On election night, I was walking home through the financial district on an amazingly mild evening for Chicago in November. I was feeling confident that the ballot I cast by mail earlier in the month was going to join with millions of others to elect our first female President. As I stopped to pick up some poke take-out, my Facebook messenger lit up. It was a friend I met in Montreal last year and he was checking in on the election and how I was feeling. It was great to hear from him and we joked that if Trump was elected that I would be showing up on his doorstep. We had a good laugh. Hahaha. A few hours later, we were still texting, but no longer laughing…
I ended up staying up, glued to CNN, until the bitter end around 2:00 a.m. I couldn’t rip myself away. It was like watching a train wreck or gawking at an accident on the freeway. I was in shock. This entire election cycle has been filled with so many emotions and anxieties. Each debate more stressful to watch than the next. Evenings filled with too much wine and not enough sleep. And the finale of the election was nearly too much to bear. For me. For so many.
There was a segment on Good Morning America about “Post-Election Stress Disorder” this morning. Maybe just a fancy name to describe what we are feeling, but I think we are all feeling it. And one of the huge recommendations to start healing was to limit your social media consumption, so I doubt anyone is even reading this. And that’s fine. We all have to do what we need to do to heal and move forward. And stepping back from Facebook and Twitter and all of it is actually a really good idea.
While I understand the protests that are now happening all over the country, I think it’s a better idea to let go. We have done our part. We called, we campaigned, we voted and democracy has spoken. Our democratic process has elected Donald Trump. I think it’s a better idea to find ways to take care of ourselves and take care of each other. I think it’s a better idea to consider doing some local volunteering at an organization that you feel will make a difference and move your personal agenda forward. I think it’s a better idea to smile and say hello to a stranger on the street. We need to heal.
Mostly importantly, I think it is prudent to acknowledge that half of the people in America want very different things than the other half do. We are all human beings but we don’t all agree. This is a fact and the reality of living in America right now. And though it’s tough to think about our elected leadership for the next four years, it’s an opportunity to try and understand each other better. And if you can’t bear that, there’s always Montreal. A beautiful man there did promise to take good care of me. Maybe just another long weekend visit!
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