Sometimes you just have to get something off of your chest, you know? Last Sunday I set the intention that I would get back to writing and interacting with all of my friends on social media. I missed it, after all! Then the election happened and I didn’t know which way to turn. Posting my suggestions for Philadelphia seemed too shallow and unimportant anymore. But I was so confused and feeling 1000 different emotions so nothing was coming out.
Was I supposed to talk about this election on my travel blog? Was I supposed to swallow all of my feelings and move on?
Well. As you’re reading this introduction, you’re probably in for an election related post. I have zero intent of spreading negativity. I have no illusion that the words I write will be earth-shattering. But this blog was started to get my feelings out, and what better time than now? If you feel like you might want to call me a crybaby, I’d be happy to have a discussion with you and hear your thoughts, but maybe not on here. Shoot me an e-mail instead.
I know that privilege is a word that gets used every day. I acknowledge that I have it. I have a huge giant advantage because I’m a white, heterosexual, college educated female living in one of the largest cities in the United States. Did I still cry when Donald Trump became president? Abso-freaking-lutely.
I was scared for myself and for friends. I was upset that my country as a whole couldn’t prove me wrong, even if in hindsight perhaps I could call that me being naive. I was so sad for my cousins who don’t understand how a straight up bully would be in charge of us for the next undetermined amount of time. I was frustrated that a person who thinks women are substandard is moving into the big white house.
And when I feel emotional overwhelm, I cry.
But when I’m grieving, my cry stage lasts for a short amount of time. Then I go into support mode. Text messages went out, hugs were given, and even then I knew that love wasn’t going to be enough here. Sure, it is an incredible incredible thing. But it’s not going to be enough.
And so now I’m really thinking about what I’m going to do about all of this.
I’m writing this partially as a therapeutic exercise to think this through and also as a sound board for all of YOU who have incredible ideas who can help me and lead me in an intelligent direction.
The Election is Over...Now What?
Before I voted, I knew what issues I was for vs against. But I’ll admit that me being “for” an issue was very much a casual thing. If I have to find a personal bright spot in this madness, it’s being able to use it as a way to figure out the causes I truly care about and want to support - financially or with my time. Because while I’d like to give my money to every cause, it’s important not to spread your support too thin. And, uh. I guess paying student loans kind of takes precedence here.
I’ll be making a gift to Planned Parenthood in the name of Mike Pence and some others (me too!). But I want to donate my time to my local sites. Trump’s views on the environment terrify me, so thanks to Heather’s suggestion, I will also donate to Sierra Club. I am ready to hit the ground running to support the outdoors I love so much. Lynn has some great ideas here!I want to dig even deeper when it comes to Philadelphia-specific organizations and I have a list I want to thoroughly vet. But! One of my brilliant Facebook friends suggested that support for these organizations can come in the form of a subscription to their e-mail newsletters too. Every time you see a call to action - you go on and take it!
Lastly, if you’re receiving a holiday gift from me, there’s a good chance it goes to support a cause I believe in. OR it is from a local shop that has shopkeepers that need the extra support during a Trump presidency. I’ll report back if I find a nice comprehensive list, whether online or in the Philadelphia area! Put your money where your beliefs are! And don't put it towards organizations you are unhappy with.
I started off this week by becoming a petition-signing fired up woman. The trouble is, adding my electronic signature to a webpage doesn’t exactly scream “empowering.” So while I’m still signing a few petitions, I’m actually calling my local legislators to tell them how I feel. Especially re: certain white supremacists being considered for high positions in the White House. Ahem.
And you know what, I quite like this! Especially when one call is to a PA representative who already denounced the man. If you want to join the fun, find your representatives here and your senators here. But if you want a script to do it yourself, reach out to me!
Starting with this blog post, huh?
I saw this idea pretty soon after the election results started pouring in from a secret Facebook group. I want to thank Hillary. I want to thank the Obamas. And I’m going to pour my dang heart out in a letter to each and every one of them. If you want to do it too, let me know and I’ll gladly share the addresses!
