tender hearts and tender days

I’ve been trying to blog regularly in earnest but have found that my drive to write anything has been quite stunted ever since November 9, 2016.

I think it’s important for me to acknowledge that as an employed, college educated person (with a STEM degree from an elite university with no debt), in a stable relationship with a partner of similar background and salary, and as someone who is a U.S. citizen who lives in a very liberal city— what has transpired since election day is nowhere close to being as dire for others in a less privileged position. My feelings < the lived in reality and fear that black and brown folks, undocumented folks, disabled folks, LGBT folks are facing and will face come 2017.

What I felt for the first time that night— being scared of living in the U.S. because of the very nature of my identity (as a femme person of color, and the child of immigrants) is something that is the reality of so many people in this country. I was willfully blind, ignorant and overly optimistic (really an obfuscation of the fact that many people in the U.S. are suffering). The shock I felt after the election was only a reflection of my privilege.

The work that I need to do is clear. Donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, organizations that support LGBT rights, immigrant rights, and disability rights. Organize like crazy on the local level, volunteer on the local level (right now I’m volunteering at Glide), and stop being so complacent.

I will readily admit that this has been a hard year, and there is so much hard work ahead. I have been feeling discouraged everyday. The President-Elect’s cabinet appointments are horrifying and awful. Reading about the Dakota Access Pipeline makes me feel powerless. A recent party at the Ghostship artist warehouse in Oakland (which that many of my mutual friends attended) ended up in flames and was the worst structure fire in modern California. Aleppo is heart wrenching, infuriating— and apparently the world’s response to live-tweeted genocide is to stand by and watch.

Looking for a “silver lining” in the face of injustice does an disservice to the victims of it. If you yourself are not a direct victim of violences in this world, it is important to fully face and confront the utter violence and unfairness that others are subjected to. We must watch unflinchingly and say without reservation, without placation, without hesitation,

“This is not right.”

My original blog post for November 9 was going to be a post about the importance of breakfast, “starting each day on the right foot” and on “new beginnings with a new President” (I had prepared content on various breakfast recipes.)

I will post those recipes eventually because breakfast is still important.

But what I want to communicate right now is my love and despair, and my commitment to holding my friends, my family, my communities, my loved ones— close and near to my heart. Tenderness, vulnerability and love are vital in difficult times, and as a meme I once read said, I resolve to “keep my heart in spite of the ever-encroaching void.”

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The void will be made tender because of it.

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