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So Many Thoughts and Nothing to Say

November 11, 2016

So many feelings in my heart – shock, disbelief, sadness, fear, anger, disgust – and so many thoughts in my head, all screaming over each other, and never settling down into coherent sentences…

So many thoughts, so it’s going to be a long post…

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I think…

I was worried that Trump would win, but at the same time I couldn’t believe it would really happen. And I still can’t believe it did.

I think…

I can’t believe that there are so many people either driven by hate or so desperate for a solution for their own problems that they don’t care about other people getting hurt in the pursuit of it.

(Because I couldn’t. Because to me, a solution that hurts other people isn’t a solution, even if it improves things for me.)

I think…

of waking up on Wednesday morning, and checking the news, and scrolling through tumblr, tears in my eyes at all the posts full of fear, of people truly fearing for their lives. And I think of all the posts later in the day, so much “we’ll support each other and we’ll get through this”, and I wish there was more I could offer than long-distance hugs and a listening ear (or rather, reading eye).

Hedera helix

I think…

especially here in Small Town, walking distance from the house we all know as the Hitler House (even though we never speak of it. How do we all know, if we never speak of it?)… I think of history class and books I read, and one scene in particular, set here in this town, people celebrating Hitler’s arrival in 1938. (And Germany before that, of course, but being Austrian, my mental images of that are less vivid.) And I wonder, is this what it felt like? When you were not in the cheering crowd? When you knew what danger it would mean to you and your loved ones? Or hearing the news at the other end of the world?

How different is it, now, with the world so connected, watching it all happen in real time, and with so many deep friendships across the world?

I think…

I desperately hope it won’t be as bad as that. But even one person fearing for their life because of an election is one person too many. And the number of “please don’t kill yourself because of this” posts I’ve seen on tumblr is terrifying.

I think…

You are the heroes now. You are the Order of the Phoenix. You are the Fellowship of the Ring. You are the Rebel Alliance. You are every outnumbered force of good in every story you’ve ever read or watched. They’re always the smaller and weaker and they always prevail, and so will you.

(I don’t want to say “we”, because I’m over here in Europe. But I’ll help in whatever way I can.)

Hedera helix

I think…

And yet, I still believe. I said, early on Tuesday morning, that I believe in kindness, rather than in greatness. And I still do. I still believe in all the people who didn’t vote for Trump, and I believe in the ones who did and who will regret it, and I still believe we can still change the world for the better.

I think…

I posted that thing about believing in kindness, and looked at it and thought, “I’m such a Hufflepuff”. And I thought to myself, greatness is such a Slytherin and Gryffindor thing to aspire to, and those are the two houses I never identified with.

But then I also thought, kindness doesn’t have to be a Hufflepuff thing.

Be kind like a Hufflepuff, sure – hardworking and honest and loyal. Be kind in small everyday ways, in smiles and hugs and kind words and being there for your friends.

But also be kind like a Gryffindor. Be kind bravely and chivalrously, loudly opposing people driven by hate.

Be kind like a Ravenclaw. Be kind cleverly and creatively, with thought-out plans and in unexpected ways.

Be kind like a Slytherin. Be kind cunningly, in ways that people who’d disapprove won’t notice. Be kind ambitiously, with grand plans. Be kind selfishly, because people will remember and repay kindness, and because a better world for all of us is also a better world for you.

Hedera helix

I think…

Of a thing we talked about in marketing class. “Your customer thinks they need a certain product. But really, they have a problem they want to solve, and they think the product will solve the problem. Your task is finding out what their problem is, and offering them the best solution, even if it’s not what they originally thought.”

And how that’s also true for politics, people thinking they want Trump (or others more or less like him, in other countries), when really they have a problem and think Trump (or his like) will solve it.

And there must be another solution to those problems, one that doesn’t destroy other people’s lives.

I think…

about this post and it makes me so angry, because it’s so true. My first instinct was also, “we have to find something that works for everyone”, understanding and compromise.

