I feel like I need to say something. If not to share opinion, then just to get this off my chest… This post is for my own sake.
Maybe just for the sake of someday having something to look back at, and be happy that it’s over. I don’t know. Maybe one day I will be able to laugh at this too.
I don’t know what to say. The outcome has been shocking and devastating. As a woman I feel like someone just took every sexual assault, every office harassment, every obstacle I’ve ever faced because of my gender… every pervert, stalker, creepy co-worker, things I’ve survived, and completely justified them. I feel like it’s ok for all that to happen, and the person that does them will even be rewarded for doing it. It’s been a load of heartache.
On social media I see people feeling the same way. There’s an atmosphere of hopelessness.
Avoiding social media at my best, I went for a walk and everywhere I go there is somebody crying. My dad tells me that, at work, female managers where crying. Before yesterday they where happy, empowered, and excited. This doesn’t feel like a normal election.
I feel like there’s nothing left to hold on to. You can work as hard as you want to get away from all that, but this will always haunt you. It’s a difficult place where life doesn’t feel like it has a future anymore.
I mentioned on Twitter that both of my grandparents survived dictatorships. My grandmother was a concentration camp “survivor”. I put that in quotes because she really didn’t survive it. My grandfathers side of the family was also on the “wrong side” (how he put it). When he was younger he saw his village being executed by soldiers.
After World War II, they went through Yugoslavia’s socialism (it wasn’t very good — yes, you can argue that, depends on where you’re coming from). My mother fled that. She has one hell of a life story because of it. When Yugoslavia broke up the family survived the Balkan wars. This also was very bad.
I’m sharing these things because I want to make it clear where I’m coming from. We have a history of surviving these things.
Growing up, our conversations where full of discussions about government, dictatorships, and survival. My grandparents had their art they poured their political views and dissidence into. My dads work involved a lot of work with refugees (mostly escaping the same thing).
I feel like all these conversations I’ve had with them, my parents with me… I’m in the middle of it, watching it unfold.
Other survivors of similar governments, or immigrants that I (or my parents know), have been sharing the same sentiments. It’s like fundamentalism is some inescapable thing that just eats the world. You can’t get away from it.
I don’t want to see people getting angry and turning on one another. This is exactly what fuels fascism.
Staying optimistic, I have to remind myself that somehow life goes on. After a hate crime, sexual assault, or violence, somehow you find a way. Somehow you wake up in the morning, and someday you have the courage to look at yourself in the mirror and see something beautiful. My mom’s side of the family had to stay in the basement during bombing when Yugoslavia broke apart. Somehow life continued to happen around all that. The apple trees made apples, and whatever wasn’t destroyed was rebuilt. One of my mom’s favorite stories (or metaphors) is that you should look at the pear on the apple tree and not at the tanks in the distance. Sorry if that sounds passive. It’s not meant to be.
The neighbors in my grandparents neighborhood where all predominantly camp survivors as well. It was interesting to see how people “moved on”. My grandmother never did, and it ate her everyday. My grandmother’s neighbor had an amazing life. The ones that did emotionally survive had the opinion that “Hitler took enough of my life, I will not give him a second more.” I paraphrase that. Sorry, I can’t clearly remember now.
I find this terrifying because before yesterday we where looking at a home slowly building up progress and tolerance. I mean, gay marriage happened. Harassment was starting to be seen as a bad thing. Rape is even considered wrong. When my mom was my age rape didn’t exist. Women owed men sex, if they felt like it or not. Today I feel like I don’t have a future. Although I have to keep reminding myself that things didn’t get “this good” on their own. People fought for them. Women fought for a right to vote, when the very concept of that was a joke. It was harder then than it is now. My mom tells me that I have no idea how hard Yugoslavia was, and that things here are still a lot better than when she was young. Her situation was how “things are going to stay forever” and they changed.
I should also add that it has meant everything to me to see men stand up to misogyny and say that “it’s not cool”. That men are tired of being identified with men that abuse women. There was a time where I just didn’t believe that men could be any other way. There is room for healing even in dark situations.
On another bright side, this video spoke volumes to me today. Maybe it will to you too:
Excuse the poor English, grammar, or other errors. This has been a personal rant.