It took four agonizing, traumatic, vile years but today is finally here.
Election Day in the USA and already nearly 100 million of us have cast our votes. Since I already turned in my ballot weeks ago (and verified that it was counted) I almost wanted to ignore today to spare myself the jitters, nausea, and lightheaded sickness that is watching the votes be counted.
I’m too invested in the outcome to not look, to ignore, to check out, tune out now. If you are voting today, power to the polls, baby, stay in line, bring a mask, chair, water, snacks, joy and peace and resolve. And get the sticker, too. I wish I had the sticker.
If, like me, you are feeling anxious about whether Biden will win, I offer you these thoughts today in case they help. If not, well: whiskey.
The past four years have changed me in fundamental ways and I will never be the same. I will never be as naive, passive, or – ironically – fearful as I was four years ago.
I have learned too much both about the horror that can come when we don’t pay attention, and also about my own strength when forced to reckon with hard truths. Racism. Sexism. Discrimination. Authoritarianism. Democracy. Republic. Gerrymandering. Electoral College (fuck that, btw, we gotta kill that off). Protest. Truth. Lies. Pandemic. CDC. Environmentalism. Journalism. Messaging. Hope. Despair.
All of these concepts are radically changed, heightened, clarified for me now. I know how to use my voice in a way I never have before. I know what it means to decide once and for all what I stand for, and what I absolutely will not.
I have clarified my relationships. I know where I want to be and with whom with a clarity and conviction I never had before.
And I share all of this with you today because I know there are millions and millions of us who feel this way. And we can have deep hope in that. We can expound upon our collective strength and power rooted in that.
Because we are changed. We are newly formed. And we are not going away. No matter what happens today or tomorrow or this week or these next three months, we are not going back to the way it was ever again.
Resolve. Vigilance. Compassion. Kindness. Trust in science. Activism. Awareness. Awakening. Democratic participation.
These are the new normal.
No matter what happens today. We will never be the same. And my guess is, that is exactly what the wanna-be-dictator is so desperately afraid of.
Stay safe. Stay dangerous. I’ll see you on the other side.
Whatever that is.
P.S. If you are alone tonight and don’t want to be (nobody should be), join me and thousands of others as we stick together virtually via Janaya Khan’s Instagram Live here: @Janayathefuture They have held my head and heart together all along.
Photo by Tuva Mathilde Loland