Yesterday I felt an unwelcome emotion that I have not felt in ages, if ever.
Excited optimism turned to grim uncertainty to sudden dark hopelessness in the span of one long sleepless night. It did not feel like a pain that was even within myself, but something more collective. Hurting for everyone who had also been excitedly optimistic the night before, everyone who was rooting for a woman who was about to change America's history, all of the photos and posts saying "can't wait to wake up and tell my daughter she really can do anything because a woman is now president." I guess we spoke too soon and yes, it's heart-breaking. I (and many others I think) decidedly ignored the rumblings of this possible storm and now we are shocked in the face of the torrent, asking ourselves what the actual fuck just happened?
It's okay, we can feel that shock. The day after is for grieving, wallowing, letting the awful news sink in, but we have to be aware of where it settles in ourselves. It could easily settle in that feeling of hopelessness. However, I am determined not to let it sit there festering. What I suggest instead, and what I will try to do, is let it morph into ferocity. Not anger, not hatred, but fierceness. A fierceness to keep pushing forward against those moving backward. Fierce love, understanding and attempts to make empathy go even deeper.
I may not be living in America now, but that does not mean I plan to abandon it and run away. No place is perfect, anyway, not even Canada. From near and far we have to spread the message that although yes, initially a lot of us were scared by this turn of events, we will not live in fear. We will not be motivated by it, as so many before us have been. Fear is what builds walls. Instead, we have to open up even more than we thought we could and connect.
If there is anything I have learned so far living in Morocco, it's that you can't truly begin to understand another culture or point of view through education alone. As much as I am all for reading anywhere + anytime, reading books or the Quran or Wikipedia can give good general surface-level information, but it leaves ample room to continue to insert your own judgements and values. You have to get closer. Meet people, have conversations, shake hands and hug, see other people doing normal daily things just like what you do. We are all human and we all believe what we believe for a reason. If you want to really stand stronger together, yes of course educate yourself, but more importantly, reach out and meet people. People who think differently from you, come from opposite backgrounds and ideologies and just be open to them. Listen and be thoughtful in your response. Have mindful conversations. Try to understand that everyone's place on this earth is valid, so give them their space to be themselves and embrace them for it. Respect disagreement. Be a mirror for positivity.
Be fierce in your love for human beings, for our country and for the world.
That is my plan anyway.
It is now day two of the storm and I am trying. I am dancing my spirit back to life, trying to reach out to friends and family afar who are also hurting, vowing to make connections that are deeper and stronger, and planting that seed of ferocity.