How you doing sis?
Its been a really long month over here. I mean really, WTF is going on?!
Some days deep breathing is all that is holding me together. I have had moods ranging from furious, to fearful, to apathetic. The depression that is always nipping at my heels is slowly moving back in and my anxiety is through the roof. All of this, and I low key knew it was coming.
I had a moment of clarity over the summer. I was sitting on the beach talking with my partner who was completely dismissive of Trump at the time, and suddenly, I knew he would win with complete certainty. I do not share this to say “I knew this was going to happen waaaaaay before y’all and I’m wicked smart.” I share it because I was preparing myself mentally FOR MONTHS, and when it became reality I still had a really hard time.
I wanted to sleep… deep under the covers…for days. I was numb, feeling like I wasn’t really here. I wasn’t really anywhere. I was going through the motions, taking care of my kids, cleaning the house, watching my favorite shows, but not really present for any of it. It was hard for me to leave the house in the days following the election, not because I was afraid, but because I was angry. When I finally did leave my house, I wanted to pop any white person who looked at me wrong. For real.
I felt angry at the people who voted for him, but also angry at their friends, and family who let them off the hook for making this decision. Angry at the people who excuse racist behavior because its only uncle Dick or my neighbor Brittany so its harmless. All of those uncles and neighbors add up.
About a week after the election, I felt that I had fully processed what this means for myself and communities of marginalized people, and then news began to report a slew of unqualified zealots appointed to his cabinet and the feelings would flow again letting me know that there was still more to process. Every announcement was a reminder that Yes it really is going to be that bad for us. I decided to just accept that I am going to feel uncomfortable for the forseeable future and probably won’t ever return to normal.
So, if you weren’t prepared for this, or even if you were, be gentle with yourself while you process this heaping, steaming mass of bullshit. Take your time. I am not sure any of us are truly prepared for this.
Instead of staying under the covers for weeks, I took my own advice and worked the steps that have gotten me through some pretty extreme situations. I let myself recover at my own pace.
I’ve had several experiences in my life when it felt like the whole world exploded in my face, and nothing was ever the same after. I will never encourage anyone to accept this nonsense that is happening around us.
We have a right to protect and care for ourselves and our loved ones. We have a right to be angry and to fight the increased oppression that is likely to come. This is only to say, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Shiva and I think now Shiva is hard at work this country.
A Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Trumpocalypse
Be impeccable with our self care.
The number one thing we need is to be impeccable with our self care (when I say we throughout this article I’m speaking to black women specifically and much of this may be helpful to all marginalized communities as we will be the most negatively effected by this presidency.)
Self care is three fold:
A. Taking good care of ourselves mind, body and spirit. Learn about what brings you joy, what helps you feel calm and what brings you peace regardless of what is going on around you. How do we ground ourselves when all we want to do is freak the fuck out? These are all important things to know about ourselves and are all part of self care. At times in my life, I’ve even gone so far as to create a self care cheat sheet that lists the things that can bring me back to earth when I am on the edge. We MUST make time for healing however that happens in our lives. We MUST commit to being healthy in mind and body. Already I feel a struggle for my mental health and he hasn’t taken office yet. Examples of my self care: I am a person who needs lots of sleep to heal. I also like massages and energy work. If I need to laugh I can watch The Office.
B. Creating safety in your immediate family and community. There are two ways racists and sexists show up– either passively (for example voting a xenophobic,racist, fascist, sociopath in to office) or actively. In my opinion, these people have no place in our lives. Their choices will do you harm. Their “beliefs” about black people are not harmless. Let me say that again their choices WILL do you harm. Whether intentionally or unintentionally and at this point, does intention really matter? The outcome is less safety on all levels for black, brown, lgbtq and muslim people. I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested someone’s intention when they had every opportunity to gain knowledge on how this would effect others and chose to ignore it, and they chose an outcome that is so harmful to me and those I care about.
C. Conserve and redirect our energy. While we shall remain active in our communities as always, I would encourage each of us to be very choosy about where we spend our energy at this time. Do not go to every rally you are invited to, or maybe don’t go to any. Do not go to every community meeting that is being held. Find the organizations that speak to you, find the organizations that are led by black/brown/lgbtq/muslim people, find the organizers that have been organizing on racial and social justice for years not the ones that just decided to get started on November 9. These are the organizers that will stay the course. They’ve been woke and fighting for us all and they more than likely will stay woke when everyone else returns to business as usual.
We need to prioritize and expedite our healing. Whatever is happening in our communities, our families, we need to work overtime on cultivating peace and strength because we will need strong networks of support to survive what is coming. We need to be ruthless in our self care. We need to work our magic, yoga, healthy eating, crystals etc. Whatever makes us feel whole and powerful we need to spend MORE time doing that.
Go deep into your magic. This could be part of self care but I think it is so important it warrants its own explanation. We have all heard “black girl magic” we’ve seen and used the hashtag. It is fun, it is deep, it is unifying. I believe that the reason it took off so completely is because it is also the very truth of our being. The most hated and the most imitated. What is magic about us flows within us, it is ancestral, it is of the earth and of the sky. We may be some of the most uprooted people in the world, however, we are also some of the most resilient. Through everything we have experienced, we have learned to carry our roots within us. We have evolved. Our roots may not be deep in the ground but they are deep within our hearts and souls. These roots give us strength, ground us in truth. Whatever your spiritual/religious background, connect with it (or if it does not make you feel freer and stronger see number 3 on the list). No matter how deeply you are living in your black girl magic go DEEPER through study and meditation and community.
