How to Recover From an Election: What a President Can’t Take

An Editorial:

Courtney Quinlan

I’ve been feeling the heaviness too. It’s unavoidable.

Most of us here in the US are stuck with a president who we feel is highly unqualified in so many ways. Here we are, in this reality.

Some of us feeling optimistic, some of us terrified, some of us in real fear of having the lives we built ripped out from underneath us. Some of us angry, pissed, enraged. Some of us depressed, hiding under the covers yesterday, wishing the world away.

I didn’t have the words yesterday, I didn’t know what to say…except, sadly, wasn’t surprised.

I’m not here to ask who you voted for. I’m not here to shame you or blame you. None of that matters now.

I’m here to give you permission. I’m here to say that whatever you are feeling is right where you need to be. Who am I to tell you – that if you are black or LGBTQ or Muslim or an immigrant or a woman or a single parent or a person with disabilities or anyone belonging to the many marginalized communities our president-elect has spoken so hatefully of – who am I to say how you should feel?

You can feel it ALL.

Anger, hurt, motivation, wanting to run and hide, wanting to stand up and fight, wanting to love more, wanting to love less. This is a deep and dark hurt that has blanketed this country.

Now is not the time to criticize others’ reactions if they don’t match yours. You can have a day or a week or a month or the next four years to feel this. It’s your choice.

I understand the need for wanting to join hands and come together and fight this hate with love, I do, but some of us aren’t there yet. Some of us are grieving. Some of us are truly scared and we need a moment to feel those things first, before we can gather strength.

I understand the need to rebel, to want to burn the whole system to the ground and begin from the ashes. I understand what it was like to wake up yesterday and explain hate to a child, in a way I never thought I would have to, to explain that people we love are hurting, to listen to my son say he needed to stay home from school because he could feel the sadness of it all.

It was too much for him. It felt too much for me. It feels too much for this whole country and likely other countries as well.

I’ve seen friends posting things on social media outlets only to be silenced by guilt or privilege.

Many people are tired. Bone deep tired of fighting, of expending energy explaining equality, or civil rights or what it feels like to be a person of color or a marginalized group in this country.

Now is not the time to silence others.

Now is a time for speaking. Now is a time to celebrate our freedom, the ones that can’t be taken away by a president – elect.

Please, don’t silence yourself, don’t stifle your thoughts, even if they are pure fire, even if they are the sweetest intentions, even if your friends and your family or random strangers are telling you to stop whatever it is you are feeling. Your feelings are your right. Especially now, in a time when it feels as though many people’s rights are not being heard.

Things a president can’t take away from you:

Hope, anger, your words, your art, your right to express yourself, your ability to fight, your ability to connect with others who you may deem different than yourself, your choice to stay silent or your choice to speak out, your love, your sense of humanity, your faith in humanity, your knowledge that we, as a country, can still come together and heal in time.

He may have won four years and I’ll admit, I’m scared, not for myself personally, but for all of us. The unknown is scary. The unknown isn’t written yet.

So, rest, cry, scream, hold each other, write, paint, smash some dishes, kiss your children, gather in solidarity and use a collective voice or scream out your window. Do what you need to, what feels right to you in the moment.

This country is grieving.

We all grieve differently.

Let’s allow the space for grieving to take place. Don’t rush your neighbor, don’t tell people they need to stop feeling angry. Let’s just be, for a moment, for a few days, let the loss of what feels enormous to many, many people sit, let it work its way out.

Let’s try compassion and realize that right now, every reaction is valid, every feeling that belongs to another person is theirs and we don’t have the right to tell others how they must process their grief.

Let’s just recognize it and support our citizens who are hurting, in a way they feel they need to be supported.

It’s not a time to divide ourselves further with hatred.

Anger and hatred are two very different things.

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Courtney Quinlan
I am the Camilla to Dawn’s Gonzo. Just a quirky chicken in love with the strange and bizarre. I’ve always had a wild imagination and love being extra (if not overly) descriptive with my words. I love the art of writing, how you can fit words together like a puzzle and rearrange and explore new ways of expression. I’m a poetry and prose girl at heart, although I like to dip my toes into other areas and have a short list of books I intend to get to work on at some point rattling around in this brain. I’m a fiery single mama to a quirky boy with autism who has the most interesting perspectives on life. I’m a fierce advocate for the underdogs in whatever shape or form they may be. I love getting lost in the woods, communing with nature. I’m fairly unfiltered and if you ask me a question, you’ll get a heartfelt and honest answer. I don’t believe in hiding behind my truths. I’m not an extremely graceful person and can often be found tripping over my own feet or wandering aimlessly around the house searching for my keys. I am not above embarrassing myself and often find my own humor hilarious even when others don’t!
Courtney Quinlan

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