I was 21 years old when I had my first pregnancy scare. Several days late, wondering why my birth control didn’t work the way it was supposed to, anxiously opening the doors to CVS to purchase a test I never knew I’d have to take at such a young age. Weighing the options available if my world was about to be turned upside down but finding peace in the fact that I did have options. Options about my body. Choices about my future.
I was also 21 years old when I woke up in the front seat of a cab, intoxicated and confused. His hand was down my shirt, groping my breasts. I attempted to push it away, but he then made his way down to my legs feeling the inside of my thighs with his large hands. I fought him off again with my weak and alcohol-induced ignorance about what exactly what was going on. I was violated. I was assaulted.
I was 19 years old when I dated a misogynistic, white, male who felt entitled to emotional abuse towards a young and vulnerable woman. “Stupid” for not knowing an answer to a question on my math homework. “Slutty” for wearing yoga pants in public. “Ugly” when I decided to change my hair color. “Prude” for not wanting to film our sexual intercourse. “Fat” for wanting a bowl of ice cream on a Friday night after final exams. “Bitchy” for not bringing him dinner after class. To him, I was nothing.
I was also 19 years old when my own mother decided to start dating women. Some people asked questions like, “Has she been gay her entire life?” “Do you think this is just a phase?” I tried not to take offense, but simply replied with, “I don’t know, but why does it matter?” Gay or not, she has the human right to date, marry, and build a life with whomever she’d like. Choices. Options.
At 22 years old I was told my job was given to me because “I’m a pretty face.” “You’ll get used to it, though. Use it to your favor,” the bar guest said. I went back to my apartment that day and stared at my college degree hanging on my wall and cried. I opened up my journal and reread my past entries, filled with my thoughts. Smart, educated thoughts. Constructed sentences packed with intellect defining me as someone more than”just a pretty face.”
I write this post not as a black, transgender, nor immigrant. I write it not as a Muslim, Mexican, nor disabled person. I write this as a Caucasian woman. Being white makes me “privileged” by default. But being female does not. I won’t attempt to share the viewpoints of my black, transgender, immigrant, gay, Muslim, Mexican, or disabled peers, all I can do is share my experiences as a woman.
A woman who fears walking in the dark. A woman who is touched inappropriately by men more times than anyone should. A woman who has to try extra hard every day to prove to society as someone that she is more than just a pretty face.
A woman who has no choice but to be a fighter in a male-dominated society.
However, I do have the Affordable Care Act. I have the right to choose. I have a leader who believes in the power of women. I have a leader who supports the power of love, for everyone. I have a leader has two young daughter of his own. Who has wife who serves as a role model for females all over the world. I have a leader who fights for me and my body.
I know the world won’t crumble beneath my feet. I know the sun will rise and life will continue. I don’t know the ins and outs of the complex political system in America, but I do know that Trump won’t destroy all social progress. Maybe a slight damper, but probably nothing more.
Here’s what scares me:
Knowing that the person in charge of leading our country does not support me. A person who engages in “locker room talk” rather than ending it. A person who is being investigated for several sexual assault charges and a person who willing has a VP by his side who supports electroshock therapy.
People who support him scare me. All people? No. There are some people very near and dear to me who voted for Trump. I sort of wanted to hate them for it, but I don’t.
People who parent the child on the bus who said, “Yay now Trump will give us our guns back so we can shoot black people” scare me. The homophobes, the misogynists, the racists, the haters. Does that classify all Trump supporters as such? No. But when I see Trump, that it was I see.
I see change for America. But I fear it will go in the wrong direction.
I fear people choosing hate over love.
Where does this leave us? Well, the world will continue to spin come January. We’ll wake up every day, probably hit the snooze button more times than we should. We’ll continue to sit in our favorite coffee shops, complain about our iPhone battery, swipe left on someone we meant to swipe right on.
Life will move on. Trump or not.
Social media has been flooded with political messages. Long statuses with people grieving and/or celebrating. News articles. Comment threads. Photos. Emotions.
So what do you do now? You continue to live. You continue to choose love. You donate to causes that matter to you. You continue to fight for your role in society and you fight for your peers, too. You choose progress, not violence. You do more than simply wearing a safety pin and hashtagging #NotMyPresident.
You try and make the world a better place. Every day. Trump or not.