Yes, I truly believe there is.
It took me a long time to get to a mental space where I could really see this, but I see it now. While I truly and completely wish that Trump was not our president, and while I understand that it’s a fucking travesty and shame for this nation, there is a silver lining and we as reSISTERs need to hold on to that.
I want to dedicate this post to that silver lining. Without it, we’ve got very little to fuel our magic. So, here goes:
- It has shown me who my people aren’t. Before Trump won, things generally functioned under the guise of “politics as usual.” I was able to get through most friendships without ever really having the hard conversations. I didn’t really know my friend’s feelings on affirmative action or immigration. I didn’t know how they felt about police brutality or, you know, BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS. I just assumed. I just stupidly assumed that we were all on the same page and that their casual responses in conversations indicated assent. That was my bad. Because that was not the case. In the last few months, I have experienced what a new friend has called “The Great Culling.” People I thought were my friends are now no longer a part of my life. At first I was upset, but then I realized… a white male friend who truly believes his life is just as hard as any black man’s and that white privilege isn’t a thing? No place in my life. A family member who believes that BlackLivesMatter protesters are terrorists who deserve to be assaulted? No place in my life. A white male friend who can’t handle me challenging the space he makes for bigotry and hatred that directly impacts people I love? No place in my life. It’s no coincidence that most of the people with whom I have had these spats exist in some space of privilege, whether it is racial, gender-based, or sexuality-based (OR ALL 3!). And I am really OK with privileged assholes who can’t take the heat making their way out of my life. As a matter of fact, it feels so so good.
- It has shown me who my people are. Since Trump’s win, I have made some pretty great friends and I have reconnected with a lot of amazing family. I have made friends with people based on our mutual desire to resist hatred. I have reconnected with family based on our mutual goal of confronting ignorance that’s closer to home than we’d like. I have connected with people based on a mutual goal of progress… and that feels pretty amazing. My rival (it feels silly typing that because it is fucking ridiculous) from high school? One of the most inspirational feminists I know and a pretty great friend. My long lost middle school friend with whom I haven’t spoken in 15 years? An amazingly talented and strong woman with whom I feel connected for many reasons (which range from our interracial relationship challenges to our enjoyment of punching bags for stress relief). A pretty amazing, autistic social worker who is ready to challenge the status quo while still making times for Disney vacations? All of the yes. A super amazing ladyhacker (this may or may not be entirely accurate but like that’s how I see her soooo….) who went out and got an anti-fascist tattoo like month 1 and is always down to board the rage train with me? Yes. Yes yes yes. And honestly, these are just a few. I am so incredibly lucky to have had all of these incredible people become part of my life. And if it took the disaster of Donald J. Trump to do that… well then so be it, I guess.
- It has shown me who I am. Today, in a Lyft, a stranger looked at me after listening to me rail against the white patriarchy and said “You’re such a Critical Race Theorist. I’m obsessed.” That was a huge moment for me. I am no longer a woman floundering for her purpose. I am no longer a former teacher, who left education because she was tired of a system that was turning kids of color into data points and mechanizing education in a way that stifles radical, critical thinking. I am no longer a social work student who isn’t sure what she even wants to do when she’s done. I am an activist, who is ready to stand in defense of intersectional feminism and fight for social justice. I am a writer and a reSISTER. And honestly, if not for Trump’s win galvanizing me into self-assertive self discovery, I would probably still be wondering what my purpose in this world is.
So, my dear and new friends, my not-so-dear and former friends, my dear and steadfast friends: find, trust and embrace the silver lining. Let these trying times challenge you to figure out who you are. Let them be the Great Culling, but also let them inspire you to find and connect with new people who can be a source of support and inspiration. As a new friend wrote in an email sent via the contact form on this blog: what a time to be alive. And seriously, what a time.