I'm up in our room, in bed, in a ball, crying. It's an ugly, messy cry. Florida is lost, and even though it's early, I think it's over. My heart seizes with fear, it's a block of ice in my chest. I just felt a sense of wrong.
Because it's wrong. Or really something beyond that.
"You don't understand," I say to Roy, my voice strained. "It's not going to be okay."
Roy is trying to give me a pep talk now that it's official; he is trying to be a supportive spouse, but telling me it will be okay when I can't imagine an "okay" again makes me angry, and I'm too busy wrestling horror and devastation to take on the mantle of angry. Save it for tomorrow.
"You'll come out stronger," Roy says. He asks me what my plan is.
"I don't have one," I say trying not to lose it again. For a hyper-rational, unemotional person, or at least one is good at keeping his emotions in check, I'm a wreck and I know it.
Roy goes on about how he can't believe it and how I'll find a way to use this. "You're going to go out there and change things."
"By being an advocate. That's what you are."
I snort. I am, but I am also done. And tired. And hopeless. And sad. And terrified. I know there is -- must -- be a future, but I also know in this state I am unable to see it.
"I think I need to go someplace," I say. It's hard to get out the words, even if that was the point of the drive.
"Some place, like?"
"A place for people in crisis."
I have never felt unsafe in my country until now. I feel like a walking target.
As a gay, genderqueer, disabled, rape survivor I tick off a lot of the boxes for the very people who are terrified, or should be terrified, to have Trump as their leader. If I was a person of color and a Muslim, I would be six for six.
My entire body is screaming, my skin is crawling, my chest hurts. I don't feel safe being out in public. I don't feel safe going to the mailbox. I don't even feel safe in my house because it is still somewhere in this country. My body hums and I try to tell myself it will be all right, but I know that's a lie.
I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.
I messed up. America isn't just broken, it's on the brink of civil war. But this didn't give me thoughts of revolution; it just made me feel that much more hopeless and horrified; and this "I-never-cry" person, cried again.
I cried for America. I cried for the little girls and boys who had this to look up to. I cried for my LGBTQ community. I cried for my disabled community. I cried for all of my female and gender queer friends. I cried for all my non-Christian friends. I cried for the victims and survivors of sexual assault and rape. I cried for my friends of color.
Because we know the truth. We don't matter. America can't pretend that we do any longer; they made their stance clear by voting for a president who is better known for mocking disabled people or being "tight" with the KKK. They voted for a man who grabs women by their genitalia and walks into the changing room of underage girls while wanting to cram his tongue down a fifteen-year-old's mouth. They voted for a man who wants to create a registration for Muslims. They voted for a man who wants to take away my very-basic human rights, rights that I just recently obtained.
It doesn't matter if you think Hilary is crooked. It doesn't matter if you're a party loyalist. It doesn't matter if you think Trump is a wild card, but the best candidate out there. If you voted for Trump you also said, very clearly: YOU DO NOT MATTER.
I am good at getting by -- like, the best. Coping, pushing through, whatever needs to be done, I do it. Forget my feelings. Forget what I want or need. I just focus, and I don't hold back.
Roy calls me a warrior. And I am. He says I fight for the underdog, but in reality I am just a human seeing all the ugliness of humanity (racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, lots of -isms) and think, "No, that's not okay." Sometimes I fight for a group I belong to, and sometimes I fight alongside those affected as an ally. Sometimes it is something that directly affects me and sometimes it's simply something that's wrong.
I've survived illnesses that should have killed me. I've survived more than a decade of horrific abuse as a child. I've survived sexual assault and rape. I've survived domestic violence. I've survived homo-hating bigots who have tried to run me over with their trucks, set me on fire or simply kick my ass. I have died several times and come back because I'm stubborn. Because I am a fighter, a survivor.
And right now, I am trying to figure out how I survive this.
I knew America was racist. I'll never pretend to understand what it's like as a POC, that's not my story. But I'm a Black Lives Matter supporter and ally. White people (police) are trigger-happy with Black people. If you don't believe me, look at the news cycles for the past few years. America gets angry about rioting, but not the reason for the riots. They say "protest peacefully" and then someone takes the knee and they scream, "Not that way!"
I knew America was homophobic. Look no further than the Republican party whether they are trying to fight same-sex marriage, legislate discriminatory bills or refuse protections for LGBT people (you can be fired just for being gay in 29 states). Let's not forget Trump has promised to sign the bill I just mentioned, or that Mike Pence is actually worse than Trump when it comes to discrimination against LGBT people.
I knew America was sexist. They can't handle a woman in power. She is automatically branded a bitch. The media would much rather talk about her fashion sense than her politics. And then there is the whole reproductive rights thing. Or being objectified and sexualized by men and the general public.
I knew America was ableist. Look at all of the stigma around invisible disabilities or mental illness. How many public spaces are inaccessible? Sidewalks? Buildings? What about services for the deaf and blind? No, that is always a special request and if you're lucky enough to get a reasonable accommodation it is only after hours of fighting (for which you are not being paid).
I knew America was broken, but I never knew that it was about to shatter. I didn't know just how broken. I didn't know I would ever be to the point where I wondered if it could be fixed, or if it was worth fixing.
My PTSD has been building for awhile. It's not like Trump winning the election made me have a breakdown; I was already pretty broken down. This was just the final straw -- or push -- off a cliff.
For months, I have tried to beat back my anxiety. The nightmares and flashbacks and ice-cold dread that would rob me of function, sometimes for hours at a time. I have managed my PTSD well for five years (managed it not so well for a decade before that). I know my triggers. I know how to cope. But in June, it surprised me. It was as if all of my progress was undone. My sensibilities fried, my coping mechanisms useless and that anxiety building a wall around me.
Depression comes with it, that's the deal, but while I have had to deal with that too, it is always secondary to the fear, anxiety, hyper-vigilance.
When Trump won and Roy told me how strong I would be, I realized I couldn't anymore. I couldn't be an advocate when I was barely holding on.
I let that wall grow so tall I couldn't see over it. Just like America can't seem to see over so many walls, all of which should be torn down.
I called the Colorado Crisis Line. I felt I was in crisis. I was breathing but I felt like I couldn't. I couldn't be still. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't shake the fear, the new fear of what a Trump world means, and all of the old fears. And now I couldn't stop crying.
It's hard to ask for help, but whenever I have been in a place of crisis, I have. I have reached out. I've gotten what I needed and did the work to get better.
America is in crisis, but does it realize just how much? Is it going to ask for help? Do the work? Get better?