It’s been a while since I’ve put anything on here.
And man, has a lot changed.
Among the more recent events in my life, I cast my vote for the very first time on November 8th. I was late to work, but have absolutely no regrets at all, and it was an honor to cast my vote for a woman nominated for President for the very first time in the history of the United States.
Later that evening, I, along with millions of others, was completely numb. I had both jobs that day, and simply went through the motions, not really processing anything, and I could tell I was not alone. It was stunning. It didn’t even begin to feel real, like this was reality. It felt like an elaborate prank, but I gradually made myself believe that yes, this was really a thing.
Donald Trump, a man who caused at least a hundred scandals during the course of his campaign, openly mocked a disabled reporter, and thrived on preaching inaccurate information, had in fact been elected as the 45th President of the United States.
Off-hand, I know of maybe 4 people who supported his campaign. I bear them no ill will, because I know they had their own individual reasons for voting for him. But needless to say, it’s troubling.
And in his first week in office alone, his executive orders have had plenty of far-reaching effects, with more reported at be coming (not to mention an executive order permitting discrimination against LGBT people based on religious reasons).
But in-between the chaos of the Cabinet confirmation hearings, the threats thousands, if not, millions are facing, and plenty more, there are slim glimmers of hope. The women’s march held earlier this month is a shining example of that. It marks the first time in my lifetime I have seen millions of people gather to protest in favor of equal rights for women, and it’s truly moving. This was not one singular event, held in one city with a couple dozen people. This was held in several cities throughout the United States and the world, and drew in millions of participants. A close second are the protests at airports throughout the country against the immigration order. Members of Hollywood have made numerous public statements regarding this, and former President Obama, despite stating that he will give Trump his space, has issued his first statement against him within only 9 days of handing over the keys to the White House.
What’s going on in the world right now is absolute chaos. This is a very tumultuous time in history, and rather than healing the wounds and moving forward together, many prominent individuals are striving to do the exact opposite, and it’s terrifying.
But it’s important to remember that thousands of African-Americans didn’t sit in their homes in fear in the mid-1900s at the height of the civil rights movement. Thousands of women didn’t sit down and accept things as they were in the early 1900s prior to women gaining the right to vote. This country has had a longstanding history of those standing up for their rights when their rights are threatened, and that’s exactly what’s happening now.
There are few things more powerful than massive groups of people. History has been changed in the past as a result of this, and has changed for the better. The most powerful weapon against hate, bigotry, and discrimination is you, and your voice. The notion that one person cannot alter the course of society is fundamentally false, and any person that attempts to make you believe otherwise is simply incorrect.
I believe, as I always have, that every single person is equal. Some are more intelligent than others, or nicer than others, or more outgoing, or more well-known, or more ambitious. But regardless of numerical figures, sexual orientations, skin colors, religions, genders, and other identifying factors, everyone is equal. What you do with the gift of your life will determine who you choose to define yourself as, but when it comes to adoption rights, healthcare, salaries, marital rights, and so forth, everyone should have the same opportunities afforded to them as anyone else. Period. A popular opponent that gained notoriety a year and a half ago, Kim Davis, made her resistance to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling well-known, which later proved inconsequential as marriage licenses in Rowan County began to be issued to all applicants.
As long as you are alive, you can make an impact. Financial donations to organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union (which received $24 million over the weekend in its biggest show of support ever) can, in fact, make a difference. Calls, letters, and emails to state representatives can ensure they are aware of how their constituents feel. An important detail to highlight: Reelections for several of them are happening next year in November; this can dramatically alter the way Congress is able to conduct business, and the types of actions they are able to do or not do depending on who occupies those seats. Change can happen, but only if you’re willing to fight for it.
I have come to more realizations about myself and the types of people I’m after. I spent the entirety of the previous semester attempting to engage in a friendship with a guy I’ve known for a year and a half, which, up until I realized this recently, was a one-sided effort on my part, as he made no attempts to make any types of plans with me. One of the hardest lessons is taking a step back, taking a breath, and not trying to force something that won’t happen. To me, he made it very clear he was not interested in anything friendship-wise with me. I don’t hate him; hating someone because they don’t want to be friends with you or don’t want anything to do with you is childish. I do, however, wish he was more open to getting to know me. And yet, the fight goes on.
I recently engaged in a friendly conversation with a guy through Grindr. We had made plans to hang out one Wednesday after I got done working. Little to my surprise, he canceled after I messaged him earlier that day to see if he was still free. Things change. Life is unpredictable. Despite being one of the remarkably few guys interested in conversing with me, and being pretty nice to boot, it’s been 24 hours since I’ve heard from him. Still, the fight goes on.
I have slowly learned who is and isn’t worth the time and effort, and it’s been a wonderful thing to come to this realization. The hardest struggle I have is having most of my friends being of the virtual variety. The only contact I have through them is through social media and texting, which I believe makes it very easy to randomly refuse to talk to someone ever again and not bother to give any reasons, irrespective of their feelings. People make it look so easy to use you for what they need, and toss you aside afterward and not even look back.
I know I’m worth far more than that. My life has meaning. I matter. I exist. And any single person who does not place the same value in me as I place in so many others is not someone I need to concern myself with.
I know I have the power to change my life, and make it into what I want it to be. It’s been a slow climb; the most popular question I still receive is “Why are you so quiet!?” But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit, and neither should anyone else. Life doesn’t get easier, you just get better.
Nobody ever said it’d be easy, they just promised that it’d be worth it.
The fight goes on.