When They go Low, We go High

This morning I woke up at 6:20 and wept.

I stayed up until 2 o’clock in the morning with my best friend watching the map turn blue or red. We’re both smart kids and took turns making fun of each of the political candidates for their messy and controversial campaigns. We both knew the consequences of one candidate being President and thought we were prepared for either one being President. But I think we both knew who would be the better President, but didn’t want to say anything since we had agreed both were bad. But the night grew longer, and the map didn’t change, so we both decided we would go to sleep and tomorrow morning we would find out who our new President is.

I woke up and was optimistic for my vote, but wave after wave of the unwanted news began to keep me under. I didn’t want to just google who had won because that’s no fun, so I went on Tumblr and by the post I saw, I knew I would realize who was President in a not so direct way. I won’t lie, the people on Tumblr that I follow are mostly liberal-minded in American politics, and their disbelief, sad, and angry post told me who was President. It was Donald Trump, the one who declared that he would make America great again. I remember hot tears streaming down my face. Within five minutes, my best friend had texted me, “Trump is President.”

I wept. At that moment I wished to be nothing but a beautiful little fool.

I went to watch the news with my mom and when CBS announced Trump’s win, I cried so damn hard. They were angry and sad tears rolling down my cheeks, but without a sound. Things were about to get worst and I prayed to God that I could be okay and follow Him.

So let me get into why I’m angry. I live in the southern states of the United States, historic for slavery, Confederate States, Jim Crow laws, and sweet tea. The people here hold onto their pride and heritage. So as a woman, minority, and person, I am scared. Donald Trump had let a platform largely on targeting and ostracizing minorities, especially Hispanics and Muslims, and that kind of rhetoric he has argued will be acceptable for American society and its values. This means Hispanics will be seen as ‘rapists and taking our jobs’ and Muslims ‘dangerous because they know ISIS.’ The stereotypes these groups have worked so hard to overcome to be assimilated into mainstream American culture will now be the only way to view them with Trump as President. Of course, we have some rotten people in each of our ethnicity or race groups, but the whole group of people cannot be defined by those few people. People who have been in the real world know that people of color are not their perceived stereotypes and have respectable characteristics of hard work, honesty, kindness. But now with Trump as our President, his ideologies are what represent America and those opinions he carried are what made people vote for him because they agreed with his views as representing American values.

Yet race isn’t an issue when we’ve overcome segregation and have more diversity now, right? Well, you can tell yourself that, but the minority see differently. The tension over race is becoming more obvious. At school today, the people who supported Trump with their hats and stickers could only stay quiet and look away as Hispanics, Black people, Asians, and other minorities were upset over Trump. There was no pride in voting for Trump, there were small approvals, but none of them were proud of who they voted for and what it reflected on their beliefs. It’s not only in colleges where there is tension, but workplaces where people are quiet about their vote. Their quiet for the realization that it means something to their minority coworkers who have shared coffee and laughs with them. It’s also affecting the kids. My brother was told to go back to China today. It shows that this is becoming acceptable by socialization at a young age and that this will be the treatment of races within the coming years. It only shows that there is no discerning of groups of ethnicities, such as Asian with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and others, but there is only one way to distinguish minorities, and it is because they are not white. Race relations is still an issue America is struggling with.

I am still sad and so angry in how people voted for Trump. We saw his character from the beginning. We saw his stand on issues. We saw what kind of man that was running for President. His win – despite knowing all of this about him – only reflects on how afraid America is of progress and diversity.

But when they go low, we go high. I won’t let this stop me from accomplishing the American Dream. I will work hard, give and be treated with respect, and accomplish my goals of being a powerful, minority woman in getting into law and being represented. This isn’t just an obstacle, but the motivation to make a change.

Transition

I’m at an interesting crosspoint in my life. I’ve experienced a lot in my years, but haven’t done enough. I’m working towards a goal, but have had many successes. I’m educated but haven’t learned enough.

Before I tell you anything else in this post, I’m happy, I can even say joyous in myself. I’m happy in how I feel about myself and what I’ve accomplished. I’m happy in what I can do and what more I could do. I have brought myself joy and went through a great change to better myself and situation.

However, I’m still working towards something more. I’m not satisfied with where I am and what I’m doing. I don’t want to settle for anything less, but to make the most of who I am, what I can do, and where I am. I’m in this crosspoint where I’m young but also old. Where I am uncertain, but also determined. Where I’m frustrated, but at peace. Where I’m lost, but also on a path.

I graduated from high school a couple months ago and was honestly sick. I was tense and tried to hold onto temporary things. I was so mad that I broke things, even myself. I remember my English teacher pulling me aside and telling me that he noticed that I had become so thin. Of course, the first reaction was to lie, but that’s what I had done that whole year, lie about how I felt and who I was. Most people were not going to be honest, but I was sick and tired. I told him how I was feeling now and the reasons why I had lost weight. Only now do I realize how toxic high school is from the words and emotions that had weighed me down most of that year.

I wasn’t happy at that point and thought the world was and had conspired against me to be miserable. I was sick of my life and everything in it and wanted to begin again. I wanted the last three months prior to graduation to have never happened. I never wanted to see that damn high school again or the people. I wanted to move on and never look back. I was so sick of it.

Yet, I still held onto meaningless relationships, memories, and places. I was working retrospectively to a time where I was happy. That’s the thing about nostalgia; it tricks into thinking times were better than they actually are. Sure I have happy memories, but they were only happy because it was good then, but they wouldn’t still be happy if I had lived them over and over again. Change happens. Happy then isn’t happy now.

Life isn’t stagnant, it changes and we can choose to change with it or be defeated by it. I picked change. And I don’t look back. I keep in contact with a few people, and that’s good enough. I work towards my accomplishments and give no one else blame or credit but myself. I explore something new every day instead of keeping a routine. I’m doing things, I am changing every day.

The place I’m at isn’t ideal in any way. What I’m currently doing at this place isn’t great in any way either. I’m working towards a purpose, but I’m asking myself if this college degree will get me this idea of success and happiness most people connotate with it. It’s work and I’m physically exhausted in trying to do that work, but that’s not the thing asking me if I should quit, but it’s what do I really want in life? College, career, marriage, family, retirement, nostalgia, the afterlife. Well anyone can accomplish that. It’s orthodox, it’s expected. I want experiences. I want adventure. I want the unexpected. I want to travel the world and learn lessons elsewhere from the classroom. I want to eat foods I can’t pronounce. I want to meet people I would’ve never thought to live in such a way. I want to sit still and look up at a clear sky with the stars and open sky. I’m passionate about many things and curious about everything else. I don’t want to be tied down to societal expectations or by anything. I want to be free. I want to be in the moment.

This isn’t about finding myself, but this is about living. I don’t want to follow a path, I want to make my own path. I want to be myself in a world moving around me.

Most importantly I’ve realized I never want to settle, but be satisfied.