Disclaimer: Although the f-word appears frequently in this post, it's actually not my 2017 theme word. Maybe next year.
This is it. 2016 is finally over. Today is the last day. The year that gave us so many deaths, mass shootings, terrorist attacks, killer clowns, Fuller House, the desecration of American democracy, and an explosion of unapologetic hate and ignorance is Now. Officially. DONE.
Except… I don't want it to be done. Am I the only one who doesn't want 2016 to end?
For the last eight weeks, I've been dreading 2017 somethin’ fierce. Next year was supposed to be a year of hope and light, but now 2017 feels like a sinister darkness waiting around the corner. It's a monster that I believed couldn't be real, yet here it is - foreboding, snarling and salivating, ready to rip us apart in a torturous fashion. The knot in my stomach grows with each passing day as the monster gets closer and closer.
Why am I so pessimistic? In just a few weeks, #DJ will actually become President of the United States, and things will get worse long before they get better. So I guess I was just hoping to put that off as long as possible.
During the election, I vowed to become more involved in politics and government in 2017, but I thought my renewed participation would help further the incredible progress we had made as a nation. I thought together we would be an army of support for our first female president, helping to ensure the GOP didn't block her every move like they did to Obama, and ensuring an orange, fascist, wannabe dictator like #DJ never came that close to becoming president ever again.
Except that wannabe dictator didn't just come close… So instead my participation will be part of a resistance, a movement to protect our rights and freedoms and way of life. And that's a whole lot more fighting than I was planning on.
If you're a fighter like me, you know the feeling I'm talking about. We're fighters when we have to be, but we really don’t like fighting. We're brave, strong, determined, and not afraid to do the thing that needs to be done. And that's hard. Unwavering resilience is exhausting.
Fighting means standing strong always, even when your legs are about to give and you're scared #af. It means standing for those who need you to stand for them. It means always standing for what is right, for kindness, for compassion - because people always need it, and the children are always watching.
We didn't train for this fight. We thought #DJ and his Deplorable Hate Army would disappear soon after November 8th. We thought we'd cram their whiny “white grievances” back into the time capsule where they belong, and they would just slink away. But that’s not what happened. Now, they are emboldened and mean, and we have been unexpectedly thrust into a ring with Hate.
So in 2017, the hard work begins. Hate is a formidable enemy that has had centuries of training. Hate doesn't back down in the face of logic, reason, or truth. Hate multiplies quickly and dies slowly. When you hold up the mirror in front of Hate, it only sees itself as the victim.
Remaining steadfast in kindness, love, and compassion while Hate tries to drag us down will not be easy. I'm already finding it quite difficult to be kind when I'm so fucking angry at the people who support him. Wanna hear it? Hear it goes:
How can you be such ignorant sheep?! You lap up all the lies that evil man feeds you without question or your own individual thought process. Don't you idiots realize it's 2017, and your beliefs are as outdated as your hairstyles? How about you put down your Aquanet and your Bibles and really, truly love people the way Christ actually intended. How can you call yourselves Christians when your hearts are so full of hate? Why does everyone have to believe what you believe, and live the way you live, in order to deserve human rights and freedoms? You're the elitist ones, not us coastals! There's a big, beautiful, diverse world beyond your little podunk town in the middle of fucking nowhere, and I givezero fucks if that scares you. Suck it up, you backwoods buttercups. Your “white grievances’ are nothing but petty whining. You’re angry that jobs are going away? Well, it’s not the Mexicans, Jethro. The market is changing and certain jobs are becoming obsolete. You’re going to have to learn a new trade now. I understand you want to preserve your way of life, but your way is not the only way. You want to force everyone to live by your rules and hate anyone who doesn’t. You cannot stop education and progress just because you don’t like change. Oh, and you think black people hate you? Well, listen yourself talk! Can you blame them? Stop being so racist and ugly and maybe they won’t hate you so much.
Where’s your “All Lives Matter” bullshit now? If you really believed that, you would want people of all races, colors, religions, genders, and sexual orientations to be free, safe and protected equally under the law. Not just those who look, live, and believe like you. How do you not choke on your own hypocrisy? Okay, maybe not all of you are sexist, racist, homophobic, or xenophobic (go ahead and look up that last one; I’ll wait), but normalizing all of that hate is fine with you as long as your taxes are lowered. Because taxes are the devil, right?! God forbid you should have to support the system that protects your white ass. And using that tax money to help other people? No, of course not! Why should you contribute to the benefit of anyone other than yourself? Even though that’s exactly WHAT JESUS WOULD WANT YOU TO DO! I want to shake you, I am so angry! You can’t bring yourself to vote for anyone other than a Republican, even if that candidate is Russian puppet dictator who spews hate and ignorance. Oh, sure, but who cares if other people get hurt as long you’re okay, right? You are so selfish. You think of Hillary and all you can see are these flash words: EMAILS! BENGHAZI! KILLARY! CROOKED! Well, congratulations! You have zero ability to think for yourself, so you fall prey to fake news and the comforting words of a false idol. (Wait, isn’t that a sin, too…?)
