You Are Not Alone In Your Fear & Pain

Let's just take a moment to say it: for so many people, Donald Trump becoming president-elect Tuesday night felt apocalyptic. It felt that way if you identify as female, and you found that a man who had personally admitted his lack of sexual boundaries concerning women had been voted in as president. It felt that way if you come from an immigrant background, or if you know or love someone of an immigrant background, or if you're a person of color. It felt that way if you identify as part of the LGBTQ community, and have heard Trump's statement that he was against gay marriage or have followed any of the many homophobic comments he has made. The fact that America voted for Trump may have left you feeling isolated. But please remember that even after Trump's win, you are not alone.

For a start, while Trump won the electoral college, granting him the presidency, it's worth noting that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. That means, statistically speaking, you are not, actually, in the minority. According to The New York Times, the majority of people (59,299,381, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning to Trump's 59,135,740) voted for Clinton. That is a significant number of other people who, just like you, were either personally opposed to Trump's distinctive brand of politics or who were hoping and campaigning for America's first female president.

If what you're feeling is so strong that you're concerned you may do harm to yourself, I beseech you to pick up the phone or talk to someone you love. One of the beautiful things about this country is the sheer number of support groups for people in need. If this news has physically knocked you over, making you nauseous, weak, or triggering anxiety, I suggest, if you're in any position to do so, to take a day off. The next four years are going to be a long, hard fight, and giving yourself a moment to breathe and take stock of what's happened is invaluable.

No matter how it might feel right now, you are not alone. Whether or not your friendship group holds the same political viewpoints as you, I suggest turning to Twitter for much-needed reassurance that you're not the only person today feeling overwhelmed and desperately sad. I suggest turning to Instagram for beautiful images of solidarity. I suggest turning to Facebook groups for like-minded souls and much-needed inspiration.

Trump's win was so surprising because it seemed to defy so many of the positive aspects that make us human. Compassion, empathy, and altruism felt conspicuously absent in his policies. Maybe I'm just a starry-eyed optimist, but I still don't believe his views represent our nature. If Trump's politics were consistent with what it means to be a human being, you'd never let someone cut ahead of you in the line at the grocery store because they look weighed down with bags or stress. You'd never stop to help a stranger on the street with directions. Heck, you probably would stop reading news about people in other countries other than America. And yet, people do do nice things every day. A schoolgirl used Google Translate to ask her new, non-English schoolmate if they wanted to eat lunch with her in Spanish; a cafe in Melbourne is encouraging their customers to buy a homeless person a hot meal by charging a reduced rate for soup for the homeless; a caring dad distributed candy on a flight so that his three-year-old daughter would have a chance to go trick-and-treating on Halloween. It's obvious from these stories and so many more, that people are not, at their core, entirely self-interested.

That gives me hope. While this may feel like the end of the world, let's instead consider it just the beginning of something incredibly hard but valuable. We're all being forced to look around us and ask ourselves, "how did we get here?" We're all being forced out of the tiny bubbles of political consensus that social media creates and being given an opportunity to start a dialogue. We're all being forced, through the extremity of the situation, to engage in political action, not just in the run up to an election but as part of our daily lives. Perhaps this election may be the catalyst we need to reach out to each other more and to forge new alliances.

So please, let's start a conversation. It's too dangerous and too sad to isolate ourselves right now. I promise you that together we are stronger. I promise you that you are not alone. I promise you that we are not alone.