Tag Archives: fear

I am afraid, or, 2017: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here

I am afraid on the basis of all of my identities. That fear is not just of Trump himself, but of unchecked Republican control of the executive and legislative branches of our government, and likely soon the top level of the judicial branch as well.

As a black person, I’m afraid that Republican power will continue to deny that my and my people’s lives matter. That there will be no push from the federal government to hold police who kill unarmed black men and women accountable. That we will continue incarcerating absurd proportions of black and brown communities. That the fact that a businessman who was openly supported by the KKK was elected will give racists and white supremacists a larger platform, a stronger foothold, or even just make them more likely to take action in support of their beliefs.

As a woman, particularly as a sexually active woman of childbearing age who does not want to become a mother now or ever, I am worried about what full Republican leadership at the federal level means for reproductive rights. I have an IUD right now, that was made possible by the stipulation in Obamacare that requires all insurance companies to cover the cost of all forms of birth control. If (it pains me too much to say when) Obamacare is repealed, I will be required to pay for the medically necessary removal of my current IUD in 2018 and for the cost of inserting a new one, which can be upwards of $1000, if I choose to stick with this birth control option that has worked very well for me. If I choose to go with a lower cost, but also easier to misuse option, like the pill, I am scared that I’ll mess up and forget to take it one day, or forget to bring it with me on a trip, and then be faced with a potential unwanted pregnancy under an anti-abortion federal government. I am afraid of catcallers and other predatory men feeling emboldened by a president who has bragged about grabbing women by the pussy.

As a queer person, I am afraid that Trump himself doesn’t care about us, as he has released no policy plans for LGBT rights or HIV/AIDS. But I know how anti-LGBT the Republican party generally is: 2016 has seen pushback on marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples, bathroom bills that have devastating consequences beyond just where we pee, endorsements of gay conversion therapy for minors, and a resurgence of “religious freedom” bills designed to allow businesses the ‘right’ to refuse to serve us. Trans women, especially trans women of color, are being killed every week in this country, and I have no hope that they will be protected under our new president-elect’s leadership. In fact, as the people who oppose QTPOCs very existence see how strong their numbers are, it’s hard to do anything other than expect the violence to get worse.

And speaking of the twisting of “religious freedom,” as a non-Christian, I am worried that a conservative majority in all branches of the federal government de facto pushes church and state closer together. I have extended family members who are Muslim (of the black power, Nation of Islam variety, but that didn’t matter to folks who abused and discriminated against them post-9/11). I am afraid for their safety in the red states of Georgia and Florida under a Trump administration.

As the daughter and granddaughter and niece and sister of people who have worked in the casino industry, literally for Trump himself and/or for people like him, I am worried that Republican control means even further erosion of what little safety net is there for our senior citizens who didn’t work fancy desk jobs with 401ks or pensions and now depend on Social Security and Medicare to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for themselves. I am afraid of what will happen to my father and my grandmother. I am worried that people who don’t make living wages will lose the scraps of support they are currently able to receive from programs like SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, and won’t be able to literally feed, clothe, house, and care for their children. I am afraid that this administration will do nothing but widen the gap between the rich and the poor in this country, and further marginalize the voices of those being trampled upon.

As the daughter of a woman who has held down a full-time teaching job through multiple rounds of chemotherapy in order to keep her healthcare coverage, I am afraid that people will literally die as a result of this election. Obama was able to bring health insurance (albeit imperfect) to hundreds of thousands of people who did not have it before, and made it so that people couldn’t be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. I am afraid that if my mom gets too sick to work, a post-Obamacare America will be one in which she cannot be insured, and my family will have to watch a disease she beat once before overcome her because we can’t afford the treatments.

I feel America’s distaste for people like me, a distaste that ranges from a lack of empathy to a straight-up hatred, writ large this morning, feel it in my bones and in my spirit more heavily than I’ve ever felt it before. This place was built by us, but not for us, and is about to be run by people who aggressively don’t support us. I feel unsafe and unwanted here on the deepest of levels. If I joke or even more genuinely consider fleeing, don’t tell me it’s my responsibility to fight through and fix this. I didn’t break it. I don’t know how to heal the divide between rural America and urban America, between white America and diverse America, between people who legitimately support Trump’s platform and ideas and people like me. I don’t know if it can be healed. I am not hopeful this morning.

I will practice coming back to the present moment, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past or letting anxieties, fears, or cravings pull me out.

–Thich Nhat Hanh

(via solo amor)

I was supposed to go to a mindfulness class led by a Black woman therapist today, but I wound up getting caught up at work (read: catching up on productivity after goofing off) and not leaving in time to make it. I was able to get into next week’s class, so no harm, no foul, but this feels like a good replacement mindfulness tidbit for the day.

I’m very interested in emotions like sweetness, which have no place in the pantheon of educated concerns, and yet are very important to me. Sweetness is the opposite of machismo, which is everywhere—and I really don’t get on with machismo. I’m interested in sensitivity, and weakness, and fear, and anxiety, because I think that, at the end of the day, behind our masks, that’s what we are.

–Alain de Botton

(via Learning Everyday…)

So I’m not sure if I’m unlocking some meaning to life or becoming a good saleswoman, or if they’re the same and that’s the evolutionary function of Capitalism. BUT, I’m finding that confidence comes from the same place as fear, which is almost nowhere. There is really just as little reason to be confident in something you’ve never done before, as there is reason to be afraid of something you’ve never done before. The difference is that fear produces more stomach aches.

Fear offers a weak protection, but confidence is actually like this magnetic force that you can feel. And like fear, it’s a muscle. The more you use it, simply by knowing that there’s no way to let down the people in the room by entering it – i.e. people are not automatically disappointed in your existence i.e. people are curious about what you have to say i.e. people are ready to see you in whatever way you present yourself – the stronger that feeling gets.

lex brown blog

Breathe. You’re going to be okay. Breathe & remember that you’ve been in this place before. You’ve been this uncomfortable & anxious & scared, & you’ve survived. Breathe & know that you can survive this too. These feelings can’t break you. They’re painful & debilitating, but you can sit with them & eventually, they will pass. Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment & laugh for having doubted your resilience. I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing, again & again. This will pass. I promise it will pass.

–Daniell Koepke

(via Learning Everyday…)

Ferguson is the reminder that we will never be satisfied and many are still prepared to fight. The heart of Blackness is in this debacle, and in this spirit of resistance.

Ferguson is not about how Black people feel about Darren Wilson; it’s about how this country feels about Black people. And until this country understands what Black people are protesting regarding our dead, things will only grow worse. If the demand for our humanity continues to be unresolved, I don’t see why things should ever “quiet down.”

The burden of restoring silence and peace over the sounds of injustice this country screams in our ears is not on us. Over time, whether Black people have protested with their hands up or with their fists, the message is clear: We know you’re scared of us but we’re not going to live scared of you.

William C. Anderson, Being Black, the Real Indictment in Ferguson and the USA

(via the dopest ethiopienne)

Before McCulloch delivered the most devastating but expected information, he indicted the twenty-four hour news cycle and social media, as if these two sources of information were in any way responsible for this travesty and tragedy. Throughout the proceedings, McCulloch acted more like a defense attorney than a prosecutor whose job it is to prosecute crime. In fact, he was a defense attorney. He defended an unchecked police culture. He defended the fear of blackness. He defended the continued desecration of black lives.

Roxane Gay