I didn’t think I’d be able to write today. Writing feels too much like talking and talking requires such effort. Talking means playacting at normalcy as if a misogynistic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist, ableist bigot was not just democratically elected to the highest political office in the United States. Talking means saying it’s okay. That things will get better, even though I don’t have a plan or any idea how that will occur. It’s either that or scream unintelligible nonsense.
Watching the elections results last night, my housemates and I were dead silent. We weren’t the only ones. Times Square in NYC fell silent.
I work at a high school for a college access program with low-income first generation college-bound students of color. It was painful to talk today. How do you look a seventeen-year-old in the eye and say, “This country just said it doesn’t care whether you live or die. Congratulations on submitting your college applications.”?
When a co-worker asked how I was doing, I told him, “It feels as if there’s everything to say, and yet nothing to say and I can’t say anything.” On the phone with a friend later this evening I repeated again and again, “I don’t know” because nothing I could say would have gotten either of us closer to feeling safe.
So many blogs and opinions pieces I’ve read today addressed minorities and told us to stand up, stand together and speak out.
And that sounds so powerful. Except I can’t picture what that means. Maybe my mind is still in a fog, but all I can picture is this weight on my chest and the heaviness of silence, struggling to have something to say, let alone something positive or encouraging or minutely helpful. But that can come later.
A few hours ago, I got into my car and just screamed. And it helped.
Not everyone processes the same, but please speak out (and write!). Even if you’re alone screaming into a pillow, even if you spew gibberish at a friend, or type nonsense on the page. Even if you do not process through silence, please speak out. Take the time you need, but when you’re ready, speak out.
As Audre Lorde said, “Your silence will not protect you.”