It’s been what, ten days now, since Election Day 2016.
Ten whole days.
It feels like a lifetime ago, but that’s it. We are in this interim period of time, between our current president and the next. We are now all watching and trying to decipher the choices and actions of the next president so we can all find our footing again. For most (and by most, I mean the actual popular vote), this election has left us all feeling as though the rug has been removed from under us. Well, okay, maybe not most. The fact is, minority groups of all kinds have been faced with this feeling of dread upon waking time and time again. I have learned, in the last ten days, that and so many other things with regards to me, my own choices, my own actions, and how I choose to navigate forward.
In fact, over the last ten days, I’ve been doing a whole host of things, including trying to educate myself and bringing myself up to speed on the current status of things that exist outside of my localized, seemingly-protected bubble. I recognize that for too long, I haven’t been as active or engaged with the communities around me. I recognize that I’ve spent a great deal of time navel-gazing, focused on myself, and in the process, have not been the member of the greater world that perhaps I should have been. These last ten days have been a progression towards actualizing who, and where I am, and to what end my voice could be lent to do the most good.
Like many others, I joined in the initial protests over the election. It was while I was out walking with Ray in the streets of Portland that I developed a pretty nasty cold – something I haven’t actually had to deal with in a very, very long time. You’d think as a bus operator that I’d have the immune system akin to a superhero, but apparently I do not – not yet, anyway. Still, between cups of hot broth and tea, between coughing fits and doses of cough syrup, I found myself constantly checking in online and via text with a variety of people. It was like doing a headcount of kids after the fire alarm was pulled at school. I needed to know where everyone was and how they were doing.
I’ve donated money to a few organizations, including a standing monthly donation to the ACLU. I’ve filled out the volunteer application to a couple of organizations(Q-Center and ROP) that seem to be a good fit for who I am, my skills and their needs, and where I can offer something of substance for support. I’ve engaged in conversations online within my own circle of friends – though I have yet to make the journey to the other side just yet, and realize that might be my next step. I’ve held Ray’s hand and helped him navigate his way through the last ten days, too, trying to give him reassurances whenever possible.
Still, right now, today, I’m wondering what else there is I can be doing. There’s this other pull inside me – this real attraction to inertia and sticking my head in the sand, ignoring it all in the hopes that it goes away. It’s a massive pull, especially as all of the other commitments in my life – like work, and school, and planning my next step with Ray are all still there, just like they were before Election Day. I know, though, that I can’t be that person – that I’ve never been that person, really – and now, more than ever, I need to put my big-boy pants on and make space and time for all of these things. I can, will, must do this.
What are you doing? What kinds of suggestions would you have for me? The comments are always open here, and I’d love some more insights.