Yes, that hateful rant is 100% real and came straight from my own thoughts, and I could have kept going for pages and pages and pages. I don't know how to fight that. I constantly preach kindness, yet my own unkindness is undeniable, and for that, I am ashamed. I didn't train to fight the hate #DJ’s win has unleashed in this country… or in my own heart.
Yes, 2017 will be very, very hard.
So my theme word for the year is #Strength. We will need it for this fight.
Using theme words instead of New Year’s resolutions has been helpful for me since I started them four years ago. My 2013 theme word was “choose,” “kindness” in 2014, and “give” in 2015. For 2016, I didn’t share my theme word, which was “forgive.”
*TANGENT ALERT*: 2015 was a hard year, relationship-wise. You may have noticed I barely blogged. I even lost a few friends that year, which is never easy even when you know those relationships were not healthy. My heart hurt a lot for a long time. Still does sometimes. So going into 2016, I knew I needed to practice forgiveness -- of others and of myself. Wow, the three previous theme words were much, much easier….
Over the years, my theme words have built upon each other, provided me focus and guidance, and, yes, even strengthened my character. I am a better person now, which means I am a better mother and role model for my children, and that is my most important job in this life - to raise more good people.
Which brings me back to 2017, #Strength, and the fight. I have to fight for kindness for the good of my children and our country. I have to fight that hate that apparently resides in my heart. Logically I know that the majority of #DJ’s army are just misguided people, and they need kindness and forgiveness like any other human being. (... for they know not what they do…) I know that hate begets hate and kindness begets kindness. So I will need #Strength to silence that hateful rant above that plays in my head every time I drive behind a pick-up with a “Hillary for Prison” sticker.
I’ve also learned from experience that anger can be a great source of strength. It’s an emotion we often try to squash, but we need to remember that it’s not the emotion that is bad. It is what we do that emotion that matters. I’ve had to make many hard decisions in my almost-38 years in this life, and in several of those pivotal moments, my anger helped me stay strong enough to do the hard thing. Anger can be useful in that way… or it can be destructive and hateful.
Today, let’s make our anger useful and as a source of strength to continue to fight and do the right thing. I understand how scary your own anger can feel. Sometimes it’s like you’re holding a loaded gun. The weight of it in your hand is terrifying because what if…. You can’t think about what if, so you just want to shove it in a drawer and pretend it’s not there. I get it. But anger isn’t as easy to get rid of as a gun. It’s always there, and it will go off at the worst possible time if you’re not careful. So don’t squash it. Use it. Channel it. Own it. Let it empower you. (But do NOT actually pick up a gun. Ever. Especially when you’re angry. That was just a metaphor.)
Where my mad criers at? Ha! If you’re one of us, you know what I’m talking about. When we get super pissed, we cry. Tears fall uncontrollably from our eyes, down our cheeks, next to our flared nostrils, and over our clenched jaws. I wish I didn’t do that because crying is erroneously seen as weakness in our society, and thinking someone might be mistaking my empowering anger for weakness just makes me madder! And may the good Lord help the one who has me so angry I’m crying! And I gotta say, this election season has had me in mad tears multiple times.
There are many of you out there who just want us to get over it, move on, or wait and see. Maybe you love #DJ more than I love wine, or maybe you hate him as much as I do, but you’re just so over it. Sorry, but complacency is not an option. I will not “wait and see” while we are destroyed, especially not when I could have been part of the movement that prevented our destruction.
You see, if John McCain or Mitt Romney had been the Republican candidate who won this election, I would’ve been merely disappointed. But stupid #DJ and his white nationalist, fascist posse won the election. And so now you expect us to “wait and see” while they threaten to make our Muslim friends register and hope they don’t actually do it? You want us to “wait and see” while Russia has our next president by the balls? You want us to “wait and see” while his rabid followers clamor for him to build that stupid, fucking wall he so hatefully promised? You want us to “wait and see” while the GOP legalizes discrimination by defiling the first amendment? You want us “wait and see” while Republican state and local leaders are now empowered to repeal decades of progress in women’s and reproductive rights? You want us to “wait and see” while the man they are ready to call “Mr. President” vows to take us back to a time when women and POC remained in the periphery of society and Christianity held the only truth?
Why? Because #DJ might not do the awful things he promised? The deplorable people he appointed to key positions might not act on those promises when #DJ cowers to do so? The state and local governments in red regions might not use their newfound power for evil? The fascist bullshit that spews from #DJ’s mouth and Twitter account might not embolden hoards of hateful, ignorant people? All because he might lower taxes, and he might improve infrastructure? You know who else might have made even more progress? Hillary! Bernie! Mitt! Anybody! My 5-yo kid has super creative ideas for improvements. Hell, you should’ve voted for him! He’s more qualified than the orange shit-for-brains who will be inaugurated in a few weeks. (Ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.)
So, no, sitting back and being “non-political” doesn’t feel like the right thing to do for me. Go ahead, let our angry tears make them think we’re weak. Let our words make them think we’re just sore losers. That will just lower their defenses so when we strike, it will be as unexpected as #DJ’s election win.
So with a bittersweet goodbye to 2016, I roll up my sleeves and muster all my #Strength for the fight 2017 brings.