Ever since Donald Trump won the election, I am a stranger in a strange land. For our next leader, my country chose a man who personifies rape culture. My PTSD from when I was sexually assaulted is already severe because of him. Listening to him for the next four years and knowing he has power over me will make it worse. Plus, Trump wants to slash the health care legislation that allows me to receive wonderful treatment. Without my current insurance, my medical expenses are $200,000 per year. Things could get really bad. My sister has already offered to sell a kidney and her eggs if I lose my coverage.
I hang onto my sanity by writing through the madness. I now have the privilege of writing regularly for The Huffington Post and am currently composing an essay on Portland’s post-election protests and riots. Working on this piece has been an emotional process. It forces me to sort through my heartbreak. It challenges me to experience the election and protests in a way that aligns with one of my core values: choose hope over fear.
Fear’s long, dark fingers are already trailing down my back, though. They tug at me persistently. Giving in would be so easy, it would almost be a relief. But then I think back to that stream, the one that carries my emotions like leaves. There are many leaves in the stream. I picked up fear, but I can put it back in the water and watch it drift away. Maybe this is how I’ll choose hope: by opening my fists and letting everything else go.
“All your darkest sorrows, did you ever just give them back?” – Stevie Nicks, “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You?”