But this also goes further than thank-you notes. I want to use my writing voice to fight for those that cannot. I’m not 100% clear on what this actually means or what form it actually takes yet, but I’d love to have your input. While I’m hurting, I also find myself in a position where around 53% of my demographic still voted for this outcome. And I have to take that to my advantage and be an advocate for others who are not in a position to be heard.
I got this idea from one of my super-rad friends in Philadelphia. You know I love good social media, but it’s been pretty exhausting lately. People can get outraged over a fake article pretty dang quickly. They can get excited about an article with a promising-sounding headline that was written 11 years ago. That’s why I’ve finally decided to pay for and support some news sources that I can trust more. I’ll be paying for a New York Times subscription on a national level and a Philadelphia Inquirer subscription for my local news. I know that all the travel-saving tips would warn against this, but it’s worth it to me. If you want to do this too, just ask around about publications. Even if they did endorse Hillary (like the NY Times), you want to make sure their journalism stayed factual (thanks to my Aunt Lori and Lizzy for helping me research!).
I also want to sit on this a while, but I feel like I should support my local NPR station. I do listen to them every day on the way to work. And while I’d sometimes like to trade it out for a more positive day-starter, I still do take advantage!
An extra bonus: now that you're so informed you can vote in ALL of the elections, not just the presidential ones. I do this anyway, but I'm excited to step it up a notch.
Self-Care & Support
Raise your hand if you didn’t take care of yourself as well as you should have last week? Whether it be endless scrolling on Facebook, staying up far and beyond past your bedtime, or not allowing yourself space to emotionally process…I think many of us can say we were there. Take care of yourself so you’re ready to fight for what you believe in. It can be (should be?) exhausting, but it’s needed.
I’m going to start a one-line journal to check in with how I’m feeling each day. I hope this will help me to never become complacent. I love sending text messages, getting coffee, going on hikes (I've been on 3 since) or talking on the phone with my friends who are confused/hurt/need somebody to talk to/need somebody to hear them rant. Come together with your community, both online and offline. And go on and expand your community while you're at it. You can see how many suggestions in this post are from friends or family. It’s a great thing.
While love trumps hate is not the only way to fight and cope with this election, it is still a huge piece of it. And it’s a huge guiding force for me to double-check that when they go low, I’m going high…and not just stooping right down with them.
Also this means sharing Joe Biden & Obama forever memes with my sister on a daily basis.
Ah, you were wondering where travel fits into this whole equation, were you? While living abroad has always been on my bucket list, now is not the time that I’m going to flee (no matter how many times I joked about it). I’m going to stay and fight. Kate has a great post that sums up my feelings about this! But you better believe I’ll still be traveling.
When I travel within the States, I really need to do some talking. The fact of the matter is that almost half of the country (almost, but not…don’t get me started) thinks that this presidency is a good choice. While it would be so easy to write them off as wrong, I think it’s important to find out where they’re coming from. I haven’t fully come to terms with this, I’ll be honest. I am still in a mindset where a vote for Trump equates with racism, disrespect for women, etc. I’m working on it. I know that I know people who voted for him, and hopefully once I’ve processed I can move forward on this. Update: just found this guide to talking to your family...I'm sure it works for more than family!
Whenever I travel internationally I’ve got to act as an advocate. When I traveled through 2016 (and even 2015) and told people I was from the US, Trump was one of the first things they brought up. I was quick to shrug and say, "I honestly don’t know what America is thinking. Stupid.” That was wrong of me. That’s not what all of America was thinking (again, less than half of those that voted!). I want to let people abroad know that. I want to be the loving, thoughtful, informed, fighter that is accepting of others no matter what country they are from. And I want them to know that.
I will also work to remind myself that we are not the center of the universe. It sounds like a silly thing to need reminding. And while this election sets a ripple effect throughout the world, it is not the first event nor the last event that will do that. I'm ready and open to hear others' worries, thoughts, and fears from around the globe.
- I'd love to know how you're feeling, but let's not make this a hate parade okay? I'd adore hearing any more ideas you'd add to this list or how you've been processing. If commenting is not your thing, reach out on Twitter!