A Question to Women

On November 9 I was driving to Logan Airport, listening to Hillary Clinton’s beautiful concession speech. I was in shock, dismay and immediate fear for so many lives and the democracy I loved. Many women I know, and many I don’t, were physically and mentally traumatized by Hillary Clinton’s loss in November. Many sank into depression.  Many cried, often. I know I did.

A year later I asked students I work with and posted on Facebook this question: “What has changed for you since the election of 45?” Thirty women-identified people who range in age from 19 to 70 responded with themes of fear, renewed activism, stress, anger and anxiety.

I feel like my perception of people has changed.

My wife and I talked about getting our gun permits and learning to shoot.

After being relatively lulled into a fake security I am awake, alert and back to fighting for rights.

I would have to say that what’s really changed is that I’m more wary of what could happen as I watch the news and try to put things in place to help. 

Since Trump’s election I have a general feeling of insecurity.

As soon as Trump was elected, I made an appointment to get an IUD. I had played with the idea for a while, and felt comfort knowing it would be an option for me while Obama was president. After Trump was elected, I was scared that my access to reproductive rights would be denied so I needed to be proactive in protecting myself.

I no longer allow for “innocent” comments, I follow up to see what the intent was.

I also go out of my way to smile, say hello and look at (see) diverse students on campus and stop and ask individuals who look troubled, anxious, etc. if they are safe and o.k.

I have become more aware of my surroundings and the people in them — not only for my own safety, but for the safety of those who are more marginalized than I am. I find myself definitively cutting ties with people who hold the same values as Trump (whether it be family or friends) because to me, if you support someone with policies that are so destructive to the lives of many (including the overall well-being of women), then I don’t want anything to do with you.

I feel like people have donned the attitude that being mean-spirited and attacking people is okay. I feel more hopeless that any efforts I make will help change anything. I feel like I trusted that we had a government of checks and balances, but those balances are only as good as the people in power’s willingness to use them. I am fearful for my children’s future. Personally, I have learned to not let people as close to me as I have in the past, let go of people in my life who have hurt me or show their willingness to hurt others through commentary or support of hatefulness, and have withdrawn more from deep involvement in my community. The stress is too much.

I’m angry. A lot. I’m angry some citizens just don’t care and are okay with this mess.

I am less timid about letting my associations be known. Before now, Democrat or Republican-focused discussions were stepping on toes and it was important to be impartial or to know when to be quiet. I refuse to pipe down. I need students around me to know where I stand so they know that I stand for them.

For me, I’m anxious. I’m terrified. As a kid I always worried that the world would end while I slept and constantly needed the reassurance that we’d all be there come morning. That fear is back, and makes me question everything. I was worried before about people labeling me feminist or liberal or etc. I wear it shamelessly now. No small comment goes unquestioned, no action unanswered for. I do my best to correct those around me and point out none of this is normal, and what we all have to lose. I feel like it’s now a mission to prevent them from prevailing and taking away everything we’ve worked for over the years. I feel as if we’re plunging head first for the dark ages and without resistance would be dragged down even faster. I’m at loss. I was clinging to hope, and it’s all but gone that anyone in our government will be do right by anyone but themselves.

I am far more politically aware, and I follow the news, as painful as it is, very closely every single day.

I feel far less able to cause change with activism, or at least more discouraged but at the same time I am more aware of how much work there is to be done.

I am worried about WW III, saddened by the loss of the values and practice of democracy that I have learned to love.  I have less faith in our system and am angry at Democrats for being so leaderless, powerless and passively compliant with 45.

I feel like we experienced the best in my lifetime with 44 and the very very worst with 45. It wasn’t that long ago that I was proud to hear my president speak every single time. And now this.

What has changed for me most is that I’ve acquired a “we’re not going to take it anymore” attitude.

I am more afraid for women in general, and specifically for my daughter and granddaughter. What does the future hold for us? For immigrants? Minorities? LGBT community? I have always felt relatively safe until 45 was elected.

You mean other than the uptick in depression, anxiety, and mental/emotional exhaustion?

Stress levels.

I took a good hard look at my life, realized I was really unhappy, reorganized my priorities, quit my job and moved cross country. I had been working in fast fashion for the past 10 years (the most wasteful industry in the world) and I couldn’t in good conscience continue working there with all the environmental policies being rolled back and the current administration’s attitude toward the environment. I couldn’t bear walking by the Trump Tower (unavoidable) and seeing the police detail that my tax dollars were paying for that was being taken away from my city, my community.

With 0 fucks left, feeling like he’s going to get us all killed or wish we were, I’ve decided to live in the now by drinking all of the good wine. And I’m not kidding.

Anger and despair. 24/7.

As for me, I am tired and anxious all the time, have revised my courses, try to ward off depression by being grateful that I live in an era in which my resistance actually counts and might make a difference in the long run. 

My alcohol consumption. In all honesty though — my eyes have really been opened to my own privilege as a white, cis, heterosexual, middle-class, American-born person. And I’m also very aware of my own racism — although certainly not intended — I will admit that it’s there. Am I an outright racist? No — but my upbringing in a 98% white state has made it unavoidable. I’ve been trying lately to do my best to recognize that, and even if it’s through baby steps, be a better person. A better ally to those who do not share my privilege.

I am worried 24/7. I have realized that I had no clue how some of my family and friends view the world and I have had to walk away from some of them. As a legal immigrant I am even toying with idea of moving back home as this country that I love does not feel like home right now.

Outrage exhaustion. I am supremely distrustful of anything coming out of the mouths of elected officials on either side. I’m afraid and discouraged that this giant mess is going to take decades to fix. I’ll admit I was complacent. I have never been an activist and now I stand up and question people directly about how and what they are saying –confronting the issue rather than smiling awkwardly and waiting for the horrible stink of the racist/classist/elitist/sexist statements to pass.

These 30 comments resonate with me in many ways.  I am hopeful that so many people who were complacent before are becoming engaged, activist and are paying attention. Yet within that hope is the anxiety and fear that every day some new chipping away at crucial women’s rights is being allowed. And underlying all of this, for me, is that a sexual predator is now our president and so many citizens think this is okay.

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