So, I’m breaking my silence to speak about my own experience… as the Foe in the White House is in the process of being vanquished. Just remember, it’s not over yet, and there are a lot of people who have to process this loss (and some who have to learn how to handle the win with a bit more grace and dignity). So, we’re still in for a ride, over the next couple-three months.
Personally, I’m really, really happy for a whole lot of people who now feel like they can breathe a little easier, again. Especially the Black community and other People of Color. The white supremacy that’s cast a shadow over the land (and cast a pallor over our national complexion) seems like it may abate.
At least it’s not quite as much of a default mode, as it has been for far too long.
That truly is cause for celebration. It’s just amazing! I’m relieved in a way that I haven’t been, in quite some time. Justice! Yay! When others are better off, I am better off. Seeing others in pain is excruciating for me, especially when it’s politically/socially sanctioned, and it’s practically mandated by an elected official.
And yet… I’m not exactly celebrating for myself. I mean, no matter how well they retrain society to stop being so incredibly racist, no matter how much more accepting American society becomes, no matter how much more goodness is allowed to express itself in the American public… people are still people. I’m still queer. I’m still autistic. I’m still dealing with a number of invisible issues that I don’t dare tell anyone about, because, well, people are still people, and not everybody gets it, and the cost of being up-front and transparent might be more than I can afford.
It’s always the “might” that gets me, if you want to know (I’m not saying you do, I’m just putting it out there). It’s always the uncertainty about whether someone will be OK with me, or they’ll have issues… whether they’ll be mature enough and experienced enough to not get all triggered ‘n’ whatnot about the issues I make them painfully aware of… or whether I’ll step on a proverbial mine in that explosive-strewn expanse known as social interactions.
Only autistic people can imagine just how stressful it is to walk into one social situation after another literally not knowing if I’ll blow it all up accidentally, and how carefully I tread… conceal… mask… pivot… accommodate… just to not have someone look at me that way with that same old look that says loud and clear, “Tell me you didn’t just _____”.
Anyway, as happy as I am for everyone who stands to gain from this, I don’t actually feel like it has much to do with me or my situation. The hazards are still there. The threats. I’m still persona non grata with a lot of folks, and a different guy in the White House isn’t going to change that. The undercurrent of uncertainty that makes staying inside (quarantine! hooray!!!) seem really, really attractive. Relaxing. A relief. I’m good with not going out, except at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to grocery shop.
And in some ways, the world actually feels more precarious to me, now. Because now I have to figure out which people around me are really nice people, and which are racists and bigots and people who want to kick the shit out of me, but are just being polite on the face of it all. With Trump in office, it’s been easy to spot them, because it’s been a-okay for them to just flex that part of themselves. But now it’s going to become a big secret, again. The world is supposed to become more genteel, more gentle, more civilized, now that Trump’s on the way out. But from what I’ve seen over the past 55 years, people more often learn to hide their bigotry (and then act it out in clandestine ways), rather than evolve into something less hazardous to people like me.
Meh, whatever. I’m probably raining on somebody’s parade, so sorry if I dulled your buzz. But let’s be honest. Especially those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s. People can be real shits. And a change of leadership in a country, while it helps with setting an example that others may follow, isn’t going to morph the hearts of darkness into beacons of light.
The hearts of darkness are still there.
It’s just going to get harder to see — and avoid them — from here on out.