The Heaviness of Loss: Losing More Than A Seat in the White House.

keep_your_heart_strong-5227Since the news of Donald Trump becoming the next President of the United States came out, I have been feeling so sick, so unbelievably at a loss for words and action, and so emotionally shaken and disturbed. I have stress-eaten my way to what feels like a black hole in an empty stomach, disconnected myself from social media outlets and text message exchanges, asked God for forgiveness and guidance, and searched the internet for articles to help me make sense of this overwhelming wave of emotions (guilt, hope, melancholy, and anger) — here’s a few of them: it’s time to get to work, why we grieve, the democratic party deserves so much of the blame.

I hate losing, always have, always will. But yesterday’s/today’s loss goes above and beyond my own narrative. It once again has emphasized this country’s inability to shatter the highest and hardest glass ceiling experienced by women, its inability to protect and value the lives of  queer and trans communities of color, and its inability to establish a sense of security and belonging for (undocumented) immigrant communities.

And for that, I am angry. It is the sort of anger that stems from self-disappointment and self-loathing, the mentality that I could’ve and should’ve done more to mobilize communities to vote (for HRC) and to dehumanize the Trump experience. It is the kind of anger that has forced me to prioritize my own self-care at the cost of supporting some of my own beloved students and colleagues: to leave the office early, work from home, disengage in certain conversations, and simply rejuvenate the shattered soul first and foremost. This is the same anger that has caused me to feel so isolated, so alone, and so devalued, especially working at a predominantly White institution and within a predominantly White office space and office culture. This is the anger that has forced me to stare at the ground because sharing glances with another human being is like sharing all of their pain and exhaustion as well. This is the anger that is fuming at the mouth because such statements and feelings of optimism and hope is so linked to White supremacy, White privileges, and White fragility, and has become oppressive buzz words for this hurting brown soul.

 This is my anger. It is my reflection in the mirror asking me, “WTF is next?” This is the anger that comes with losing. And today, we have lost so much. We did not just lose a highly revered and powerful AF seat in the White House, we have lost pieces of our identities, both collectively and individually. We already knew that America was, and still is, a messed up institution that for years, has promoted some racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, and other discriminatory tendencies against the “other”. This isn’t news to the underrepresented. But we have lost a piece of our identity as to what it means to productively contribute to this country, as to what it means to be affiliated to a specific political party and the values associated with each, and have redefined what it means to be an American citizen.

Trump is not and will never be my president. He has, however, left a scarring precedence on this “great” nation and will only continue to divide us further and entrench us in disrespectful politics and dangerous outcomes. But he is THE president for the 59,815,018 people who voted for him, and that will forever haunt me as I walk the streets, enter a restaurant or a bar, apply to future jobs and colleges, and as I leave my house everyday and decide how much of myself I will reveal to the world in those 24 hours. Out of fear, out of safety, out of resilience, out of hope for progress and radical change, I am not sure who I will be over the next few days. These are the little pieces of my identity that have been taken. I am not sure how I will show up for my friends, family, and colleagues. I know how I want to show up and what I need to do to move forward, but it is an uphill battle for me, for all of us. Take time to heal, to gather your thoughts and your pockets of self-love and affirmation, to store up every ounce of resilience and truth, to take your daily dose of radical justice and liberation, because we will need it over the next several years. But please, this is a reminder to myself and to others out there hurting, don’t take too long, don’t linger too deeply in the guilt, the anger, the sadness, the grief. We have work to do. There are 59 million people whose minds, hearts, and souls need changing … for they have chosen the side of the oppressor.

There is a new movement coming, I can feel it. A new wave of political unrest on the bend (from UC BerkeleyOakland, UVM and elsewhere); a coalition of activists, scholars, and practitioners organizing for survival and accountability; a community of individuals who will be resilient together. White folks keep your folks in check. People of Color, check in with your people and create time/space for healing. We all need to do the tough and challenging work, and make an effort with our respective communities. We cannot simply look for the easy answers. We cannot be okay with mere symbolic gestures of hope and faith. Each day from here on out has to be intentional, critical, and better. Ironically, now is the time to make America great again. Actually, let me rephrase: American wasn’t and isn’t great; it has always been flawed and divided, rooted in White supremacy and systems of oppression. But it can definitely be better. So let’s rise up. Put on your pant suits and let us make it better.

hrc


To close, here is a poem that I had written in September and edited in October, regarding the violence against our Black men in our country, and against other underrepresented communities. Perhaps it is even more relevant now given the state of our country. So I ask you: How do you heal? How do you turn your emotions into productive outlets? How do you reflect and stay resilient? I channel my anger through my words, through poetry, through art, through collective wisdom and healing.

This piece is entitled: Dear Violence.

Dear Violence,
For once, will you listen?
I know what you can do.
I know what you are capable of.
I know you by name, by voice, and by face.
And yet,
You know nothing about me
Besides the color of my skin.

You are stubborn, ignorant, and aggressive,
Fueling your selfish desires and bruised egos
Set in your ways to cause more harm than good.

Dear violence,
I need you to know,
That your racism is disguised as patriotism
Bleeding red white and blue in a country that is so colorblinded by pride
That it fails to recognize
That the deepest wounds are the ones self-inflicted,
The ones killing your own people
The ones where the only things that are bleeding
Are the black and brown bodies who are so damaged, so broken, so emotionally shaken
From the everyday dissonance of hating and loving the color of their skin

THESE are the darkest and deepest of all wounds
The kind where we can’t even embrace ourselves with self love
Because internalized oppression tells us to keep our hands up
Exposing the vulnerable layers of our determined resilience, authorship, and courage.

Dear violence,
If actions can speak louder than words,
When will my tears be enough for you?
They have pooled together yearning for change,
exhausted from the relentless waves of strife, frustration, and deaths,
They have carried the pain of a thousand cranes,
And the weight of a thousand papercuts
With only one wish:
To experience the sunrises and the sunsets of tomorrows.

Dear violence,
When will you be satisfied?
Your thirst quenched and your belly full?
When will it be enough for you?
Because there is nothing left to give.

 

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One thought on “The Heaviness of Loss: Losing More Than A Seat in the White House.

  1. Pingback: Reflections on 2016 from a twenty-something-year-old brown city queen | ERIC GERONA CARNAJE

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