Like many of my fellow Americans, I was shocked and devastated by last week’s election results. Although I live in California, a very blue state, I am having a ton of anxiety over the future. I cannot and will not normalize the election results; Trump might end up being the president, but I had nothing to do with it. I’m not willing to go all kumbaya and act like everything is fine when he’s appointing a white supremacist as his main advisor. He is in a position to do real harm to people, pretty much anyone who isn’t straight, white, Christian and male. I will not stand by and passively let that occur: I will fight this poison through politics and protests.
In the meantime, though, self care is absolutely required. It’s hard to eat normally or sleep adequately when in the midst of massive anxiety. The likelihood of getting sick during these times of stress skyrocket, and I cannot afford downtime right now.
I have found solace at my gym. This small, very gay facility is no nonsense and normally very “mind your own business” in tone, but since the election people are talking. We all feel the same way, obviously, but there is comfort in that, and no one is feeling hopeless. We’re all sweaty and grimy, looking at an uncertain future for our country and bonding over it. Today, a woman introduced herself after there was a lively group conversation on the stretch mats, and offered me a blue felt heart with a safety pin on it (I’m assuming you all understand the significance of the pin; wearing it signifies the wearer as a safe person who will defend the rights of others). I thanked her, went into the dressing area, and almost cried.
Obviously, the fight ahead is way more important than my personal feelings and dramas; I would have much preferred Clinton had been elected and I had never had these conversations or moments of kindness. It’s still nice to know that there are so many lovely people everywhere, especially since Los Angeles is not exactly known as being a friendly place.
So, besides burning off the anxiety at the gym or on the spin bike, what else can you do to fight against the bigotry, misogyny, and religious intolerance that’s already rising? Try calling (not emailing) your representatives in Washington and stating your dismay or support. Give generously to organizations that protect the rights of women, LGBTQ, and minorities like Planned Parenthood and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The ACLU will be key in protecting us from Trump’s overreach (although it cannot protect us from Bannon’s appointment, since he has the right to be a white supremacist if he so chooses), so giving to it on a regular basis is money well spent.
Finally, get out in the world. Go to a march or protest. Go volunteer for a candidate running in the 2018 mid terms. Join Pantsuit Nation, an overwhelmingly positive online group. Stay vigilant and protect everyone from discrimination and violence; don’t be afraid to speak up.
And when you feel the insanity and outrage and sadness rising to overwhelm you, start moving. Get to a class, take a run, start your own exercise posse of energizing friends and acquaintances. Stay focused. Stay civil. Stay kind, And never, ever back down.