I don’t like disappointing people. You may say that’s true for everyone, but you and I both have that one person in our lives who thrives on really messing things up for people.
Ever since Donald Trump (speaking of people who live for messing up people’s lives…) took office, I feel I’ve lost my voice. It retracted into the back of my throat, and slowly slid down until it rested with discomfort in the pit of my stomach.
I’ve had thoughts — lots of them — but they’ve been stuck inside my brain. Yet even though they’re stuck, they keep bumping around inside my head, picking up force and momentum as they knock against my skull.
My fingers have frozen. I sit myself down at the computer, pull up a blank page, and prepare to release the thoughts from my brain, giving my aching stomach some relief.
But my fingers disobey. They will not type.
I’m afraid of how my thoughts about this administration will be digested and spit out by others. Will you think less of me? Will you think I am unkind? Will you agree with me? Will I be happy for agreement, or angry at myself for potentially stirring a pot?
Will my thoughts mean nothing at all to anyone?
I’m a Facebook junkie, but in the wake of Trump’s immigration ban, I removed the Facebook app from my phone. Unless you’re an addict like me, you can’t understand how monumental this action was. I think I even experienced withdrawals.
But I was sick. People became cruel. People spoke (or typed, shared, liked, and loved) before thinking, and I saw real ugliness. I know some scoff at the comparisons of our current climate to Hitler and the Holocaust, but I see those Nazi attitudes playing out left and right — right here in America. Right here in my town. Right on my Facebook feed.
Kicking Facebook out of my life was hard, but I knew I needed to go cold turkey in the beginning. I missed knowing what was going on with friends, but mostly, I worried that I wouldn’t know what was going on with refugees and immigrants. Was I abandoning them simply because the ugliness was too much for me to bear?
I stopped reading the news, and I instigated my own ban in my house — no talk of Trump. It was hard. There’s so much to say.
I stayed completely off Facebook for about a week, and then slowly allowed myself small news and Facebook breaks while working on the computer. The reactions had died down, and Facebook was again a place of babies, dogs, and jokes.
And I feel happier. But is that OK? Basically, I shut myself off from the world so I could stop feeling sad and uncomfortable.
Is that OK?
I don’t know.
And I’m not sure how I’ll move forward, but I still feel the fire.
I feel I am being pushed toward something, but the longer I keep these thoughts in my head, the weaker I become. Being afraid to express disappointment at open racism, sexism, and more is not who I always believed I would be.
I have a voice. I’ve never been political. I don’t know yet what I’m doing with my voice, but I know it needs to be used.
If Trump has done anything for me, he’s lit a fire. He’s forced me out of my bubble of security, and made me see that the frightening things I’ve read about in history books are repeating themselves. He’s sent me far across the line to a place where I can no longer tolerate certain opinions because they are wrapped in a package of intolerance and hate. Yes, hate. I hated when that word was thrown around in the past administration whenever someone didn’t agree with a liberal point of view, but now? Now, I can’t deny that hate (tied up in lies) is a popular dialect of choice in current politics.
If Trump has done anything for me, he’s made me more aware of the political system. I’ve never emailed a congressperson or senator before, and I’m now doing it every week. I’m almost brave enough to start making phone calls. The next step? I haven’t reached it yet, but I know there is another step. And another.
I hope I can maintain kindness and an open mind while I dip my toes into the pools of discomfort and uncertainty. But most importantly, I hope I won’t lose my voice again.
There is too much at stake right now.