I started several blog posts in response to Trump’s election. They were very angry, very emotional, and very aware of how little those posts would make a difference in the whole scheme of things. One was addressed to Trump supporters, trying to say in too many words what Libby O’Neille (@LibbyON) summed up in a tweet:
Current thought: the struggle to keep doors open with people who don’t understand that this is not about politics. It’s about human dignity.
I am unable to put things into words right now, into words that sound reasonable and gracious, and not just more angry political babble.
All I’m going to say is this: I didn’t cry about this election until Thursday, where, I am embarrassed to say, I sobbed on two separate occasions so loudly and so long that I’m sure the neighbors would have unanimously voted to kick out the occupants in apartment No. 14.
Mostly, I cried about apathy. More than anything else in the world, I hate apathy — the thing that mocks others’ pain as whiny liberal millennial issues, that responds to sorrow and reason alike with rolled eyes, that demands sufferers to get a grip and explain every single detail of their pain in “rational” terms before it will even consider listening, that says “yeah, but” when someone shares the deepest, tenderest part of her heart.
I cried that my tears didn’t matter. They weren’t doing anyone good. They wouldn’t change anyone’s minds. In fact, my pain seemed dangerous to the causes I cared about — another example of a liberal, millennial, SJW crybaby throwing a tantrum. Another reason for people to roll their eyes and say, “Get over yourself.” Another reason for people to ignore the real sorrows of the marginalized, because mine seem so trivial.
I cried about crying, about feeling things, about not being able to put what I feel into respectable words that’ll grab people’s attention and make them listen, about knowing people still wouldn’t listen no matter how perfect my words were, anyway.
I cried about all the stupid, painful talking past each other I engaged in on social media and in real life with people I loved. I cried alongside my husband at 2 AM, after a particularly heated argument that was about so much more than Trump, about how bleepin’ difficult it is to communicate.
I cried about how people’s minds aren’t changed by words or reason or passion, but by the slow, painful process of living, saying sorry, and standing in others’ shoes; how most people will not choose that process; and how there’s nothing I can do about that.
I cried about the struggle it is to attempt that process — to stay tender, gracious, and open-minded to those I viscerally disagree with, to apologize to others when they have just as much or more to apologize for to me, to remember that this sensitivity is good and needed and helpful and not a sign that I’m going crazy.
I cried about how much hope, courage, and kindness this hopeless, unkind world requires; how little of it I possess; and how tired I am of trying to possess it.
I suspect some of my readers might have had a night like this. I know people think your pain is crazy, but I, at least, don’t agree. I am honored to be seen as a SJW crybaby with you.