This has been one of those weeks that started with optimism, hope and drive, but tragically ended in a puddle of melted dream-like tears. I suspect I am not the only person in the world who felt this transition. For me, it was half personal and half patriotic. Or in the end, whole human. I don't consider myself an articulate politico nor do I think I can eloquently express anything better than the thousands of people putting their two cents into the cybersphere since this past Tuesday. But I write a blog about my life and emotional ramblings, so that is what I will do.
On Tuesday evening, I went to a pub quiz through the British Meetup I often attend. I wasn't really sure what I was in the mood for on USA election night, but I didn't think it would be a bad idea to be out and about with good friends. Obviously living in Paris meant that no matter how many times I checked my phone for election updates, I wasn't going to see anything concrete for several hours past my bedtime. So I had some wine, answered some trivia, and had the lucky good fortune to see my recent ex-boyfriend for the first time since he broke up with me on a text message. Since I am currently experiencing a semi-existential crisis at the hands of a hideous visa situation, I admit that my stress level is exceptionally high in contrast to my emotional threshold which is exceptionally low. Politics plus ex-boyfriend plus general anxiety plus wine did not end overly well... particularly when I woke up the next morning with a new narcissistic despot as President.
I have always considered myself a liberal, a democrat when voting, but not significantly political in any organized way. However I, like most people in this recent election season, made my views clear and supported Hillary Clinton, who for me was the only fathomable choice. But I didn't imagine myself waking up after the results came in amidst a noticeable shift in the time-space continuum. I didn't anticipate feeling shocked and saddened and fearful that if I have to return to the United States, that I will live under a new reign of fascism.
I am a privileged white girl who won't have to deal with as many snap judgments based on my appearance unless I am being assessed as a viable female commodity. I am also not without fault when it comes to selfishness or ignorance. But I partly chose to live abroad because I relish in learning about new cultures and meeting different people and having the freedom to pursue and enjoy opportunities. I love my friends and family and believe that all Americans are equal no matter where they're from, particularly because we are all from other places.
Since living in France, I have realized how rare and special it sometimes is to be American. When I was growing up, it was a common question to ask your friends where they were from. Because we all had ancestors from a billion different countries and thought it was the height of cool to have a mix of cultures running through us. Nowadays when asked where I'm from, I just simply say the States. I think what makes me saddest of all is of course how important it now is to explain to people that not all Americans are defined by Trump, but even more so that no matter how many idiotic and ludicrous things he says, a very large majority of us still embrace the melting pot of our history and relish in the differences we all have in common. I am horrified by the fear of diversity that is already taking its toll on American soil as a result of people having voted for racism and bigotry masquerading in change.
In addition to talking with friends about our families' patchwork genealogies, I remember playing the game M.A.S.H. until college at the very least. As silly and trite as it is, my list of jobs would always include actor, singer, writer and various other artistic feats, but oftentimes would include "love ambassador" too. I don't know if I ever really knew what this job would entail, I just knew that loving friends and family and lovers and strangers was one of the most gratifying feelings imaginable. It wasn't about being a martyr and sure as hell involved some self-indulgence wrapped in selflessness. But during a time when most of us are still processing the aftermath and awaiting the consequences, all we can hope to do is be as strong in our beliefs, as generous in our hearts and as loving in our actions as we possible can.