In the wake of any disaster, whether natural or man made, the most immediate need is the lifesaving work of the first responder. Assess the situation, bring relief, create safety. Rebuilding and healing for individuals and communities comes later.
[Disaster Strikes] During the national election results on Tuesday November 8, I was a complete wreck and in so much shock. Disbelief. Total meltdown. The truth is that the bubble I had unknowingly created for myself had been burst, and I was left feeling frightened, betrayed, raw, and very, very vulnerable. The reason I didn’t realize I had created a bubble around myself is that I have many, many friends with opposing viewpoints and political leanings. I have never hidden the fact that I am of a more liberal and progressive POV, and I don’t begrudge my more conservative leaning friends for their politics. We respectfully don’t agree on many things. I love that diversity of thought! Still, when it was clear that my candidate of choice was getting kicked hard in the pantsuit, I felt a profound sense of sadness, and a palpable fear for what might come next. I had an overwhelming feeling of panic beginning to set in because based on the racist, homophobic, sexist images I had seen throughout the campaign I was automatically equating a vote for Trump as a vote for hate. My heart was broken seeing the map turn blood red, thinking, “this cannot be true; we cannot be this hateful as a nation.” That, to me, felt like a disaster of epic proportions.
[First Responder] Over the next 48 hours, I reached out through my social media platforms to offer a small light of hope to anyone needing it. Letting people know they aren’t alone. Letting myself know I am not alone! I reached out, and began pouring more of my energy into sending love & hope & healing to those feeling the same sense of loss, fear, hopelessness. I isolated myself for a good while between “hope breaks” and just let myself be sad. I stretched, walked, prayed. I let myself cry hard (I mean full on ugly cry) whenever possible. I chose to keep my social media interaction minimal, and quickly diverted away from anyone being ugly (gloating, condescending, rude). My goal was just to stay in touch, show compassion, and create safe havens wherever possible.
[Healing & Rebuilding] Now is when the real hard work begins: healing and rebuilding. Spending so much of my time online is a big part of my job, but I can still choose how and where to put my energy. I am always most interested in creating and fostering compassionate community, so that’s what I will continue to do. I was totally shocked when my bubble burst, mostly because I had no idea I was even IN a bubble. I need to acknowledge and own up for my part in this so that I never allow it to happen again. I want to stay close to the people I am most comfortable with, but not at the exclusion of people with a different POV. I value differences of opinion and experience, and I will always welcome dialogue that is entered into with a spirit of mutual respect.
This is where shit gets real.
- I am actively seeking answers from those I care most about who voted differently than I did by creating safe spaces and times for us to dialogue.
- I am making the time and lovingly listening to their fears & frustration.
- I am choosing compassion for them and expecting the same in return because I am already in a valued relationship with them.
- I’m purposefully not sharing divisive memes, stories or articles. If someone on my timeline does, I won’t hide them. I will either reach out to them privately if I feel it can open dialogue, or keep on scrolling.
- I won’t entertain anyone just acting like an asshole though, and I will call out hate speech, racism, sexism, xenophobia, elitism, and homophobia each and every time.
- I am sharing tools and resources that offer help, hope, healing, love, compassion.
We each need to go beyond the vitriol and rhetoric, the sound bites and screenshots and memes. I want us to see the humanity in each other @Blsng_Butterfly
I believe our biggest need now is to connect with each other and understand wtf actually happened, how, and why. We each need to go beyond the vitriol and rhetoric, the sound bites and screenshots and memes. I want us to see the humanity in each other, and I will work passionately for that outcome.
<3 My Tribe <3 Certainly, the people who I vibe most closely with, folks who energize and excite and empower me, these are the people I want around me and who I will to look to for inspiration. But I can’t claim to be well-informed if I am only listening to the voices, ideas, views and opinions of those whom I easily agree with. It does nobody any good to exist in an echo chamber. I’m deciding now how to move forward together with those I can, build bridges for those with different views, and position myself more clearly as a voice of empowerment & hope.
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