I’m in shock.
Yet part of me is not.
The part of me that’s in shock believed, like so many others, all the tweets, posts, and media stories this year that said Hilary Clinton was going to win. That not only was she going to win, she was going to sweep.
I believed that the American public wasn’t going to fall for Trump and Pence’s platform of hatred, racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia, and homophobia.
This side of me said, “I can’t believe it! How could they vote for him?!”
But my other side said, “I knew it. I knew that people were as bad as I thought.”
People are saying we live in a split nation.
Well, I live in a split self.
One side of me believes that people are good and they mean well.
The other side of me says no, you’re wrong, there are many people that are bad.
But there’s more. I have never told anyone this before but I have secretly believed for years that about half of my fellow citizens are mostly good and half are mostly bad. Sounds simplistic, doesn’t it? I know it does. That’s why I haven’t told anyone until now.
My theory is not based on anything scientific. It’s purely anecdotal. I have experienced racism, sexism, and other hateful things on a regular basis throughout my life. I’ve also experienced love, generosity, and kindness. When a bad thing would happen to me, a good thing would balance it, and vice versa. Back and forth. Good and bad.
As the presidential election results came in last night, I could hardly believe my eyes. My split self stood at attention.
As of this post, Trump won 47% of the popular vote, and Clinton won 48%. That’s basically 50-50.
I didn’t think my secret theory about people would be made so crystal clear, and in such a public and open way, but there it is–on every news channel, every news site, and every newspaper. It’s being discussed on millions of phone texts, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds around the world.
What I’ve been feeling and suspecting about people for a long time is now clear as day.
Half of America voted for hate.
Half of American voted for hope.
The truth is here.
But despite the fact that I’ve been thinking about this 50/50 split for years, it’s still hard to digest.
Hard to fathom.
Hard to accept.
I feel validated, but a part of me wishes I hadn’t been.
So, what to do now?
I can’t tell you what to do–everyone has their own path to walk–but I can tell you what I’m going to do.
First, I’m practicing extreme self care.
Funny, I just wrote about surrendering to rest less than three days ago. Somehow, my timing was spot on.
I need to rest and regroup and grieve the future of my country. I’m going to eat well, get lots of sleep, meditate, walk, exercise, see my self-care practitioners, and be with good people in my life who are going through the same shock. Love is the way–love for myself through self care, and love shared with the people I care about.
Second, I’m going after my dream.
I realized my dream of being a full time writer this year, but it hasn’t been all roses and unicorns. In fact, it’s been hard and scary. I’ve hit lots of potholes and even fell down a few wells all along the way. But the Trump Presidency isn’t like stepping into a pothole or falling down a well; it’s like being sucker punched and then pushed into the freakin’ Grand Canyon.
So, what do you do when you find yourself at the bottom of a canyon? You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start climbing back out, one step at a time.
Trump has the power to push the button that could change the world as we know it. My life could disappear in a blink of an eye. Knowing this, I’m not going to be complacent. I’m going after my dream like never before. Like climbing out of a canyon, I’m going after it with renewed focus and commitment, one step at a time.
Third, I’m going to help people I want to help.
Service has always been a part of my life. But this is the first year in more than two decades that I haven’t been involved in some form of service on a daily or regular basis. In order to learn the ins and outs of being a writer, I had to focus, let go of other commitments, learn new habits, and immerse myself into the storytelling realm. That left no time for service.
With Trump becoming President in January, the new year seems like the right time to start helping the people I’ve been wanting to help for a long time–people that most people don’t want to help, but instead want to forget. 2017 is almost here. Time to embark.
Lastly, I’m learning radical acceptance.
Acceptance doesn’t mean that I like or support the thing I’m accepting. Acceptance means that I see that thing for what it is. I’m not trying to ignore it or pretend it’s something it isn’t.
I know that there’s many good people in my country, and at the same time, I accept that there’s many people who would throw me under the bus (some already have) if it serves them, or even if it doesn’t. I accept this. I also accept that many people are a mix of good and bad.
Through radical acceptance, I am trying to fuse the two sides of my self that have been arguing. No more sides. I want to be one.
In the end, it’s hard for me to have hope for my country with Trump at the helm. Fact is, I don’t have hope in him. But I do have hope in myself.
As a wise person once told me, “You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. But by changing yourself, the whole system changes.”
That’s what next for me.
The truth is here.
Time to step up and meet it.
Peg Cheng is the author of The Contenders, a middle-grade novel centered on the question, can enemies become friends? She is currently writing another novel that is a re-imagining of the Snow White fairy tale set in 1980s Seattle. Peg also believes in equality for all people and continues to fight the good fight.
American Flag by Harris.news.