It happened here

Today I cried for the first time since the election. It seems overdue, somehow. Delayed. Tardy. I just missed the mark. Everyone else has shed tears every day since the election, but I just started.

The day after the election, “White’s Only” was scrawled on a bathroom stall at my old high school. Someone wrote “Trump!” on the door to a Muslim prayer room at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, my alma mater. These are just two instances of countless similar, and much worse, stories that have already started to crop up around the country. Racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic bigots are already emboldened by the election of Donald Trump.

But for me, these two instances strike close to home in a way that I hadn’t imagined. It would never happen there, right? Though I never once believed that my high school and my college were perfect, unproblematic spaces, I thought that my high school and college were better than this, would somehow be untouched by this.

I was wrong. And it pains me that I was so wrong. These are nowhere near the worst news I’ve heard this past week, but they’re the two measly pieces of straw that broke this camel’s back.

Today I cried for the first time since the election. This entire weekend I’ve felt the need to rest, to somehow get my energy back after being sapped so thoroughly in the days after the election.

I have not yet regained my strength. I have not yet decided that I’m ready to face all of it again.

But on the other hand, there is no time to wait. With the steady news of Trump’s potential cabinet and his top advisors being a who’s who of the people you really don’t want leading, it feels like the clock is running out. There cannot be any time lost in waiting for the perfect moment, for when I’m energized and “ready” and feeling safe enough to put myself back out there. I may never feel truly safe and at peace again.

Because it happened here. It happened here.

I’m going to sleep soon. And I don’t know if tomorrow I’ll feel ready to get up, go to the gym, get ready for work, and head to the office.

But I will do it because I must.

America, I am ready when you are

It’s amazing what a few hours of sleep can do. All last night I was trying to find the words, but this morning, after four hours of sleep, my mind feels at least a little bit clearer.

Still, this post is only a small part of the overflowing well inside me. I imagine this election will be a subject I will meditate on for a long time, and I will write it all down. But for now, here are my first thoughts:

I understand that people need to mourn and process and wonder what the hell happened, and I implore everyone to take the time they need.

But personally, I have decided that my mourning will not include casting aspersions onto anyone but, firstly, the people who voted for Trump, and, secondly, the political establishment as a whole.

The people who voted third party, who wrote in a candidate, or who didn’t vote at all can be important allies in the coming revolution. (And there will be a revolution in this century.) Hell, even Trump voters who are regretting their vote in the cold light of morning, I will welcome to the cause. I will allow them to begin the eternal process of repentance, of fixing what their actions have brought.

Another thing that I will not do: I will not reject the entire population of the states who went red. While yes, red states (obviously) have more Trump supporters, remember that a sizeable number of people in those states did not vote for him. Rather than abandon these people to fend for themselves in an environment that will likely damage them psychologically and physically, instead of telling them to flee the place they call home (whether voluntarily or involuntarily), I will tell them that I am here for them and will lend every support within my ability.

It is easy to joke about sawing away Florida, or not visiting any part of the South, or unfriend/unfollow people who support Trump on social media (jokingly or unjokingly), and I recognize that humor may be a temporary refuge for people when facing a grotesque future. But remember that there is strength in unity. For now, I will focus on standing with people who have been hurt by this election, who fear for their lives, and who fear for the future. I am there with you, and no one should have to go through this alone.

As of writing this, I have not yet left my apartment.

I have opened my browser, scrolled through feeds on my phone, and saw the same despair I saw last night, but I have no idea how the world outside look, if maybe it will look a little less rosy.

Maybe in a few days I will come back to this space and have a harrowing tale to tell. Maybe I will come back to this space and say that nothing has changed.

But I will come back to this space.

For now, my message is this: There are simple lessons for everyone to learn, and we must learn them. And we cannot let this election divide us. By being divided, the worst predictions of our impending bleak future will come to pass.

So America, I am ready when you are.