I think…

good and evil is a useless concept to apply to anything outside of stories, but maybe this is the difference: striving for understanding and compromise – or not.

Hedera helix

I think…

of reaching out to people I know, letting them know I’m thinking of them. I think of other people I know, and not knowing where they stand on this, and not wanting to ask, afraid that I’ll get an answer that’ll make it impossible for me to talk to them any more. I think of some blogs I’ve enjoyed reading, that I probably won’t look at any more, because while they haven’t said anything, they seem like the sort of people who would probably have voted for him. (And yet, good people in other regards. Good and evil isn’t so clean cut in real life.)

I think…

the people who voted for him must still think of themselves as good people. Nobody thinks of themselves as evil, do they? But even if they explained their thought processes to me, even if I could understand them intellectually, I couldn’t understand them emotionally.

I think…

I want to understand, but I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.

Pinus, Hedera helix

I think…

how it was the biggest scam anyone ever pulled off, making us believe the USA were a country to look up to, the epitome of freedom and opportunity, the place where all great things and all the cool people came from.

I mean, I stopped believing it by the time I was 13 and understood that it was a nation built on stolen land and slavery. But the world around me kept telling that story, even as everything I learned chipped away at it.

I think…

of being a teenager and making up a country for a story, trying to make it the worst country I could come up with because that was what the story demanded. Making it a racist country first, because that was what I understood then. Making it sexist next, because that was the next thing I gained awareness of. Making it fanatically religious, making it homophobic… and then, one day, looking at the news, and thinking, the real world is worse than that country. Because that didn’t have police randomly killing people. That didn’t have conversion therapy. That didn’t have female students subjected to ridiculous, sexist dress codes. And so many other things I don’t even want to think about, or I’ll make myself too sad.

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I think…

how easy it was, being a teenager during George W. Bush’s presidency, to say, well, America is awful, and Americans must all be idiots to have a president like that.

And then making friends with Americans, and realising that the world is more complicated than that, that even in a country I found awful, there were genuinely good people.

And how hard it is now, knowing there are so many good people there, so many people I care about, so many people I worry about, and not being able to do anything.

Thinking and thinking and thinking, and yet not feeling like I have anything to say. Nothing that means very much.

Hedera helix

(There is a reason I call myself Ivy here. Ivy was my reminder to keep holding on, to keep going, when I needed that. Ivy, which endures under the snow, which grows back no matter how many times you cut it back, which comes in so many shapes, which always reaches for the light. This feels like a good metaphor to remember right now.)

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. ylvsladuchesse permalink
    November 11, 2016 16:06

    That is an utterly wonderful post. Made me cry again.

    • November 11, 2016 17:58

      Thanks, ylvs. I would apologise for making you cry, but I still keep tearing up myself, so I guess it’s unavoidable.

  2. November 11, 2016 21:25

    Just for the record, this is I think the third time I’ve been to this post and been like, Jesus, I should really come up with something to say to Ivynettle.

    First time I couldn’t come up with anything to say, second time I came up with a bunch to say but it was awful. So for this third time around, I’m just saying, I guess, that . . . I acknowledge reading this. I figure it’s better to get useless feedback than to feel like you’re not being heard at all.

    • November 11, 2016 21:56

      I do appreciate it. 🙂 I always worry I’m shouting into the void.

      And… this was the product of two days of looking at other people’s posts and thinking, I want to reply to this and I don’t know how. And, on the second day, just … stepping away and doing some work and letting my thoughts run wild and then sitting down and writing them down and not censoring myself, not wondering if it was stupid or ridiculous or whatever.
      It’s a miracle the post turned out as coherent as it looks now.

      If you ever come up with something else to say, I’ll enjoy reading it, but if not, that’s fine too.

  3. November 13, 2016 03:14

    This is such a profound post. This election has gotten under the skin of people all over the world. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in all my years.

    • November 13, 2016 09:36

      It felt like such a mess while I was writing it, so I’m glad it resonates with people.

      It’s terrifying, but I also see so many people determined to keep doing good and build a better world out of all this.

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