Friday, November 11, 2016

Election 2016

This week has been one of the most draining weeks of my life. I haven't been this depressed since the separation, I think this depression surrounding the election is worse.

Tuesday was election day. Trump won. Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I was in denial. I woke up Wednesday morning to my phone near me, CNN live still on, stuck on the last still frame of Donald Trump's victory speech. A part of me is glad I was unconscious and sleeping while that was occurring. Wednesday I was in shock, numb. Going through the stages of grief, I was in the anger phase, in waves. I wrote a FB post with my feelings:

"Like many others, I'm going through waves of shock, anxiety, depression, speechlessness, and hopefulness - and repeat. We cannot underestimate or deny the hatred, bigotry, racism, and sexism that still exists, and that somehow the platform based on these principles just won.
With that being said, I'm not going anywhere. We should stop joking about moving to Canada or about concentration camps (God forbid, and also that's not funny). And instead, we should focus our energy on moving forward. Here's my best guess at how to go about this:
First, we (as in Muslims, all other minorities, democrats, and those who voted against Trump) must stay safe and supportive of one another while understanding this grief is a collective one and that we are not alone.

Then, we hope for the best - to give up hope is detrimental right now because then we have nothing left. To give up hope means we give up on putting forth our own effort to make things better, and we cannot afford to give up right now. Hope means praying that there are improvements and that Congress doesn't pass ridiculous and irrational legislation. Hope means trying to hold off on further panic until we see how Trump actually behaves during his presidency, hoping that he cannot get away with acting the way he did during his campaign. Some may call this false hope, idealistic even, but right now I believe it's necessary and the only option. Let the hope serve as motivation and willpower to stay afloat and let it serve as the energy to deal with and respond appropriately to what may come in the next few years.

Finally, we fight. We're not going anywhere. The results of the presidential election doesn't necessarily force a change in your beliefs and values. We prove that America already was great and still is great and that we are a part of its greatness as we have always been. Immigrants and minorities are some of the most hardworking, persistent, strong groups of people because we have to be and have had to be time and time again. We show America and the world that we're not going anywhere and that we're not backing down, just like we haven't backed down in any of our previous struggles, but instead remained persistent and we remained strong and we will continue. We do it for our immigrant parents, for our neighbors, for our children, we do it for this country whose greatness or lack of greatness is not defined by moments like this, but by getting through and overcoming events like this."

At times I feel this hope, this positivity. But then I go back into my waves of anger. I am angry. I have never been more scared or more angry in my life. Not after 9/11, not in my 8 years of wearing hijab, never in my life have I been this anxious. I pulled over this morning while driving because I felt nauseous like I would throw up. I didn't throw up and I wish I had because I still feel these knots in my stomach but I feel like these won't go away. Yesterday I read about hate crimes and the amount of hate crimes and their severity shocked me. I am scared for everyone I know and love.

I had an attempted burglary at my house last night. Someone cut a window screen with a blade or a knife and had OPENED the window which would allow them access into the house. My dad saw a window wide open and asked me with a panicked tone if I was okay. I will never forget that panicked tone. My initial reaction was to attribute that to his "paranoia" as I often assume of him, except for now I am in that paranoid camp. We didn't know if someone was inside the home and that feeling is open of the most terrifying feelings I have ever had.

We waited outside while the police officers checked the house to make sure no one was inside the home.  I observed as the police conducted their investigation while I was still numb from the election results. They took fingerprints from the window and dogs traced the scent of the person back to a nearby parking lot where it stopped - they probably took off in their car at that point. The police asked about motive - were valuables out and visible, were purses out, why would they choose this house? If this was a few days ago before the election, if this was at any other point in my life, I would have brushed it off and found comfort in the assumption that it was a one-time random burglary and that most of the time the perpetrator doesn't come back. But this was now, this was a couple days after the election, I cannot ignore or dismiss the possibility of it being a hate crime. Of course I don't know and am not certain and am not going to make any claims that it definitely was. As I suggested to the police officers that our neighbors know we're Muslim, that the timing of this has me a little concerned, they dismissed it - one of them responded without waiting even a beat, that that's unlikely. I found myself quickly noticing that all of them were white, I couldn't help it. I became hyper aware of my color and of theirs, of my feeling of being a second class citizen. Why is that unlikely? Until it's proven that it's not a hate crime, it can be, just like it can be anything else until proven otherwise. I would like to believe and I do hope to God it was just a random attempted burglary because that makes me less worried than if it was a targeted act of attempted violence motivated by politics, race, or religion.

I am hyper aware right now. Call me paranoid, I don't care. Do not dare tell me that everything will be okay because we both know you are bullshitting and none of us are certain about that. Do not dare tell me not to be afraid, not to be scared, not to worry about my parents and about Muslim children and other minorities who I know I love. You don't know my reality.
Please try to understand it. In the meantime, stand in solidarity with me as I stand in solidarity with you and we work hard to turn this anger into motivation to fight back or at least to endure, because Lord knows that's taking all of the emotional, physical, and mental strength and energy we have and then some.

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