Wednesday, November 16, 2016

I will NOT be nice.

A week ago today, I awoke in a daze:

Did my country just elect this dude

to be the next president?

A quick glance at my social media feeds assured me that this was the case.  I spent the day in a fog - my behavior some combo of disassociation and trying not to look accusingly at people who "looked like they might have" voted for Trump.  Because, you know, that would be profiling and I'm not a fan.

Mental malaise dragged me into the following day, and handed me off to its fraternal twin: anger.

"Half of the country thought it was ok to vote for this bigot!" I found myself getting angrier every time I thought of (or the media reminded me) of the many disgusting opinions that this man has voiced.  He's a carnival barker, a sideshow freak, a vile human being who happens to be rich and famous.

And this asshole is our president-elect.  What. The. Fuck?

During my angry period, I kept hearing platitudes like "we have to come together" and "be nice."  Nah, Son-

I do NOT have to hold hands and "play nice" with people 
who want me and my kind either subjugated or dead.

Empty words and gestures meant to soothe only made me saltier.  I wanted to write a nasty blog post (I didn't), and shoot off some pissy tweets (I did), and then I decided to be still, calm down, watch, listen, and think.  I'm not trying to carry anger for too long and end up with high blood pressure, compliments of Donald Trump, who is about to eff up the healthcare system.

But I digress...

I listened to, watched, and read the media.  I listened to friends who were, by turns,  mournful and irate.*  I heard rumors of family members and acquaintances who hadn't voted at all.  I paid close attention to the behavior of those who felt they had won, as well the concerns of those who are feeling most vulnerable right now.  I kicked all of this around in my head and one question repeatedly surfaced:

"What can I do?"  

I know I'm not the only person feeling this way.  I have a friend who went downtown and protested this weekend.  I commended her for taking action that resonated with her, and realized that I needed to find my own form of action.

My answer to "What can I do?" is "I can do what I do."

I'm an artist.  When I lose my bearings, art leads me home. I write, I sing, I paint, I make stuff. Being at the theatre, to me, is like being in church: I see God's fingerprints there. Art has historically been a form of both protest and sustenance, and I am not powerless to create art that continues the tradition. I can will empower myself.

If you are wondering what you can do, my answer to you is: "Do what you do." Whether you're an attorney, a therapist, a stay-at-home mom, or a shit-shoveler, you have talents and skills that can be employed to uplift, educate, advocate for, and edify someone else.**  Do what you can do, just do something.  Every little action is needed.

Figure out what is provoking a reaction within you: What's making you angry?  What's making you sad?  Then decide what action you will take to disrupt, subvert, counterbalance, uplift, or support - whatever it is that you do best.

We are not powerless until we decide that we are.


*I don't have any friends who are happy about this turn of events.  I would not- could not.

  **Your skills and talents do NOT have to be related to your profession or education.

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