The election results threw me, along with everyone I know, for a huge loop this week. As the reality of the results set in, I was alone in a hotel room in the middle of the country. As a privileged white Liberal living in Los Angeles, I have never felt oppression or fear for my safety based on my gender, religion, or other parts of my identity. On Tuesday night, I felt a tiny inkling of fear for my own rights as a female. Sure, Trump has disrespected females. But for those he has threatened to deport or force to register based on their beliefs, I can’t even imagine what you must be feeling. My heart goes out to you.

While this is an incredibly difficult reality to believe and navigate, my incredulity can only last for so long. After that, it’s time to ask ourselves what we can do. I’m giving myself a week to be sad, scared, and disbelieving. I’m indulging in the multitude of FaceBook posts about “what went wrong”. I’m internet-stalking Michael Moore and all of his past political predictions. I’m searching the hashtag “maga (make America great again)” on instagram to try to see what the opposing side is saying. I know that examining the negativity that is bubbling over right is not a healthy activity per se, but right now I want information. I need to create a framework in my mind from which I can move forward.

And I know we’re going to move forward. So when I’m ready, here is what I’m going to do:

  1. Stop reading posts on FaceBook about what happened. There’s a time to pore through articles and to keep hitting refresh. But being glued to my phone and obsessing is not who I am. I need to make eye contact with people I walk past in the street and continue to live my life. There’s a time – a short time – to be angry at fellow voters but in the end, those that voted for Trump have fears and concerns that I probably can’t understand.
  2. Read and re-read Amanda Chantal Bacon’s piece on her instagram page about unity.  I love this for so many reasons. To be accepting is by no means the first reaction that I had, nor is it the easiest sentiment to maintain. But it is what is necessary for us if we are to move forward together.
  3. Talk to friends. Many of my close friends are not from the US, but they have strong opinions and a different perspective to share. Hearing my friends’ stories and the way this election affects them is so important to me in understanding not only what this means for US citizens, but for the rest of the world as well. It has forced me to be more humble in my Americanness; I still fiercely love my country, but I recognize that we are far from perfect.
  4. Visit PlannedParenthood.org to tell your story, volunteer, and donate. Vehemently pro-life, Trump has stated that he “is committed to defunding” Planned Parenthood. I know how valuable this organization was for me in my teen years. It was a place where I wasn’t asked a lot of questions, but I could get information when I needed it. It provides education, resources and a safe haven to young girls and boys whose lives would be very different did it not exist.
  5. Keep an open mind. You cannot combat hate with more hate. We can only rise above it – idealistic as that sounds. I’ve been told that I am “fluffy”, but my positive outlook is something that I will continually defend and protect. There is not one side of the story, nor are we split into just Democrat and Republican. There are millions of people that make up who we are as a nation, and we each have a story.