The Election of 2016: Not Letting Fear Win

I was standing in line at an Einstein Bagels this morning and felt a wave of emotion come over me that eventually led to a little bit of public crying.

I tried to figure out what it was, it was hard to place at first.

The moment I walked into the store, I was surprised by the immediate feelings of distrust and hurt that washed over me. I felt it earlier this week in a department store, and I recognized how terrible that felt. This time, for some reason, I swept my gaze over the people around me and I did that thing we have been encouraged to do: “let love in.”

I kept hearing people this week saying how we need to do this, now more than ever during this time of turmoil. I knew it sounded like a good thing to do, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it.

It ended up happening during what has felt to me in the past like an ordinary moment of being amongst strangers in a public place. It happened when I realized that I was now experiencing this ordinary moment differently— feeling on edge, wary, distant, and hurt.

If there’s anything I hated in that moment, it was how isolated and alone it felt. Standing there wondering if anyone else cared that I was feeling that way, or if anyone else felt the same way I did, was one of the worst feelings I’ve felt in my lifetime.

In that moment at Einstein’s, I made the decision to open myself up to the humanness of everyone there. People just wanting bagels and coffee. People with plans for the day. People with personal challenges and struggles and joys unrelated to the election. I grew tearful realizing how good it felt to let go of distrust and hurt in that moment.

As I waited for my order I could hear the thought come in: “Does anyone here truly hope that I, as a queer person, have my rights taken away as a result of having a Donald Trump administration? Does anyone here wish to make the transgender community invisible, whom I passionately advocate for on a daily basis?”

The answer was, “There’s no way to know.” The cashier handled me my order with a genuine smile, and I was able to smile back.

This isn’t a way to delude or distract myself from the reality of what has happened. This is a way to keep myself from allowing fear to win.

Oh, and another added bonus to keeping my heart open? I thought about what it must be like to be someone who is unable to hide the color of their skin when they are amongst strangers. They might even wonder if I am someone who sees them as second-class citizens, or worse.

I want them to know I don’t, far from it! So I need to keep my head up and my eyes open so I convey this to them with a genuine smile.

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  • Emma Sweet

    November 12, 2016 at 1:43 PM Reply

    I am grieving too. This morning I read in the NYT that Trump may also try to undo same-sex marriage. That, and if for some reason Trump is found guilty in the Trump U. scandal then we’re left with Mike Pence, and I think we know where he stands.

    It is all so scary. Is this the start of the decline and fall of the United States? The rise of a fascist German-like state? Or might it become a rallying cry for all Americans when we see that Trump’s platform promises were empty at best.

    It’s at times like these when we need to build and support our communities. Local as well as those like yours, on the Internet. We need to make our voices heard, peacefully and consciously taking the higher ground of love and goodness.

    As you wrote in your book now is an excellent example of a Hero’s Journey. We’re in Act 2 now, trying to come to terms with our situation and coming up with plans and tactics to deal with it.

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      November 13, 2016 at 3:19 PM Reply

      You are so right about this being Act 2! Now you’ve gone and inspired me to write something about that for a future blog post. Thank you 🙂

  • Jennifer

    November 19, 2016 at 5:14 PM Reply

    While I am just in questioning phase if you will and Canadian I am insulated to a degree there is still apprehension as to what will transpire in the USA. If you can all learn something from your northern cousins learn this: Find peace in unity but don’t find wrongness in others. Make compromises to work together rather then bicker and fight to be apart.

    I realize Canada has its issues to (racism etc) but seems more polarized in the USA. If you don’t think Trump has not had an effect he has without actually being president yet. There will be some that will promote hate to whatever they deem as wrong yet if we can work together for peace and see the good in others I pray we can all find a better world to live in. Perhaps this is not so much about Trump but more about rooting out the social issue of hate in general and even in my view as an outsider is to look at different political structure. What I mean by political structure is the American 2 party system and your election system to be honest is not very democratic but rather it needs an overhaul. Will I say Canada is the best well no I wont but from how I see it it is indeed better.

    May the change and the hardships bring about peace, unity and a better future for USA and the world In general. Please be tolerant in any way you can. With tolerance of any sort will bring strength and unity through diversity. The tolerance of diversity is I feel what makes Canada better then USA but also not saying USA is bad either just in a growth stage as a country. Let peace triumph over hate!:)

    • Dara Hoffman-Fox

      November 19, 2016 at 5:35 PM Reply

      I was just thinking today about how this is a growth stage for America. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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