computer. Even now, as I’m typing this, part of me is screaming, “get off the damn computer!”

I was out of the country on a cruise on election day. I didn’t get back until a couple of days ago. While I was on the boat, I wanted to march. I wanted to protest! I was so frustrated that I wasn’t able to. I was surrounded by people I am politically opposed to. I wanted to get off that damn boat so I could DO something.

And now I’m back in the country, and I didn’t get out of bed yesterday. I watched bullet journal tutorials and caught up on home design blogs that I haven’t looked at in years. I actually used to be a home design blogger myself back in the day, believe it or not. But my point is, I spent an entire day doing this. Well. This and a lot of napping.

I run a theatre company. My theatre company’s mission is to empower and employ women. We’re preparing for our first big season and I have to be honest, the thought of figuring out how to empower women right now is daunting. How can little ole me empower women when it was just proven how much further we have to go than we thought we did…to get to equality…to get to my dream of intersectional feminism.

I’ve had a couple of low days now where I haven’t done much. I’ve been doing jigsaw puzzles and writing brain dumps which have helped immensely for me to at least identify what I’m stressed about. So often my anxiety level is sky high and I can’t even point out why. I mean…it’s pretty obvious “why” at this point, but you know what I mean. I’ll explain what a brain dump is at the bottom of the post. Maybe it will help you too?

So, today? Today I decided to just send one email. Not to tackle my whole insane to do list, but just send one email. One email turned into two emails, which turned into three emails, which turned into a brainstorming session, which turned into me getting dressed, which turned into me making myself something to eat, which turned into me cleaning my room, which turned into me writing this blog, which turned into me feeling like a human.

OH I also deleted Facebook for the week. That helps too. TRY IT.

So just do something. Anything. Something small. It will grow. If there is anything I’ve learned from bouts of depression it’s that the only way out is action. Moving forward is the only way to move on. You can stay in park, but you aren’t going to go anywhere. So I’m going to keep this short and sweet. If you’re in bed, GET UP. If you’re at work, take a walk during your lunch break. Go look at something beautiful. Change up your routine. We can’t help the world if we’re completely broken. So let’s patch ourselves up. There are many challenges ahead.

Things that have helped me this week:

  • Harry Potter
  • Wine
  • Xanax (no shame)
  • Sleep
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Deleting Facebook
  • Making plans to take action
  • Cleaning my room
  • BRAIN DUMPS

Okay Brain Dumps: It’s really just what it sounds like. Write down every single thing that you’re thinking about. Good stuff and bad stuff. Write it all down. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to look pretty. You don’t even have to use complete sentences. Just write it out. And do WRITE it, rather than type. I use a big legal yellow pad and I filled three pages for my first brain dump. Once you have written down and identified a stressor, your brain automatically eases up a bit.

What have you done this week, or any stressful week, to take care of yourself?

 

If Hillary can’t win, can we?

img_4317

It is shocking that I’ve never blogged about Hillary Clinton. I am a feminist bloggerwho has been a supporter of hers since the early 90s, and yet I’ve never written about it. I remember the moment that my young heart started to burn with feminist purpose. My father was watching the news. They were covering the United Nations World Conference on Women in Beijing and I heard our First Lady say, “women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” I had never heard anything like that before. She became my hero.

As I got older, and bad things would happen to me, I would often think of her. When I was down, when I was mistreated, when I wanted to give up, I would think of her courage and conviction and it would help me keep going. Asking myself “what would Hillary do” got me through the day-to-day struggle and the unique challenges of being a woman in the military. Watching her survive attack after attack and emerge triumphant helped me deal with sexist theatre professionals as a young actress. WWHD became my battle cry and my comfort. I have often thought of her as a friend and confidant and her influence in my life has helped get me through some of the hardest times.

When she announced she was running for president in 2008 I was overjoyed. Then a brilliant young senator from Illinois joined the race and captured the nation’s heart. I was disappointed, but not hearbroken. She would have another chance.

When she announced that she would be running again, I knew that this was it. It was finally time. She had a 65% approval rating throughout the country. All of my friends who had supported President Obama were now supporting Hillary. It was too good to be true. An enigmatic gentleman from Vermont appeared on the scene who gave blustery speeches and who was a mensch and once again my friends turned from Hillary.

The primaries were ugly and the misogyny was rampant, but I took my strength from my candidate. If Hillary could suffer through it and remain full of strength and grace then I could bear the trickle-down effect.

And then it happened. Hillary became the democratic nominee. And I thought, “This is it! She will finally do what she is destined to do.” It was inconceivable to me that this life-long public servant would be beaten by a reality star who spewed hate speech. And my friends were coming around. Some begrudgingly…but some of them were learning to love her as I knew they would if they gave her a shot.

