From Here

Like many of you, I am still struggling to accept the results of the United States 2016 Presidential Election. Lost, confused, devastated, and fearful are just a few emotions that I have been feeling after Donald Trump was elected president. In the past 24 hours, I have experienced moments where I yearned to rush out into the streets and join the protests, screaming at the top of my lungs that these results just cannot be, I explored the immigration websites of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, I have wondered who of my international friend base would be willing to marry me so that I could gain citizenship in their country; and I even seriously prayed to God to start the raptures mentioned in Revelations. In other words, I am taking this just as hard as the millions of Americans who voted against this outcome.

There are abundant reasons I could write about at length as to why I believe that America has made a terrible mistake in electing Trump to be president, but you have already heard all of it; there are plenty of other publications out there highlighting the consequences that are ahead for our nation and the world. Rather, I write about where I will go from here, from this defining and upsetting moment in our nation’s history.

One of my favorite authors and inspirations, Elizabeth Gilbert, shared a thought-provoking and moving Facebook post the day after the election, all focused around the question, “Who do I want to be in this situation?” A simple question, but one with deep meaning, especially now.

liz

Who do I want to be in this situation? This situation that is so uniquely distressing? With all of this happening, who does Johnny La Pasta want to be in this situation? When I sat and thought about this question for myself, I realized that I had two choices: I could allow myself to be so shaken, hateful, and angry that I start to behave in ways that are not reflective of my true self OR I could choose to continue being me.

The truth of it is, that while I believe that many of the people in America made a mistake in who they elected for their president, they do not get the opportunity to elect the person that I am at my core. I cannot control who the next president is, I cannot control what he will do, but I can control my actions, my reactions, and my beliefs.

So, who do I want to be in this situation? I want to be a person who is kind, I want to be a person who is warm, I want to be a person who is accepting, I want to be a person who is loving. I want to be a person who pours passion into my writing and my teaching so that my written and spoken words impact positively. I want to be a person who leads a healthy and happy life and be a good example for others to do the same. I want to be a force for good and light in the world, no matter how harsh and dark it may feel around me. And so, I elect to be all of this rather than allowing myself to be defeated and broken.

Another of my favorite authors and life inspirations, J.K. Rowling, tweeted the following:

jk

And these words are also representative of who I want to be in this situation. I want to be a strong person. I want to be a warrior for my beliefs and values. And so, I elect to be that warrior. There may come a time where my friends in the Black, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, and otherwise generally non-white communities, and my friends in the LGBT community, and my friends in the feminist community are compromised and threatened even worse than they are today. Who do I want to be in these possible situations? I want to be passionate, determined, and filled with conviction. I want to be a champion and a warrior for them. I will be a person who shields them, shelters them, and stands for them, because that is the person I am and will always choose to be.

So where do we go from here? We had a choice as a country, and we’ve regretfully made it. However, we still have a choice for each of our individual selves. Who do we want to be in this situation, now that so much has changed and will continue to change? We can be fearful, we can be angry, we can be hateful, we can be violent. OR, we can be kind, we can be light, we can be love. We can still be champions for what is right. We can continue to be progressive even if others wish to regress. We can still defend and cultivate good in this world; no one can take that away from us.

 

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