One week since we learned who the president elect would be and even though the lump in my throat and the knots in my stomach have dissipated, there is still some poignancy lingering over me like a dark cloud.
For me this election has been personal especially as a woman. A Latina. A daughter of immigrants. It wasn't about Democrats vs. Republicans or Liberals vs. Conservatives. It was about doing the right thing. It was about not letting hate win. There is so much at stake for us that my heart is aching and I'm feeling scared.
No, not scared, petrified.
And no, I'm not just petrified that climate change will be put on the back burner or taken off the agenda altogether.
And I'm not just I'm petrified that members of the LGBTQ community may lose equality rights.
And I'm not just petrified that women may lose reproductive rights.
And I'm not just petrified of the uncertainty of the state of our economy.
It's just that I'm also petrified that the most vulnerable members of our society have been made even more susceptible to hate and mistreatment. It's also that the floodgates of hate have been opened and it seems that the racist, misogynistic, bigoted people of this country who perhaps were once closeted have been given permission to come out and openly spew hate towards Latinos and Hispanics, people of the LGBTQ community, Muslims, Black Americans, and people with disabilities, among other minority groups. Then there are the children. I cannot even fathom being a parent and having to explain this to your children or prepare them for what may come. I am petrified for the children and the parents. And while I remain hopeful that I'm wrong about a lot of these things and that the checks and balances in our government will work the way they're supposed to so we can keep some of the freedoms that are in effect today, I can't help but feel like we are taking a huge step backwards, but above all I am sickened at the thought of the most powerless people in our communities being attacked.
I am trying to see the other side of this and how people who feel let down by the system and are tired of career politicians feel, but frankly I'm having a very hard time justifying the outcome of this election solely on those things. I cannot wrap my head around why people feel that electing a person who was born into great wealth and privilege could possibly understand them, and worst of all, a person who not only condones, but also promotes hateful behavior. All I can say is that I'm glad my dad isn't alive today to see this, I know he would be heartbroken to see this happening in the country he loved so much.
My only consolation is that I know not everybody has this hate in their hearts. I know that the closest people in my life do not have this mindset, not even a little. I also try to remember that nothing in this life is permanent, nothing lasts forever. Worse things have happened before. Our ancestors have endured much worse and yet here we all are. We are the product of the most resilient of our predecessors. So I hope as we process and grieve this loss, which by the way we are allowed to do, that we also hold our heads up high and stand with each other and for each other.
These are just my thoughts.
P.S. I found Episode '602: The Sun Comes Up' of the This American LifePodcast helpful in processing the outcome of this election a little more. It has stories from different perspectives of this election and it may help you too.
Big Magic Instagram Photo from @thelizdiaries taken at Union Square Barnes & Noble in NYC
Can I just take a moment to say how much I love Elizabeth Gilbert? I freaking love this woman! Ok now that we got that out of the way can we talk about her last book called Big Magic? I freaking love this book! I'm all about following your dreams and living your best life possible and the main reason I love and admire this writer so much (can we say girl crush?) is because she is such a huge advocate of those things. In Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how living creatively is not only important, but necessary. As she says, "a creative life is an amplified life, it's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life and a hell of a more interesting life. Living in this manner continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you is a fine art in and of itself because creative living is where the big magic will always abide." The best part about this book is how realistic Elizabeth Gilbert is about living a creative life. Doing so does not mean quitting your job, your family and your friends to go live in seclusion to write or paint or do whatever art it is you want to pursue. You also don't have to get yourself into debt by getting a degree from some fancy Liberal Arts college. Nor does creativity have to be painful or torturous. All of these romanticized ideas of what a creative person is suppossed to be are not always true and one key thing to also keep in mind is that there is an endless list of things that fall under the creativity spectrum. In the book Elizabeth Gilbert gives an example of a friend of hers whose creative outlet is ice skating. The second best part about this book is that Elizabeth Gilbert explains that although fear is an inevitable part of our lives, it is not a bad thing necessarily. She brings this up fairly early in the book because people come up with all kinds of excuses of why they are not creative and more often than not what really lurks under those excuses is fear. Just plain old fear. It is ok to acknowledge fear and even welcome it, however, it is not ok for fear to control any part of your creative process as she puts it.
I was lucky enough to see Elizabeth Gilbert on the first day of this book's tour last September in New York City and it was a dream come true. Unfortunately, she did not do any book signings, but I was able to purchase a pre-signed copy of Big Magic and listen to Elizabeth Gilbert speak about creativity and then do a Q & A and let me tell you that she is just as amazing and authentic in person as she is on TV and in her books. Fortunately, Barnes and Noble recorded a part of that evening as you can see in the video below. (I freaking love the internet!)
"Your own reasons to make art are reason enough. Create whatever causes revolution in your heart."
This isn't the best photo of me, but I have so few childhood photos of myself that I treasure what I do have, at any rate, this is all the proof I need to show my obsession with handbags goes waaaay back to the 80's.
I hate to sound redundant, but I finally finalized my 2016 to-do list, woohoo!
Last year was not my greatest in terms of completing my year to-do list, in fact it outright sucked. It was a rough year health wise. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and that drained me emotionally and financially a bit too, but at any rate, it's time to make myself accountable. Let's take a look at 2015's to-do list and see what I did (and didn't do):
2015 To-do List
1.) Lose (an additional) 20 pounds (plus the 4 I gained over the holidays);
Didn't happen, in fact I gained 15 pounds. :(
2.) Scrapbook at least through 2009. That means scrapbooking about 14 different trips and events that happened between 2007 and 2009. Yes, I'm that behind, but this is the year for getting closer to being caught up;
Ok, so I don't think I quite made it through 2009 on catching up on scrapbooking, but I have been on such a scrapbooking kick lately that I got pretty damn close so I'm crossing half of it off.
3.) Build up my emergency fund;
This was a bit rough to do considering my unexpected medical bills this year.
4.) Get a new and professional design for my blog;
Didn't happen, again, due to some drainage of the wallet.
5.) Be kinder to everyone. In general I think I'm pretty nice, but if someone is mean or rude to me I tend to react the same way and that's not a good way to be; and
I think it's time I give up on this one. Maybe I was born this way and people just need to deal with it. HA!
6.) Drink less soda. I am not giving up soda all together, but since I have a can of Diet Dr. Pepper almost every day, I think I need to cut back quite a bit.
I stopped buying soda for home in 2015 and was able to cut back on it quite a bit that way. As of lately I have cut it off almost completely, yay!
2016 To-do List
1.) Declutter and Organize - 2016 will be the year of declutter and organization for sure! I am talking about organizing my digital photos and my scrapbooks and purging out stuff I don't need or use like DVDs and books, and just getting rid of all the things that don't bring me any joy and just take up space;
2.) Spend Less and Save More - Since 2016 will be the year of declutter and organization it does not make sense for me to buy more stuff to replace the things I am getting rid of right? A nice byproduct of this will not only be that I will be able to put more money in savings, but also have money to do more of the things I'd like to do like buy a new computer or do a volunteer project abroad or get a new design for my blog, etc.; and
3.) Get Healthier - This year, instead of focusing on a weight goal, I am focusing on making better choices all around when it comes to food. I also want to try different workouts like running more. Basically I want to feel better and get closer to eradicating my sleep apnea.