Can’t Go Back

Thank you, Mr. Trump.

I know right? If you’ve been following me on social media you’ve seen a side of me that has never before emerged in my writing. For the first time ever I brought politics into my “social” sphere. I remember the first day I spoke up in someone’s Facebook thread knowing my words could very well alienate me from a longstanding friendship. This friend was defending DT against all the ‘dangerous labels’ that were being used against him.

I took a deep breath and I expressed my feelings about his candidate. My words were measured and hopefully, intelligent. My friend responded respectfully as good friends do, yes? What I wasn’t prepared for was the spray of verbal bullets that followed from the “friends of friends,” not just in that particular thread but in many more to come. That was my introduction to what would become the most contentious and disheartening seasons of my life. An election fraught with hatred and vitriol.

We are now on the other side of that election. My heart feels broken. Not because “my candidate” didn’t get elected. I have weathered many elections. While always a Democrat, and a very liberal one at that, I have respected both parties and accepted the vote of my fellow Americans even when their candidate did not reflect my views, my hopes, or my dreams for our country.

Country over party.

This election felt very different, however. Last week one of my Colorado friends shared a story about an encounter in a Longmont Hospital elevator. A white man approached a Latina woman with her young child and said, “Why don’t you go to back to your country now?” I felt my heart crack open a little wider.

My grandmother immigrated to this country in 1926, on a boat with a baby (my mother), two toddlers and her husband. She was a very strong, very determined woman. Small in stature, and feisty in spirit, she learned how to speak a new language, read the local newspaper, and write some, too, all while raising seven children in the midst of the Great Depression.

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Claiming one’s citizenship in the United States was, and is, a very big deal. When it was time for Grandma to claim hers, she struggled to answer some of the questions posed to her. She approached the bench, looked at the judge and said (in her broken English), “Watcha you wanta from me? I raise seven children, my husband fight in WW1, and I gotta two boys in the army.” There were probably a few more choice words in there, too, but that’s the essence of the story I’ve been told. The judge looked at her and said, “Okay Josephine, you can sit down now. You have your citizenship.”

I haven’t forgotten my roots. So thank you, Mr. Trump, for pulling me out of my cocoon of white privilege. My perception of the world and the people around me has shifted. Some say we’ve been living here all along among the very same people but for me, the “illumination” feels blinding. Of this I am certain, I am changed. Today, I will sit with my despair and honor my grief. And then, I will
speak out about injustice and inequity with renewed clarity and strength and a LOT more action.

“History will judge this country—our leaders, our media-entertainment complex, ourselves, and our fellow citizens—harshly for electing Donald Trump. But if we withdraw into our private grief and abandon those who, this morning, feel most threatened by the result—Muslim Americans, Hispanic Americans, LGBTQ Americans, women, inner-city youth—history will never forgive us.” (… read more)

I’m calling on the energy of my ancestors today as I move forward in a world that feels even more dangerous and divided. I want us to stay awake to those who are most threatened by the results of this election and look for opportunities to stand with them and for them.

Thank you my beautiful friends for being here with me as I navigate this new terrain. I promise I’ll continue to post goodness and light, gorgeous food and self care practices that nourish us deeply, on every level.

Please be sure to register for my next SoulCollage® intro which takes place on December 11th. These cards are a wonderful way to explore the anatomy of grief. They are saving my life right now.

This card, especially, has significant meaning for me today: “I Am Peaceful Protest.”
The photograph depicts the “empty shoe protest” that took place when climate change rallies were banned in France due to a threat of terrorist activity. I stand with all who are holding vigils and marching for a kinder, safer, more generous world.

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6 Responses to Can’t Go Back

  1. Penny November 14, 2016 at 1:34 am #

    Sue Ann, stunning, powerful writing. I feel, and understand, your heartbreak. This election has opened Pandora’s Box; hatred and casual loutishness has been released and given permission to flourish. Love, kindness, art, good food, friends, thoughtfullness are what we all must cling to, and nurture, as we would a fragile plant in a harsh climate, until the soil is once more returned to a richness and fertility,,as it surely will be, next time round. Stay strong, stay beautiful X

    • Sue Ann Gleason November 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      Thank you, Penny. It feels really good to know that you are waving your support from across the pond! I will stay close to all that you mentioned here: love, kindness, art, good food, friends, and thoughtfulness. xxoo

  2. Ellen Nightingale November 14, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    Nailed it! Thank you for sharing this post Sue Ann and for going there with your feelings over the election. I hear every word. P.S. I also love your soul collage card.

  3. Carina Gräsbeck November 21, 2016 at 3:37 am #

    Keep on going dear friend! I am supporting you all the way over the Atlantic <3

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