Dear Fellow Americans
Once upon a time I was a hard core party girl. Immersed in the LA club scene I tried my best to forget about any one who had every said they loved me. Seeking solace in other revelers I made sure I was not easily found by bill collectors or family members. Sure it was fun, for the most part. To those outside it probably seemed it was a hell of a time. I drank for days on end, did enormous amounts of drugs for weeks at a time; I traveled a bit, I didn’t really work for months, I used people quite unapologetically and was selfish in the most extreme definition of the word.
Denial runs deep
Deep in denial, I told myself I was not only doing ok but that I was oh so much smarter than all the rest of the working stiffs. That I was edgy and free from the responsibilities that society forces on us. Instead of working for The Man I ran cons against him to get my bills paid. Instead of slaving away in a cubicle I slept all day and threw caution to the wind at night. Sure, it was exhausting and I watched as people died or went to prison. That was not gonna be me though, couldn’t happen to me.
Then along came this thing called ROCK BOTTOM. Mine included jail and physical abuse and guilt and heartache. It felt like the sky was falling. It felt like I had slid down a gravel mountain on my knees. The climb back up looked vertical and impossible. It was brutal, I was forced to face the ugliest parts of myself. Recognizing where and how I was broken, I then had to understand how those breaks lead me to break others, some innocent, some not. I had to honestly admit that I had been wrong, about me, about my motives, about my feelings. I had to take accountability for my own decisions. No more blaming my parents, my childhood, my ex’s or currents or whomever was painfully rough. Yet I made it through and was better for it. Learning from my mistakes I saw myself in a whole new light. A miraculous event happened, I actually CHANGED.
This election and its outcome remind me of that time.
The whole country seems to have hit rock bottom. It’s like America just woke up from a bender and went home to its abusive ex-husband and is steel reeling from the damages done to herself and others. She needs time to regroup. She needs time to figure out her next move. I understand that right now it feels like she will never get passed this. She will. She is a fighter. Don’t give up on her.
It will take time but hopefully we, as a nation, are ready to face our inner demons, learn from our collective mistakes, admit that we have problems that need to be dealt with instead of blamed on others and truly change for the better. I see many people being rude and hurtful to people they once liked. “Unfriending” folks they once considered friends. I know that during rock bottom you sometimes loose people, I get it. I lost some people along the way. Some of those people needed a good time out. Maybe some of the people being unfriended need a time out too.
Spare some change?
I do hope we can all take a few extra seconds to not unfriend so quickly, to not gloat about perceived wins, to not judge based on the actions of a few. I hope we can actively try to see that we truly are all in this together and there is work to be done, an alarming amount of work. It will take compromise and honest discussions. Changing minds will take open minded listening and actually attempting to understand each others points of view. Working together means not calling names or passing sweeping judgements or generalizing entire swaths of the population. We need everyone or close to everyone. Our work will most definitely NOT be easy. It will certainly NOT be fast. But it is absolutely possible. More so it’s pretty much unavoidable.
Two things I learned during that time that have held true till today
I learned two things during that time that have held true till today and I am willing to bet will hold true until I pass from this world to the next.
1. This too shall pass. (Trump will not be president forever, and neither will who ever comes after. These feelings of fear and shame will not last forever. Eventually the anger will subside, the racists will crawl back in their holes, the liberals will stop protesting, everything will calm down. After all change is the only constant.)
2. Without the Sour there is no Sweet. (As much as this sucks for many of us, those who didn’t get the nomination they wanted and those who didn’t get the elected official they wanted, those who may be surprised that the candidate they did get ends up being different than the one they were promised, we ALL have the opportunity to learn and grow from this, this can be a catalyst for the country we want to become! There is always a silver lining, but you gotta have a rain cloud to see it.)
Whose side are we on?
Neither side is perfect, however if we are being honest, there isn’t really sides at all. There is not a line in the sand with definite boundaries separating us. There are only people. People with different points of view formed by different experiences that shape their perceptions differently than perhaps mine or yours. Whether you are Blue or Red, you have people who love you, people who trust you, people who agree with you and people who don’t, people who think you are smart for your beliefs and people who think you are crazy to have such thoughts. These recent protests and the ones in 2008/2012 show that both Democrats and Republicans believe that the First Amendment is a noble way to show your displeasure at our country’s choices and that this right should be protected. If you look for similarities you will find them. We are not all that much different from each other. Most of us are not truly at the extremes of this pendulum. Most of us seem to be stuck in the middle in various shades of purple.
Perhaps the sky is not falling
When I hit bottom I thought I would never make it back. There are a lot of people out there in fear that we as a nation are never coming back from this. Guess what? We will. We will come back from this election, these protests, this president. Just as we have come back from every other form of tragedy that has befallen us. I am not making light of the enormous task that lay before us. Trust me, getting back on your feet is daunting. Changing course is narrow path full of obstacles and inevitable set backs. Buck up, Buttercups. We will be OK.
Perhaps the sky is not falling, it may be that we are simply learning to fly.