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My eyes were burning. My heart was pounding. It was 2:00 AM, and I was wired from the internet frenzy that was election night.
I had multiple Twitter feeds open in multiple tabs. The tabs contained two right-wing conservative white males, a Catholic blogger who lived in California, a pro-LGBT outspoken feminist “evangelical,” and a male Anglican writer with liberal views. Now, I’m not really sure why. I guess I just wanted to hear different thoughts on the matter. I wanted a spectrum.
I’m a listener. I’m a learner. I’m learning to observe more than I open my mouth. To read more than I report. And to ponder more than I post.
By 2AM I had been up for 20 hours. Megyn Kelly was asking the decision desk when the next states could be called. They said two hours, maybe, and that’s when I bailed.
At 6AM, after my necessary four hours of sleep, I checked my phone only to confirm what I already knew: Donald Trump is the President Elect.
The next day I could not. stay. off. the. Internet. It was a mesmerizing swirling vortex of dissent, gladness, grief, excitement, joy, worry, fear, hope, horror, and every other emotion on the spectrum. I just couldn’t look away.
Everyone had fingers to point, but it seemed that no one had friends. Everyone had answers, but no one had allies. Everyone had assumptions, but no one had assurances. Everyone had perspectives, but no one had peace. Everyone had reasons, but no one had rest.
Especially not me.
I fought my election hangover with a latte and tried to lighten the mood by cracking jokes and posting what I thought was an inspirational Trump quote. I was accused of being tactless, arrogant, ignorant, passive aggressive, inconsiderate, and needing to take a break. I was told how to write and not write when friends took over the comments section on one of my statuses.
So, about 10 PM on THE NIGHT AFTER, I. Went. Off.
(Y’all? Politics and PMS is one combustible combination.)
At about 3AM I woke to give Little Brother a bottle and decided that it was probably better I just shut my mouth, sit down, be quiet, remain silent.
So I deleted everything.
Not because I was sorry for what I said, really. But because the Internet is an ugly place right now, and my adding my two cents didn’t make it any less so.
Fighting severe eye strain and a massive headache, I made a vow to myself that I needed a day of no input. No Twitter feeds, no Facebook, no TVs with captions vying for my attention at the Y – not even relaxing music on Pandora or Netflix.
Just me and my own thoughts.
I took a four mile walk with my baby on the greenway. It took 90 minutes. I survived without even taking a selfie.
I came back home, took a hot shower, wrapped myself up in a blanket, and colored. Then colored some more. I picked up Ezra from school and took the boys to the mall, where I let them play while I colored some more. We were picking up salads for dinner at the grocery store when a Facebook message came in from a friend. I tried to ignore it, but it was calling out to me. And so there I was…pulled right back in to the vortex of the Internet.
The peace I had gained from my silent day was shattered in a heartbeat, and once again I was slamming around the house, huffing and puffing, snapping at everyone, and wishing all of this would just go away.
My husband, always quick to try and help, offered his thoughts to my entire newsfeed, reposted some of the things I had deleted, and told people to leave his wife the heck alone.
My husband defended me. My brother said he was proud of me. My best friend told me that she loved me, and that I was brave. I wish that was enough to make up for the sting left by others.
So this morning, without even the slightest bit of hesitation, I deactivated my Facebook account. Because right now, the Internet is an ugly place to be, and I don’t want to be there.
I don’t even have words anymore.
I truly get why people voted for Hillary Clinton. I truly get why people voted for Donald Trump. I truly get why people voted third party. I get it, I get it, I get it. I’ve tried my darndest to offer my love, respect, and validation to everyone, regardless of political affiliation. But I had opinions too, and I felt I didn’t even have the right to air them in my own space.
Maybe finally speaking out and sharing my thoughts was a mistake. I’m honestly too exhausted to know or care at this point.
But here’s what I do know:
Fact: Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States.
Fact: There is only a .5% difference in the popular vote. Which means, most likely, that HALF of the people that you know voted for Trump, whether they are open about it or not.
Fact: Being upset about the outcome of the election is totally valid. But being upset about the outcome of the election doesn’t change anything.
Fact: This country is all kind of broken and divided.
Fact: This girl has had her fill of political commentary. For a long freakin’ time.
I can’t offer you hope if you are despondent about Trump being President. I can’t make you feel better. I can’t take away your fear, your grief, or your outrage. How and when you move on is in your hands, on your terms.
But I can choose to keep moving forward.
That doesn’t mean I hate you. That doesn’t mean I’m a tactless, insensitive, horrible person. It means that I have better things to do than live in despondency.
I have a life to live. I have two beautiful boys to love on. I have a husband to connect with. I have friendships to cultivate. And I don’t need the internet to do any of that.
As far as Beautiful In His Time, it’s not going anywhere. And here’s why:
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
He has made everything beautiful in His time.
So go ahead. If you need to weep and mourn, then weep and mourn. If you feel like laughing and dancing, then that’s okay too.
If you feel the need to speak up with your opinions and reasons and perspectives, then do so. If you, like me, feel the need to retreat and be silent, then you will be in good company.
As I said to my personal Facebook friends, I’m not going to tell you how to feel. But please don’t tell me how to feel either.
I don’t know when I’ll be coming back to Facebook. I know that it will happen, eventually. But it might not be til after the Inauguration. I just really need less noise in my life right now.
Tomorrow, let’s all wake up and try to make our world – and our corners of the Internet – a less ugly place. Let’s breathe in God’s new mercies like the steam off of a fresh cup of coffee or tea.
Let’s all be a little kinder, a little gentler, and a little more understanding of those on the “other side.”