Note: This is the most politically vulnerable and the most religiously vulnerable and the most unedited I have ever been. I ask that you hold my thoughts gently.
Last night I wept in the shower. And I kept wondering why. Why am I so grieved? Because I was and I am grieved. I went to bed on election night with some NyQuil hoping to finally get some rest and heal from my cold. And I woke to a text from my sister announcing the news. And in a fog I tried to ready my daughter for school and pack for work and wrap my head around what was going on right now. I turned on the news for about five seconds before I shed my first tears of the day.
And I wondered why. They day before I had debated whether to tell my daughter about the historical significance of having the first woman president, or whether to allow her to grow up with the belief that this is how it always has been. And when I woke up that debate seemed foolish and wildly privileged. And I owe my daughter more than that.
And the truth of my tears came to me in bits and pieces.
I wept because there would not be four more years of complacency. I was awake to the fact that I had done too little for too long.
I was awake to the fact that we continued to ignore the basic needs of our Native sisters and brothers. And all I did was like a few social media posts.
I was awake to the fact that my country was killing innocent women and children in the name of war. And all I did was watch a documentary.
I was awake to the fact that it was still a country where it was dangerous to be black. And still I stayed silent on teaching my daughter about race.
I was awake to the fact that refugees are wasting away in limbo. And all I did was listen to a This American Life podcast.
I was awake to the fact that our society is still patriarchal. And I just worry about the moment she realizes this.
I was awake to the fact that to be any form of other right now is scary. And it has been that way for a long time. And we are all human. And we are almost all others in some shape or form. And we need each other to stand up for each other. And I felt awake to the fact that there are some brave people genuinely, literally standing for others. And I want to be one of them.
And slowly a resolve began to grow.
I can put on my own oxygen mask. I can take care of myself. I can drink water and rest and pray. Because I will be no good to anyone if I am not well.
I can partner well. I can love my husband. I can enjoy his company. I can communicate with him in our obsessive quoting of old Seinfeld episodes. I can talk with him about politics and religion and all the unsavory things of the world. I can support him as he teaches the next generation.
I can love my little. I can advocate for my daughter and her generation. I can teach her about race and class and sex and prejudice and fear and love. I cannot forget to teach her about love. But more than teaching, I can learn. I can learn from her and her precious heart and her innate wisdom. I can learn about love and joy and forgiveness and dancing. I have so much to learn about dancing.
I can do my work. I can open our store and sell our goods from artisans around the world and embrace this tiny contribution to the economy where ethics and quality and beauty come first. I will savor the delicious, most American blend of our Persian and Texas culture.
I can donate my money. I can “think global and act local.” I can donate to Houston Area Women’s Center and Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Refugee Services department and University of Houston’s Immigration Clinic.
I can donate my time. I can teach my free yoga class every Tuesday at noon and offer a space for people to stop and breathe, if only for one hour. I can chop veggies the Tuesday before Thanksgiving for my church’s dinner for our homeless community. I can call IM and volunteer my time with their refugee resettlement.
I can pray. I can pray, not in resolve to change an outcome but in hope of changing my own heart.
I can party. I can sustain myself and my family and my community with the joy of celebration. I can feast with my Persian/Welsh/Irish/German/Puerto-Rican/Indian/immigrant/first-generation-American/Muslim/Christian family. I can play Game of Things. I can laugh until I cry and my sides ache.
I can pantsuit up, not because #imwithher but because I’m with her. I am with Malala and Mother Theresa and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee and my daughter and my friends’ daughters…and…and…all the hers everywhere. And although I agonized over what a presidency with her would look like on the world stage, I was galvanized by her concession speech. Not to carry her torch, but to carry my own. To do my best to at least be a glimmer of light in this world.
I will neither belittle myself for doing too little, nor delude myself into thinking I am or could or should save the world.
Love does not need to win. This is not a game. It is not about winning or losing. It is about acting in love because love is what we are called to do.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
“The second is this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:31)