To be honest, November 8th will be etched into my memory forever. As I sit here in front of my computer, I have written and rewritten this introduction more times than I would like. I wanted to paint the picture for my readers, while equating this event to Game #7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I could not bring myself to equate such a momentous day, when the Lakers defeated our rivals, to such a sad day where Trump was named President-elect.
Similarly though, it too is a day I will never forget. During the morning of November 8th, I felt a level of pride as I cast my vote. Yes, I had a neuropsych exam the following morning, but nothing could steal my joy because I was proud to be with her. Although Hillary Clinton was not who I originally supported, I understood the importance of choosing the best candidate suited for the job. No one could tell me anything that day, as I sat in front of my computer to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia.
Perhaps someone should have told me: “never underestimate white supremacy,” and how much Hillary Clinton was hated. It was arrogant of me to think that Clinton had it in the bag, just because no one was vocal about their support of Trump. Maybe they were not vocal, because they knew that their opinion was unpopular? I really don’t know, but I am channeling my rationalization defense mechanism as I process this traumatic time. As I drove home from studying, I was ready to watch the election results come in.
“24-3 Trump.” Within minutes of the polls closing, my pride turned to fear. How could this be? I thought Clinton had this in the bag?! Wrong. As Trump’s electoral votes increased, so did my fear and worry. I could care less about him being a Republican, but I was afraid of what was to come with Trump as President. Trump was not only a Republican candidate, but he represented the American Independent Party. A party which has historically offered their support to candidates with segregationist platforms. Trump’s election signified to closeted racists, misogynists, sexists, anti-LGBTQ and xenophobics, that it is okay to marginalize and victimize a group of people. That it is okay to infringe upon other’s rights and freedoms, just because they are opposed to progress.
I am just as American as the next person, and yet now I must carry an additional burden of understanding the implications of Trump as President. I must think about the implications of what life would be like for my children (when I have kids, of course). Most importantly, I must realize that just because I will be a physician that title will not save me from other’s bigotry. Therefore, I will embark upon a journey of self-care, wisdom and preparedness. I will embark upon a new journey always keeping in mind what I felt on November 8th, 2016 at 9:00pm.
To those who are still processing their feelings, please keep self-care in mind. We have to love ourselves now more than ever. And once we’ve began the process of healing we can venture to the drawing board to determine our next plan of action. Do not allow others to steal your joy, your journey, or your purpose. We are all equals before God, and I challenge us all to stand in that realization. Know that you are loved, even when the world right now is a particularly ugly place.
Dare to be a rose who’s determined to grow through concrete.