This Is the Darkest Timeline. And This Is Our Catharsis. Love, The Mary Sue Staff
There are no words.
But we will try to muster them anyway. This is not going to be a positive post. We have given you some positive posts today, and we will give you more after this one, but for the moment, we’re going to take some time to grieve what has been lost already and what will be lost in the United States in the years to come, now that white supremacist ideology has become increasingly normalized by the public, the press (not here, never here) and our new President… not to mention the Senate, the House, and soon, the Supreme Court.
We’re struggling today, but we are here.
Maddy: I can’t seem to stop my brain from cycling through the worst case scenarios that are now not only possible, but probable. It’s very difficult for an anxious brain like mine to find the silver lining on a day like today.
There’s this term within anxiety called “catastrophizing”–your brain spirals outward into horrible scenarios, unbidden. It’s the type of issue that therapy can teach you to unravel, with time and practice.
“What is the worst case scenario?” That’s the phrase on my therapy worksheets. Here’s what they recommend: you picture the worst case scenario, and you think about how you will deal with it. Eventually, when you have a plan, you–in theory–slow down the spiral and settle back into a place where the worst case scenario seems manageable. It’s still horrible, to be sure, but it’s manageable. It’s fixable, workable, bearable.
That’s how the theory behind cognitive behavioral therapy goes, anyway. But it’s not very helpful today. At least not to me.
The worst case scenario here doesn’t feel bearable. The worst case scenario is global warming getting even worse, with natural disasters continuing unabated, and fresh water becoming increasingly hard to access, leading to widespread death and destruction. The worst case scenario is nuclear warfare, with an irresponsible and completely unprepared person calling the shots, thereby leading to widespread death and destruction. The worst case scenario is the complete loss of civil rights for every marginalized person: immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ+ people, women (especially non-white women), and so on. The worst case scenario is deportations and work camps and concentration camps. This is not an overreaction or an exaggeration. This is not “catastrophizing.” These are stated policy goals of the Trump administration. It’s not the worst case scenario, for them. It is their aim.
Not to mention that Obamacare faces complete upheaval. For the moment, I have health care from The Mary Sue, but before I worked here, when I worked as a freelance writer, I would not have had health care at all without Obamacare. I need health care in order to get the drugs, not to mention the therapy, that I need to survive. I’m not the only person in that position. But I am lucky–I have supportive friends and family members who, if I lost my job and went broke, would let me stay with them.
Why am I worried about something like that happening? Because freedom of the press is in grave danger, too. How much longer will we be able to write articles like the one you’re reading right now? That remains uncertain.
For the moment, though, we can write this. I still have the right, and the means, and the resources, and the emotional energy, to write this.
That’s it. That’s my only silver lining today.
Teresa: What upsets me most now isn’t even a Trump presidency. It’s that too many in this country CHOSE that.
Honestly, Trump/Pence isn’t what scares me. What scares me is that the people that I thought were capable of listening to their better angels are not. What scares me is that the people, my people in my country, that I thought might have my back if push came to shove…don’t.
I feel adrift, and angry, and hurt, and sad, and afraid, because I am female, Latina, and a queer woman. I feel like a not-insignificant number of my fellow citizens have turned their back on me, and people like me. Even some in my circle who were Clinton supporters have been treating this loss today like a normal swing of the political pendulum. As if the lives of people in certain communities weren’t in very real danger.
I’m Puerto Rican. So while the talk of “building a wall” and all the horrific things Trump has said on the campaign trail about undocumented people hit me hard, this Latina voter is also deeply concerned about the place where her parents came from being run into the ground. Puerto Rico is already going through a financial crisis thanks to being a carcass that’s been picked clean by vulture, I mean venture, capitalists. Puerto Rico is part of the United States, its people citizens, and yet thanks to colonialism, capitalism, and racism, it continues to be treated like nothing more than a tax loophole, a vacation spot, or a place to test weapons. Trump promises a lot when it comes to businesses. It’s likely that under a Trump Presidency, businesses will continue to get away with treating Puerto Rico like a dumping ground as its people suffer and schools and hospitals close.
Meanwhile, I’m a woman marrying a trans woman, and there’s a very real possibility that much of the hard-won progress that has been made with regard to all the letters in the LGBTQIA acronym will be rolled back. We talked last night about whether we’ll still be able to get married when we want to or, even if we do, if it will stay legal. As a cis woman, I worry about my rights, and as a trans woman she has entirely different concerns about her rights, and together we worry about LGBTQIA rights in general, and it’s all a huge clusterfudge. We should not have to be worried about progress that’s already been made. But that’s what happens when backward-thinking people are elected to office. Things tend to go backward.
That is, unless the majority of the people in this country, the people who voted Clinton, fight to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Jessica: I am beyond terrified.
I am struggling to find the right words to convey this… intangible, roiling mess within my gut. Somewhere, deep down inside, I know that the hopeful light with which I used to view so many of my fellow Americans may one day return, but for now, it’s veiled by this overwhelming sense of dread and worry for those amongst us who may be unable to protect themselves.
