The Ally Files: Pantsuit Nation, the Day After
I checked my phone at 5AM this morning. 11AM last night my body was so full of adrenaline from my amygdala being on high alert that I had to shut off the news and try to sleep. The news wasn't what I wanted to read--the other candidate won enough electoral votes to make him our new president.
Bad news has a way of seeping in and taking hold in bits. I cuddled closer to Keri and allowed myself a little more warmth and darkness before facing the day and checking everyone's opinions about what happened. I watched Hillary's concession speech and Obama's encouragement to come together. I scrolled through my news sources and quickly regretted it--the worst thoughts and future thinking came out quickly and put me in a quick spin of anxiety. I put away my computer and took a long, hot shower to bring myself back into my body.
The election cycle, for me at least, has been a mixture of traumatic (permission for open violence, racism and misogyny--I've never seen anything like it in my almost 50 years on planet earth) and inspiring (Hillary's courageous, principled, and disciplined approach to winning voters to her side despite non stop attacks and accusations). She became my role model and highlighted to me what it means to face down fear when you are clear on your purpose.
In the week before voting day I was added to the "secret" Facebook group called Pantsuit Nation. It was full of stories and photos of women (and men too) talking about why voting for Hillary was so important to them--it spoke of what they wanted for themselves, for women and minorities and for what they wanted to see in the world. Photos of elders making their way to the poll to vote for the first nominated female candidate for president. Stories from women who survived sexual assault and workplace discrimination. Mothers sharing the experience with their daughters showing them they can achieve the highest office in the land. Women creating their own campfire, sharing warmth, light and stories.
When difficulty presents itself we are given a choice--to despair or to be more of the person we want to be in the world. It's a clarifying experience that doesn't present itself when you are comfortable.
(I'm not feeling terribly comfortable)
Right now we are seeing more of what has already existed--the courage and the darkness. Racism and misogyny have always been there and now they seem to be more enabled than ever before.
Despite that, our courage is on full display--our fight song still playing. Dark opinions are out there--they sell papers and manipulate people. They are not destiny.
To help us get through these difficult and uncertain days, here is my brief survival guide:
Take care of your body. Extra rest. Healthy food. Sunlight. Movement. Nothing new here but it's easy to let your health slide. Make every effort to keep your animal self well. You won't be good for anyone else if you aren't good to yourself first.
Stop reading the news. Seriously--especially speculative pieces that detail every dark implication of the new presidency. They are not helping you or anyone think clearly or productively.
Find your people and salve your wounds together. There is courage in numbers--hope as well.
Choose how you want to make a difference. Work, donate, write, stay awake! It's tempting to look around for people who have answers and who promise to make everything work out. Everything we have ever achieved has been through our voices and efforts--even when our president supports our POV, we are the movement. We make it happen.
Also, I'm including these two lists of practical things you can do to be the change you want to see in the world.
And from the brilliant Katy Mattingly. List of things to do:
*Watch livestream of HRC concession speech now
*Weep for 24 hours, then stop
*Call Muslim friends and offer concrete help
*Revise personal budget, give more $$ away
*Purchase subscriptions to papers that employ journalists
*Research whether getting rid of the electoral college would help
*Refrain from punching humans
*Go to the gym (see above)
*Send Hillary Clinton a handwritten thank you note, tell her it's not her fault even though everyone's going to be blaming her
*Find a live protest to attend
Hillary R. Clinton
Post Office Box 5256
New York, NY 10185-5256
Let's take this forward.