We need to disconnect and divest from everything that does not serve us. EVERYTHING. We must be ruthless in simplifying our lives.
I know it sounds counterintuitive, but disconnecting as much as we can from the systems that keep us dependent on the government will help us to develop independence. It is important to have a back up plan as the chances of losing or being victim to increased cost of these systems (medicaid, medicare, health insurance, public schools, hospitals, food systems, food programs social security etc etc) is higher than ever with the incoming administration. We will need to learn to build and rely on our communities.
We must seek alternatives to anything we rely on the systems for, make our own clothing rather than buying, growing our food, exploring options for schooling our children at home either with a collective or individually, taking care of our health at home by eating good food and exercising, learning herbal care so that we will be less vulnerable to the healthcare system.
Of course, part of this is also disconnecting from social media, the internet, and electronics. Maybe not disconnect but become more balanced in our time spent building community in real life as we do online. As our online interactions become more and more policed, we will need to return to the traditional ways of interacting and organizing: in person, via snail-mail and there are a few encrypted email services that offer security in communication. It is important to maintain an online community, don’t get me wrong, however, it is equally important to develop a community of like minded people in real life because when you need to pool resources or to exchange goods/services your local community is your first, best and most immediate option.
There are lots of things we can do in the weeks before he takes office. We can gather people around us that we trust, and make sure that we are also trustworthy.
I encourage everyone around me to work out a detailed plan for staying put as well as an exit plan. Whether you plan to stay or not, get a passport, research countries you would want to live in, research countries with welcoming immigration policies.
Also, we must make plans to stay. This is imperative for those who intend to ride this out in the states and for those who plan to leave ASAP. There may come a point where leaving becomes impossible. Get familiar with the resources that are currently available in your area. Figure out where you will turn for help if/when you need it.
This goes along with planning but preparing refers to the actions you take. One of the biggest choices we will make is whether to stay in the states or to leave.
I am of the mind that America has always been abusive to black and brown folks, America is our abuser. If I can manage it, I plan to leave just as I left an abusive home when I was a teenager. I never doubted that choice and never regretted it. It was a decision to honor my self and my safety above all else. It is not weak or running away to choose to leave this place as it is never weak for a victim of domestic violence to leave their abuser.
There are many who disagree with this and feel that America is their home and worth fighting for. I respect and understand how someone might feel that way, but I do not. I’ve known from the time I was very young that this is not the place for me and it was confirmed when I visited other countries as an adult and felt what it is to feel at home. This is not the place I want to raise my children.
I know not all of us have the means or desire to leave the country or even move to a safer community in this country. If you find you are without the means, seek funding for these projects and cooperatives and give allies an opportunity to support your plans. It is quite literally the least they can do. Here is a link to my network’s fundraiser as well as a link to the Exodus Fund hopefully you will start your own to connect with your network to help with the costs of moving abroad.
Those who plan to stay, would be wise to fortify their homes and contingency plan for EVERY possibility. Unless we are able to leave by January 19 we should all plan for both leaving the country and staying put. We don’t know what will happen, we may plan to leave but for some reason have to stay and vice versa— so we would all be wise to build our networks in our local communities as well as abroad to our chosen community.
If we choose to stay, we should explore options for safety and defense of our homes and families. Explore food and water storage options now. If you have the means to put food away for a time when things may get financially tough do so. Our right to clean water is being threatened regularly. Do not forget to plan for that. Building a community network of people you trust and a way of communicating offline is especially important if you plan to remain in the country.
At this point, we need to pull together and build within our own communities. We need to invest our energy in joining or creating cooperatives and new options for everyone. Find people you trust, and build with them. Plan together, prepare together, because one thing that is clear is we will NEED each other. Build new, equitable systems that serve the most helpless among us. Learn how to structure bartering systems in your community for exchanging services, trade systems for trading food and goods, create gifting economies and free-economies and develop what you can in your local community.
Take this time to learn a new skill, the skills I’ve mentioned such as mechanics, farming and tailoring as well as lots of others will be in high demand. Build yourself as a resource for others. We can ALL do something that will be needed and valued in the next four years.
We would be smart to study resistance movements and revolutions both current, historical and fictional. There are so many amazing stories of resistance and revolution. Harriet Tubman is always first on this list for me. The many stories of rebellions of enslaved people. Ethiopia has an incredibly rich history of resisting colonialism. There is Haiti and Toussaint L’Overture leading one of the largest rebellions in history, Che Guevera, the Zapatista movement in Mexico, the movements in Egypt and Berlin. The many ways people organized and resisted the Nazis. Learning about these movements can give us all insight on mobilizing people (without using the internet) and how we can participate in a way that is effective and meaningful. These movements offer so much, inspiration and hope can be garnered through these studies and we need both right now.
Resistance and resilience are in our blood. We will survive this.
I agree with all of these except 2 and 11 (half of it anyway 😉
Please post in comments if you have seen any articles or information that will be helpful to others.