But I watched. I watched the media villify Hillary and I watched them normalize hate. I watched them normalize assault. If Hillary had said even one of the offensive things that her opponent said during his campaign, her bid would have been over. If any woman had made any of those gaffes, her political career would be over. I thought it was such bitter irony that our first woman president would have to defeat misogyny and sexism personified as her opposition.

But she didn’t win. The sexist won. Voldemort won. Sauron won. Panem won. The Empire won. Evil won. And that little girl who grew up loving Hillary is so confused. Good is supposed to conquer evil. Love is supposed to trump hate. And it didn’t. Hate won. And it has torn my world apart.

Every day I wake up and remember that Donald Trump is our president-elect and my stomach rises into my throat, my pulse rushes, and I feel lost. Tuesday night I started off cautiously optimistic. I didn’t think she would win by a landslide as many predicted, but I thought she would eke it out. I finished the night watching his acceptance speech, feeling hollow.

Wednesday I watched her concession speech and sobbed watching my hero fight back tears. I was filled with a new sense of purpose. I was filled with vim and vigor and FIGHT.

On Thursday I got pissed. Pissed at non-voters. Pissed at friends and family. Pissed at Bernie or Busters. Pissed at the #iguessimwithher and #ihatehillaryless folks. Pissed at white women. Pissed at the Rust Belt. Pissed at Florida. Pissed at men. Pissed at the FBI. Pissed at the media. Pissed at third-party voters. Pissed at some of the people who are now protesting on the street who didn’t support her on the ballot. Pissed.

On Friday I cried. I had hope. I had understanding.

Saturday I fell apart. It took me three days to figure out how I felt. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t shocked. Although I feel all of those things. Ultimately, I feel betrayed. I feel more betrayed than I can remember ever feeling. If Hillary Clinton, who has every privelege in the world as a rich, educated, white, straight, cis-gendered woman and who is the most progressive and most qualified candidate to run for president in history can’t succeed….how can any other woman?

We were on the brink of progress. We were on the brink of history. And what I heard deafeningly by that defeat was “NO GIRLS ALLOWED.”

I re-watched her concession speech recently and I heard something I’ve never heard in her voice…not during the hearings, not during her concession speech in 2008; never. I heard defeat in her voice. Her vulnerable words were stunning. Just beautiful. What a lady. What a public servant. What a loss. I hope I’m wrong, but I do not think she will run for public office again. I think we’ve lost her. So I grieve for what might have been. For what may never be.

I know this pessimism won’t last. I have to snap out of it. My job is to empower women and I have to do that. But, “O Captain! My Captain!” I have to do it without my mentor. I have to do it without the example I have always held myself accountable to. And the sexist voices that society has embedded in everyone, including women have rushed back in. “You’re not good enough. You can’t compete with a man. They will never let you win.”

And I find myself wondering if we’ll ever get our shot. When will women be equally represented in our government? We are more than half of the country. We are the only disenfranchised group that is not a minority. We are the majority and still we have been held down since civilization began. We still live in a country where the highest office held has been Secretary of State and only 3 women have held that title. Out of 100 senate seats, we currently have 20 women serving. Of those women, only ONE is a non-white woman. Thankfully, we just elected 3 more non-white senators, but it’s still woefully unbalanced.

And get this. There have only been 46 female senators in our national history. Read that again. Take that in. IN OUR NATIONAL HISTORY. It’s going to take a long time for equality in representation, let alone a woman president. And I think part of my heartache is that I have now realized that it may not happen in my lifetime. The women of this country are more divided than ever, many of them voting against their own interests, many of them believing we live in a post-feminist society, and many of them thinking that we don’t need to lift each other up. And it leaves me feeling so confused. I don’t know if I want to protest. Or crawl in a hole. Or run for office. Or move out of this country. Or start a war. Or just give up. And that’s where I am. And it isn’t the brightest place. But it’s honest.

As a woman with thick blonde frizzy hair, who can rub people the wrong way, and is bursting with passion and ambition, who doesn’t know when to quit and can’t stand injustice, I take this loss very personally. I see a lot of myself in her and her defeat feels like mine. But don’t worry. I will rally. I will come out of this fog of uncertainty and pain and I will fight for those disenfranchised groups whose safety has been put in jeopardy by the rhetoric and action of this new leader.

I will rise from this stronger than before. How could I not? Look at the example that has been set for me. Thank you Hillary. Thank you for taking a shy girl that didn’t really fit in and turning her into a warrior. Thank you for helping me to stand up for what I believe in. Thank you for inspiring me to start my own company empowering women. We have never met, but you have changed and improved my life more than you will ever know. And for that…I thank you.

“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is…it is worth it.” -Hillary Clinton