I have to admit something today: I am really struggling. I feel totally depleted of energy. I have no creative will. I’m sad and anxious. Why? The answers lie mostly outward from myself.
I am sick over the current state of societal affairs I find myself mired in. While the election of Trump does not affect me directly to a large degree, the ripples from the decision are being felt on my side of the border. The alt-right has gained newfound confidence in Canada and the idea that Kevin O’Leary’s bid for Conservative leader is plausible makes my gut roil.
A damn was broken in Canada the night we learned Trump was president-elect of the United States –our closest neighbour and ally, one of our bigger cultural influences. I held my breath, waiting for the fallout. It’s only just starting to grow apparent, and if the current state of things is any indication, things are going to get uglier.
I live in a small town north of Calgary. To say it has conservative leanings is a gross understatement. For the most part people are pleasant and kind to others. And then there are the few who I’d very much like to lock in a dark room and throw away the key.
When I said a damn broke in Canada, I mean that for some reason people now think it’s ok to spew whatever bigotry they have held in. I haven’t witnessed firsthand things as awful as the shooting in Montréal at the Centre Culturel Islamique Québec, and for that I am grateful. But I’ve seen and heard little things that feed into the hatred that erupts in shootings, physical attacks of POC, vandalism of cultural centres, and the like.
In this small town, I work as a customer service rep, dealing with people on the front line for 30 hours a week. Since it became obvious Trump was a front-runner, those 30 hours have grown much more difficult to endure.
Because I’m blonde, white, able-bodied and live in our rural town, people think I’m like them and that I share their values. I have to be polite to every person who spews their offensive beliefs at me or risk losing my job. I hate it.
Keeping my mouth shut, swallowing my outrage, and knowing I’m going to have to listen to more of the same every day is sucking so much of my energy that I don’t even know what to do with myself. I do not want to start a political debate at my place of business, not only because I am outnumbered in my beliefs, but because I have to see the same people day in and day out. But I’m so tired of listening to garbage.
How have we come to this as a society? How have we let so much intolerance and fear grow? Where the hell has all this hate come from?
Those are naïve questions, I know, but I’m dumbfounded by how history is repeating itself right now. I grew up learning about a multi-cultural society that celebrates differences. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned much more about my country’s darker days, but I sincerely believe in Canada’s multicultural spirit. Those weren’t –aren’t– just words to me. Those notions are my patriotic foundation. I thought we had learned the error of our early ways. I thought we were moving forward with a greater respect for our differences. Perhaps that’s what has me so sad, knowing that so many people were simply paying lip service to these ideas I hold dear.
Many of my writer friends keep sharing posts on social media about how important it is to write, especially now. To use our words and voices to combat all these things I’m lamenting. To drown out the hate. But it’s hard.
I think I need to shift from sad to mad and let that angry energy spur me into creativity, but I’m not there yet. I just feel tired.
How are you dealing with this current state of affairs?