What Trump Can’t Take Away
On November 7, as a newly naturalized American citizen, I voted in my very first election. I was thrilled. I was voting for the first woman president! To say that it was a historic moment would be an understatement.
But as we all know, despite winning the popular vote, Hillary Clinton was was not elected to become the 45th President of the United States. Instead, we face four years of a Donald Trump/Mike Pence term in the White House. We stand at the beginning of a four-year long battle.
Millions of Americans feel devastated, scared, hopeless, angry. I know, because I feel the same way. I have been crying on and off since Election Night. As a queer Mexican woman, there is plenty for me to fear in the years to come.
It is okay to feel these things. We aren’t weak or dramatic. We are not alone, and it may take a very long time before these feelings wear off. I believe it is important to let ourselves feel these things. Half of this country’s population is grieving, and there are several stages of grief. They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People experience these stages in any order, and they may not even experience certain stages at all. We shouldn’t feel bad if people around us have moved on to a new stage while we’re in a different one. We have to let ourselves feel our feelings, because it is crucial to healing.
In the meantime, amidst so much darkness, some light remains.
The day after the election, my best friend told me about her lunch with a colleague. They went to a specific place where they could get wine during lunch time. When it arrived, they picked up their glasses, and my friend said, “Well, here’s to…,” and drew a blank. Her colleague looked at her like:
…and they just laughed because, as my friend put it, “WTF else can you do.” They also ordered dessert.
“This is delicious,” my friend’s colleague said. “Trump can’t take that away.”
I found this story quite inspiring, and it made me realize something. In this time of fear and dread, during the uphill battle that is to come, there are still things that Trump can’t take away.
The first is compassion—for our fellow people, our friends, our families, but also for ourselves. We talk a lot about self care here at Can’t Talk, and that’s because it’s so important. Look out for and check in with yourself. If Twitter and Facebook and the news feel overwhelming, take a social media/internet break. Bake cookies. Watch your favorite show. Meet up with a friend. Do a craft. Take a nap. Sing. Scream. Cry. As I mentioned previously, it’s important to let yourself feel. Then, when and if you can, look out for others.
If someone is hurting, be there for them. After posting on Facebook about how scared I felt on election night, I received the most wonderfully heartfelt message from a coworker telling me that she was there to listen and support me. Let me tell you, just hearing that someone cared lessened the anguish. So, if you come across someone who is anxious or depressed, don’t tell them to “get over it.” Listen to the struggles of marginalized groups. Stand up for what is right, and defend those you see being harassed. There have been a number of reported hate crimes after the election, and we have to stick together.
Which brings me to my second point: action. The best ways to create change in times like these are through ongoing moments of action. Use your compassion to motivate you into doing something positive. Donate funds or volunteer somewhere that benefits the people who will most be impacted by a Trump presidency.
You may have seen the heavily circulated list that Jezebel compiled of feminist-friendly, pro-immigrant, human rights organizations. We at Can’t Talk are working to create something similar that will enable people to submit local resources in their communities for people to donate to or volunteer. I know a few members of the Can’t Talk Media team have set up monthly donations to nonprofits, and I cannot tell you how happy it makes me. As someone who works for a nonprofit, I know that at-risk organizations will be endlessly grateful for your contribution. It really is true that every little bit helps.
If you want to make a bolder statement, try to be a part of a peaceful protest, like the Million Women March that will take place on January 21, 2017, in Washington D.C.—the day after the presidential inauguration. If you can’t attend the march in D.C., their Facebook page also has links to similar marches taking place across the country. If you prefer to keep it local, Bustle has an article with tips on how to find a protest near you.
You can also call your local politicians, representatives, and senators and talk to them about the issues that matter to you. If you don’t know who your elected officials are, this website will help you find them.
Finally, while I know these are heavy, emotional times, there is still one more thing Trump can’t take from us.
As English neuroscientist Sophie Scott mentions in her 2015 TED Talk, laughter helps us cope with our emotions. More than just outwardly acknowledging that a joke is funny, laughter allows people to deal with stress better; this is multiplied when you laugh with others. When we laugh together, it sends the message that we understand each other, that we are in this together, and that everything is going to be okay.
If you or someone you love is struggling to find something positive in a time when the world feels upside down, get together, watch a funny movie, tell silly stories, and laugh.
There is a lot to be done in the next four years. So be kind, take action, laugh, and remember, “The dawn will come.”