Since late Tuesday night, much of the United States is in mourning and dealing with their grief in various ways. I’m one of them. And yes, it is grief. Hope for the future, the promises we made to our children about growing up in a safe, inclusive, equal world were ripped from us election night. That was a significant loss.
Words like shock, numb, lost, and afraid describe emotions since election night. I watched the TV with hope and excitement at first. My best friend took a picture of us and we were all smiles. Two hours later, after a healthy dose of denial and then reality crashing down, I was crying. In the wee hours of the morning, I was sobbing.
It was as if I were on a highway watching a car filled with all my loved ones crushed by a semi-truck.
In slow motion.
I bled beside my friend and then at home with my daughter and husband. We tried to heal each others’ gashes, punctures, and lacerations, but we were so stunned we didn’t even know where the blood was coming from yet.
Five days later and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve staunched all the bleeding, and some of what I’ve seen on social media has only made the wounds more painful.
Move past it. It’s not that bad. It’s only four years. Not all Trump supporters are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamiphobic haters, so try to see it from their point of view. It’s time to build bridges and stop whining.
I’m still gushing blood over here, yet people are giving me physical therapy instructions on how to get flexibility back in my thigh. My lacerated muscle is mince meat exposed to poisonous air, so physical therapy is a long way away.
Please don’t forget, we are still in mourning.
And these messages of get over it are being met with a lot of hostility, which has been a shock for some. Friendships have been burned, respect lost, and nerves frayed.
Person A might be at the Adjustment phase of their grief—congrats on getting there so quickly—but Person B doesn’t need to match the speed of your process. This isn’t a contest. Many are deep in the Loss-Hurt phase. Some of us are still dealing with emotional outbursts. I cried several times yesterday and I have panic attacks about how I’m less safe today than I was last Monday.
And these aren’t hypotheticals. These are realities some of us have already lived.
I was raped when I was eleven by a boy who thought he had a right to my body. When I was thirteen, three boys held me down to see how many fingers they could “get in her pussy.” They only stopped because the sound of my flesh tearing echoed in the room. I was raped again when I was twenty. Mere weeks after finding out I was pregnant from that rape, a strange man lifted me from behind by my breasts and carried into a hotel room filled with men! I was on my way to visit my mom to figure out what to do about the pregnancy.
And now we have a president-elect who thinks grabbing a woman by the pussy without her consent is something to laugh off and dismiss as locker-room talk.
That’s not even my greatest fear because balls can easily be crushed. I fear for my daughter’s future, one I thought would only get better, more equal. One where I hoped she’d see the glass ceiling shattered. One where she could kiss her girlfriend in public and no one would give her a second look.
I fear for my friends’ safety. I fear the beast Trump unleased, essentially giving permission for all the haters to come out of their caves and show their true colors. What about my friends who can’t hide or diguise themselves for one reason or another? And no one should have to feel that need in the United States of America.
The last thing I want is for closets to be considered the only safe space.
We kicked down a hell of a lot of closet doors in the last decade, and there’s no way I’m going back into the darkness. I will fight. I will fight like I did in the past by boycotting businesses who promote hate. I’ll donate to causes that promote equality. I’ll keep coming out and telling people I’m bisexual so their delicate snowflake worlds can be put on edge again and again. I’ll speak up and stand up and fight back rather than hoping someone else will step in. And I’ll keep writing books where men fall in love and find their happily ever afters.
But I still need time to grieve. Allow me to do it in my own way, in my own time, and with my own process, not yours or anyone elses. Try to respect that.
Please stop pouring salt and vinegar into open wounds.
We will get to the reorganization phase soon.
- Grief is normal.
- Grief can occur with any significant loss.
- Grief is a personal and unique experience.
- Grief takes time, which is unique to each person.
- Grief cannot be sped up by outside or inside forces.