The struggle I’ve been facing is dealing with people in my immediate family, or some acquaintances/friends, that voted for Donald Trump. My first knee jerk reaction is to just not talk about it and avoid it like the plague–however that can only work for so long.
I’m an “avoider,” I haven’t always been that way but it’s how I am in this current moment because its a coping skill that I’ve developed in order to basically deal with all of the stuff that was surrounding me. Avoiding can be a healthy skill to an extent, you deal with it when you’re ready, but avoiding something forever is just not plausible. As I can attest to, it causes more anxiety the longer you avoid it.
So how to deal with such a volatile cocktail? How to face it with an open mind when you feel in your heart that they voted for someone who is a sexual predator, someone who treats women worse than the very ground he treads upon. How could they vote for someone like the very person who assaulted you?
I have to remember that this is not the reason that they voted for him, nor can I demean or belittle their intelligence. I have to find a balance of not agreeing with them, but also still being respectful and loving them. I don’t have to worry about many of my friends, I tend to surround myself with people of like minds and pretty easy-going. However you can’t choose your family, you can’t just not speak to them either–at least I can’t.
I was talking to someone about this, I was expressing my distress with the issue and they said something that was very helpful (forgive my butchering of the quote): “To vote was their right, and it’s a right that we must treasure. They voted for the candidate that they believed would bring the most effective change–not because he was a sexual predator. I know that it’s hard to accept.”
To my family who voted for Donald Trump, know that I still love you but I will have a hard time accepting your decision because of my past experiences. I am still living with and dealing with my sexual assault, and I will be for the rest of my life–I’ll overcome and not be as fragile, but it will always be a blemish on my heart. I want to have a civil conversation with you, because that is how understanding is bred, that is how ties are strengthened.
Love is productive. Hate is counterproductive. Peace is constructive. Violence is destructive. I wish to be a force of positivity against such negativity.
Remember dear reader, at the end of the day, if you want to be the change in the world–it must first start with love.