By Vivian Wagner
Since Trump’s election, my social media feeds have been filled with calls to fight. To stand up. To make calls. To sign petitions. And I’ve been doing some of that. I’ve been trying to do everything I can. But mostly, at the moment, I’m finding that I need to protect myself, my sanity, my students, and my daily life.
I learned to withdraw while growing up with an often angry, violent, alcoholic father. I learned to escape. I learned to make safe places that he could not invade. I learned to protect myself and my sister. And this is what I’m doing now. I’m replicating all of that. I’m hiding and camouflaging – things I learned long ago to do to survive.
The thing with Trump is that it’s not just him. It’s all of his followers. It’s the white asshole in the coffeeshop droning on about how it’s a revolution, about how he’s happy to be on top again, how women and minorities can just suck it. It’s the jerks in the jacked-up pickup trucks on the interstate here in southeastern Ohio, emboldened now, driving recklessly and with cruel abandon. It’s the endless commenters on CNN stories who hate and cut down and bully. The sexist, racist, xenophobic abusers are everywhere. And each one I see is a flashback, a reminder of physical and psychological danger. I need to do whatever necessary to survive. I know I need to fight, to stand up to tyranny. I know that politics are not the same thing as the family. But I need to also give myself permission to feel afraid, to grant that I have to build up my strength if I’m going to do any fighting at all. Continue Reading…