It’s funny; I wrote up some words on what I wanted to say if Hillary Clinton won the presidency. Those words–in a document entitled “If Hillary Wins (Thank Fucking God)”–read, in part:
I could really only feel one thing: complete and utter exhaustion. This exhaustion, this feeling that’s been dominating my entire life since the beginning of this years-long nightmare has been nothing short of pervasive, and now here, at the end of all things, I can’t help but feel like I’m letting out a breath that I didn’t realize I was holding. Here’s the thing: as many of my colleagues here have already stated, this is far from the end of the fight.
The breath I mention there is one of relief–one emphatically expelled in the same sense of relief that one feels after narrowly dodging a bullet. Here, though, that breath is expelled in short, ragged, tear-stained jags.
This feeling of exhaustion and tiredness remains the same. As of late, I have found myself growing increasingly tired of how things are going. Unfortunately, as a queer trans woman, the tiredness and exhaustion aren’t things I can just shrug off at the end of the day; they are a daily part of my life. Now, faced with the prospect of a Trump administration (which are two words I am finding myself physically sickened at having typed), the realization that this exhaustion will only grow worse has begun its slow, sinking, insidious pervasion into my everyday life.
But the thing is, despite knowing that things are about to get so much more worse, I find myself holding even tighter to the belief that there are still good people out there. As I said, that light, that hopeful light thinly veiled by dread, is only veiled–it isn’t gone. I am not gone. You are not gone.
We are not gone.
In the coming days, weeks, months, and years, we will be pushed to the very edge (if we’re not there already) and beyond, but I believe–I must believe–that we can and we will survive. What I want, what I truly want for the marginalized people in this country, is to find not only a way through the next four, eight, ten or twenty years, but to also find each other.
If we cannot count on those in power, if we cannot count on those who would call us our allies while at the same time ignoring our needs, then we must, we must, we must find the power within all of us.
Though my belief in everything else is shaken right now, I find that my resolve in the following has only grown: that you and I and all of us have power beyond measure somewhere deep inside, and it is made stronger when we stand together and openly love and care for one another. So on that, I want to say: I love you, dear one. You, who reads these words right now in this very moment and for whatever moments may come: I love you.
Charline: I’ve always ascribed to the idea that kindness and empathy matter most when it’s difficult. Empathy towards people who have so much hate within them. Empathy towards people who think they’re doing what’s right. Over the last year I’ve found it increasingly difficult to be kind, and yesterday I felt nothing but grief and sadness. Some coped with anger, humor, or planning for the future–I could only cry for our country.
This is only the second election where I could vote, and going from Obama to Trump is, well, devastating. I’ve never been a very patriotic person, but as the child of first-generation immigrants who sacrificed relationships, livelihood, and more than I’ll ever know so my sister and I could have more, I understood what America symbolized. More importantly, I understood what America could be. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it could be a place where we celebrate opportunity, diversity, and progress. I feel like I got a glimpse of that as we rallied behind Clinton. Now, I’m just relieved my mom doesn’t live in the U.S. anymore. I loved this country, and last night made it abundantly clear that it doesn’t love me back.
As I type this, I’m watching Obama on the television asking us not to turn cynical. That’s really, really hard to do right now. I’m scared. I’m horrified. I know we’ll endure, we always have–but people are in very real danger. The crisis line I volunteer at is at a ridiculous volume right now, and I’m so, so scared for us.
I promise I’ll get back to jokes, memes, and silly nerdiness eventually. After all, it would be a welcome distraction. But right now, we all have to find our own ways to cope. I see so many LGBTQ+ people, women and POC grieving, but I see even more reaching out and being kind. Hug someone you love. Take care of each other and yourselves. I love you.
Keisha: I feel….numb. I suppose I started to feel that way earlier this year as more police shootings came to light and my white liberal friends tried to explain to me why it wasn’t about race because those black men did something wrong. Yesterday, those same white liberals failed not just me, but Muslims, LGBTQIA people, and women when they helped elect a man endorsed by the KKK and who was also set to go on trial for the rape of a 13-year-old into office. [Ed. note: Trump’s accuser dropped her case this week; her lawyer explains that she has “received numerous threats” and has been “living in fear” throughout the process. It is worth noting, also, that she is not the only person to have accused Trump of rape and/or sexual assault.]
To say that I am filled with anger, despair, regret, and disgust is an understatement. However, those sentiments remain trapped under a layer of numbness and exhaustion. I’m tired of hearing my voice drowned out by people who can’t see past their white privilege. I’m tired of hearing male politicians who can’t even correctly identify my reproductive organs make decisions about my health and well-being based on their own, personal religion. And I am so damn tired of watching people bend over backwards to uphold a system of oppression to maintain their own comfort while me, my friends and family struggle to get by only to be told to “work harder.”
It doesn’t surprise me that millions of Americans sided with bigotry, but it still stings. I’d like to say I have hope that this will bring us even closer together and stronger in our resolve to fight against the fear, intolerance and hatred this election made clear still remains deeply rooted in our society. But right now, I can’t get past my numbness.
Trump says he will be a president for ALL Americans, and I refuse to believe a word he says. Not with everything he has said and done during the race, and certainly not after he chose his running mate Mike Pence, a man who believes in conversion therapy and not funding HIV/AIDS research because he thinks gays should know better.
Maybe I’m still reeling from the results and need more time to process, but I have this sinking feeling in my gut that will not go away. It feels like America just took a giant step… in the wrong direction.
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