Mama Stands Up

Darkness.  I lay in the darkness feeling numb.  Am I awake?  Praying for that feeling a relief to wash over me like slipping into a steaming bath.  But that warmth does not arrive.  Instead panic flashes.  Hot and dry in my throat.  What am I going to say to my children?  I need to be brave.  But how can I dig for that courage when it’s not there?  It’s buried deep under fear, panic, shame and sheer disappointment that runs white hot through me.

For months, I have pushed this possibility to the side.  For nearly a year, I’ve laughed this off as an embarrassing joke.  But what I have really done is forced myself to believe in humanity.  Challenged my fearful mind to trust that good will win- it has to, right?  That the majority of humans care beyond their doorstep.  Feel a sense of duty to protect our so very fragile society and vote with their hearts.  The disappointment I feel is for the reality that what’s in my heart is not in the majority of the hearts across our country.  I struggle to reconcile the notion that I’m the minority in my values.

5:49am.  Cub walks in to my room and crawls into bed.  Warm, innocent hands wrap into my own.  Did Hillary win, Mom?  I hesitate.  Waiting.  Like I’m expecting something wise to come.  Instead, No, baby.  She didn’t is all that falls out.  He rolls over to face me.  Searching my eyes and my mouth, his breath whispering, heart pumping.  She didn’t win I say again.  This time a little louder, pushing my voice past the hardness in my throat, testing how the words feel in my mouth, how it sounds to hear myself say it.  Cubs eyes fall.  He knows that evil won today.

The piercing, jagged truth is, he knows what this means.  I openly shared my feelings for not supporting Donald Trump.  My children know all the reasons this man did not earn our vote.  I shared these reasons because I genuinely did not believe that others would be able to see past the truths, the facts, and support him.  Of course I knew some could but I had no idea so many would.  So now I feel duped.  So does my kid.  So now what.  What do we do?

Well for starters, I am not going to be silent.  I am not going to roll over and make the best of this.  I am going to Stand Up.  I am going to look for places where I can Stand Up.  And Standing Up now means something different.  I won’t be silenced by Facebook, like I realize I have been for so long.  Words on a screen that mean nothing.  No action.  Look, I shared an article!  Now that I’ve let everyone know what side of an issue I’m on, I can go back to posting pics of my kids, recipes or memes.  For fucking real?  You know whats different about activism now than during the 60’s?  You actually had to show up to Stand Up.  You couldn’t just post a pic of a Civil Rights March, hashtag it and call it a day.  You actually had to show up.

I hear people say about the election outcome, We did this.  Guess what?  I actually didn’t do this.  And I am sick of being the We.  The We are the people who voted for this man.  The We don’t hold the same values as what’s in my heart.  The We are the people who are just going to go about their business and ignore the fact that evil won.  That gender discrimination, racial ignorance, anti-Muslim and anti-immigration won.  I am not the We.  I am the Me.  And the Me feels like the only thing I can do right now is Stand Up.  I vow to seek out injustice.  And DO something about it.  No matter how small that is.  I will no longer smile apologetically at the woman holding a “WOMEN’S RIGHTS MATTER” sign outside Planned Parenthood.  I will hold a sign next to her.  Are you Muslim?  I’m in your corner.  Are you an immigrant?  A refugee?  Are you black?  Consider me your ally.  Are you gay?  I will hold your hand.  Are you a strong, powerful woman?  I’ve got your back, girl.  I will not look for fights but I will seek opportunities to show that I am not the We.

And I will do this in front of my kids.  I will encourage them to do the same.  To say nothing is not an option for me.  And as angry as I was at 5am, I feel that anger replaced with a sense of duty.  I have deactivated my Facebook account to push myself to use action as my platform, instead of a social media account.  I’ll dearly miss the pics of your adorable kiddos but this feels more important to me right now.  I need to challenge myself to act instead of post a status or share a comical clip from the Daily Show.  Now, I have a sense of how to move forward.  I may not be able to influence laws from my tiny town in a tiny state but I can let people know how I feel about them.  I am not the We.  I can show up.  And I will Stand Up.  And I hope you will too.  Because it’s the only way I know to get through this right now.

With all my heart, I wish you Peace, Mamas.

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