On November 8th, along with countless others across the globe, I prepared to celebrate the election of the first female president of the United States.
I literally had the champagne chilling—ready to toast as history was made. I envisioned hugging my daughter as we watched this powerful symbolic shift happen before our eyes—a seismic shift—from the patriarchal paradigm that’s trapped us for so long, to one that embraces the qualities of the divine feminine, one that values inclusivity, creativity, collaboration and compassion—one that would help restore balance, and with it, healing for the earth and connection among her inhabitants.
As a woman I have lived my life acutely aware of the imbalance in our world, our culture's disdain and contempt for the qualities and energies associated with the feminine and in trickle down fashion—disdain and contempt for females themselves.
Like most women, I have known the pain of being belittled for being “just a girl”—the sting of shame that comes from being constantly told you are “less than”.
I have been passed over and paid less; been dismissed and disregarded; and have struggled most of my life to maintain even a tenuous grasp on my relationship with safety—low grade, nagging fear becomes your constant companion once you’ve become a victim of violence and violation—unfortunately because one in three women will be abused in their lifetime, it’s a feeling with which many of us are intimate.
The rise of an actual female to this exalted level of leadership was to be the sign that we have been waiting for—a flare sent up to confirm what so many of us have felt deep in our bones to be true—a touchstone that proved our world is ready to embrace the essence of the divine feminine—that the shift to balance, to inclusivity, to peace is finally happening.
But instead I felt my shoulders constrict as the red tide crept it’s way across the map, my heart felt like it was literally descending into my stomach—I was falling into that dark place of fear. Enough already. I shut the TV off, tucked my sweet girl into bed beside me and tried to force myself to sleep. Pulling her close I prayed that the morning would bring some Hail Mary reversal. That we’d wake up to a world where she had won.
But as I lay in the dark a thought that had been straining at the edges of my consciousness for weeks pushed through—one I had been refusing to let in, unwilling to accept because of its sheer awfulness—because I knew what its truth would mean—massive upheaval, crushing fear, deep pain. But in those bleak hours before it became real I couldn’t ignore the thought any longer: We need him to win.
We awoke to a different world on November 9th. A world where the veneer of civility had been wiped away, exposing the stark and sinister shadow our culture has long tried to keep hidden. With a tender, grieving heart I shared this on Facebook:
“It's dark here still. I went to bed early, I couldn't take watching it happen. But now I am awake, now it's real and I'm trying to figure out how to explain this to my daughter, she'll be up soon and she'll know. She'll check her phone before she emerges and she'll be jarred from delicate sleep like I was.
But maybe that's the point, maybe that's why this needed to happen, maybe more will be jarred from their delicate sleep and be forced to open their eyes, to stand up, to speak out.
Am I angry, fuck yes—I am a woman and the mother of a daughter who's about ask, "how is this even possible?”.
But I will not give into the fear—I can be angry without going into the void of fear from which this whole nightmare has emerged.
Last night fear prevailed. This morning we need to start down the road to love, only this time we need to gather even more people as we walk along. And we need to raise our voices—together.
The time for staying quiet, for staying small, for keeping your head down, for just wishing it would all get better—that time of living in the dark is done.
It's time to bring the light.”
Would I have preferred to wake up in world where Hillary was holding open the door, smiling as she ushered us through, saying, “Follow me, I got this—it’s finally happening!”? Fuck yes.
These last weeks have been exhausting and at times utterly agonizing—memories I thought I had dealt with resurfaced, emotions that had been held at bay came flooding forward—taking me out at the knees with their intensity. But what I have come to accept (and ultimately embrace) is that it was never going to be as easy an election—because it’s not meant to be.
The patriarchy maintains control by keeping us fearful, convincing us we are weak, convincing us the only way to be safe is to cede control over our own lives—to give up our power—so they can protect us from them (who exactly us and them is changes depending on the circumstance, but the motivation is the same—keep everyone separate, quiet and fearful). That’s how a Trump gets elected. People living—and voting—from this disempowered, fearful place within themselves.
But in a balanced world, one infused with the energy of the feminine—one that honours inclusivity, community and collaboration—there is no one great leader (or saviour), instead we must all take responsibility for leading ourselves AND we must all take responsibility for the care and welfare of those around us. When one of us suffers we all suffer, when one of us rises we all rise—we are intrinsically connected.
Here’s what I’ve come to understand in the days since the election: The seismic shift many of us hoped this election would bring did in fact happen—just not in the way we thought it would.
It wasn’t triggered by the election of a flesh and blood woman to highest office in the land, nor was it triggered by the fact that she lost (the more qualified woman being passed over for the loud mouthed man is not new, noteworthy, or capable of moving the needle).
The paradigm shifted for one simple reason—HE won. And it’s for this reason I am grateful.
Because when that patriarchal paradigm shifted—the one that has marginalized so many, the one that has denigrated anyone considered the other—women, children, people of colour, LBGTQ individuals, Muslims, the elderly, Jews, (the list is endless)—the fucker cracked.
As we peered inside the chasm we were confronted with a reality that many of us had refused to see, one we hoped/pretended/prayed had been banished. But there it was in stark relief—our culture’s dark shadow. A startling vision of anger, intolerance and hatred, swirling in a swamp of fear.
And when we saw inside—it cracked us—it broke us open.
The outpouring of emotion that followed was nothing short of tsunamic—confusion, anger, disbelief, indignation, fear, disgust, debilitating sadness—the crack unearthed a place of profound vulnerability within us and it was from this place that we began engaging with one another, and soon we were feeling other things too—compassion, empathy, love, courage and connection. And with those—the first glimmers of hope.
Because here’s the thing about being broken open—about cracks in general—they’re how the light gets in. #RIPLeonardCohen
We need to ensure the opportunity this pivotal moment has created is not lost, that we use the immense energy of this shared experience to fuel us in moving forward.
The patriarchal structure is held in place by keeping us separate—we change it by connecting.
It’s crucial we continue to relate to one another from the place of deep vulnerability that’s been revealed—because it’s only through vulnerable communication that real connection can occur—and we’re going to need each other, now more than ever.
So keep talking—vocalize your feelings, admit your fears, declare your desires, express your opinions, confide your hopes and tell your stories—we need your vulnerable voice!
You can start by sharing this article—consider it your vulnerable voice declaration, a symbol of your commitment to making this moment matter—and by inviting others to join us in raising their voices for change.
In order to usher in the new paradigm we need to embody its qualities within ourselves first—be the change we want to see. So over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more ways you can do just that. If you’d like to join me and have the articles delivered right to your inbox, you can let me know right here.