Sunday, November 20, 2016

How Daniel Tiger is helping me move past this disastrous election

How many stages of grief are there?

After Donald Trump's surprising election victory, I hit the anger stage pretty hard. I was angry that an incredibly experienced and intelligent woman was beaten by a neophyte with a bully-complex. I was angry that I hadn't realized half of my country's voters didn't care if someone was racist or misogynistic. I was angry that some of those voters were my family.

In order to deal with my anger, I shared a lot of stuff on Facebook. Because it's so effective and changes minds and is healthy. (ha)

Then, when I was at my lowest, when I thought I was going to be angry forever, Murphy was watching Daniel Tiger - he of the little ditties that help kids navigate their ever-expanding universe. And Daniel's song that episode shook me a bit, gave me a plan to deal with my election-anger.

"Saying 'I'm sorry' is the first step. Then 'How can I help?'"

So I'm sorry.

I'm sorry to the people of color in the US who feel even more abandoned.

I'm sorry to anyone whose sexual orientation is anything other than "hetero" who feels like maybe it's won't get better just yet.

I'm sorry to every other woman who, like me, is horrified that this person's views on women were just validated.

I'm sorry Trump's views were validated.

Now, how can I help?

Being out of the country and on a limited income, I realized it may be difficult for me to help in an obvious way. So I started thinking about what I can do from here.

I can start at home. I can teach my child that every human is important. I can teach my child to love the way Jesus loved when He was here, and the way He still loves now. That means every fucking skittle in the bowl is loved. (bah! see? anger. still there.)  I can work with my husband to be an example of love. We can be aware of our self-speak, so she doesn't grow up thinking it's ok to feel less valuable because of how you look. We can be aware of how we speak about others, so she learns to be compassionate. When we are angry about an injustice, we can discuss it in terms of solutions and "how could this have been handled better?" I can start here.

I can be an example of compassion for my students. I can model acceptance and tolerance. I can encourage kindness. I can emphasize love and belonging. I can equip my young students with the tools to solve problems constructively, and with empathy. I can ripple-effect the hell out of my little corner of this world.

I can be a better friend. I can listen with empathy, with understanding, without judgment. I can be a safe place for the people I love to feel reprieve, to just bask in each other's warmth.

But I can't do that if I'm angry. And Facebook fuels my anger. I have unfollowed nearly everyone who shared blatantly false and invented "news" articles, full of hatred and venom (ironically, most of those people are today calling for "an end to the negativity"). But even seeing the constant barrage of posts that justify my anti-Trump stance make me angry.

So I feel like I have to back away from the F'Book (all the kids today say this, right?).

This feels like giving in. It feels like accepting that a person I truly believe to be a danger to our country is gonna be just fine running it. I feel like I should remain hyper-vigilant and if I don't obsess over Facebook posts I might miss something. But I just... can't.

I will keep sharing Murphy-pics and JD-videos, because we have a lot of family who likes to keep up with our adventures. But I will do my best to avoid filling my wall with "gotchas" and "I told you so-s" and "OMGs" because me sharing that stuff is not going to change anyone's mind.

But me being a better me might.

1 comment:

Cindi Wallace said...

Enjoyed your comments. I know how you feel/felt! I was first just depressed, then mad and depressed again. Don't know where this country is headed. I know what you mean about people who post things which are just repeated lies. Trump lies repeatedly too. I'm inspired by you to do what I can to help!