From Stronger By Way of Breaking or How to Handle the Failed Election

What is it they say about a house that is burning?

Our attachment to privilege, to believing we are owed something, is not hope. It’s as if we are all in the grips of an addiction in which it’s too painful to remember what the sunrise feels like. It is what limits our vision, what led us to fail Hillary Clinton and each other in this election. 

This failure leaves us on a planet that is dying around us and doing nothing about it. Where hosing down a human being with cold water in the freezing night is permissible. Where a young black man bleeds out on a San Francisco street alone. Because you, not them. Because safety, not empathy. Because I, not we. Because if I can just survive that's enough.

But it's not enough. It's calcifying in the face of love.

I need to know about this America, not turn a blind eye to it, this America that I have forever been hesitant to love, have always in some untended chamber of my queer female heart feared would destroy me.

This was not an election about issues. This was not an election about good or evil either. It was an election about suffering. People are good, their souls are precious, their dreams are real and vital. This election illustrated for me how much and in what crushing amplitude people are suffering out there, and the way in which it is so easy when we are suffering to attach ourselves to and be motivated by hate. How hate creates a shell that eclipses our morality, our humanity, our joy, our dignity.

This election made me feel the need to protect people, and that breaks my heart pump.

James Baldwin said, If you can’t love anybody you are dangerous. You have no way to learn humility, no way to learn that other people suffer and to use your suffering and theirs to get from this place to that.

And so I challenge myself and all of us to push beyond our disappointment and heartbreak, beyond our attachment to power as a means of survival, beyond loving anybody to loving everybody. Listen, I am angry. And, yes, in many ways I have become a canvas of rage. But anger is different than hate. I will use my anger to activate, to demonstrate, to make phone calls, to learn to love harder and stronger.

And, yes, to march this weekend.

We may be without compass and the road is dark and full of raving ghosts and unimaginable obstacles. But we will move forward—with our more expansive, our stronger hearts. We will heal. We will grow. We will dance when we can, and hold on to one another, we will make food for those of us who are hungry, we will listen for the sorrow of others, we will witness and cherish and see each other, and we will be devastated, but fearless in the face of hatred.

We will carry those who need to be carried.

That’s what women do.

And we must all be women now. 

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From Pulse

That first night in ManRay, when a girl kissed me, my life changed. It felt cellular. I had finally been seen and for a brief moment, while Cher blasted through the speakers and the disco ball spun overheard as assuredly as any good planet, I had been loved. The tragic and, albeit, comic element of this moment of my life was that I had self-medicated so deeply that night with cheap vodka tonics that after the kiss I promptly puked on the dance floor. It was mortifying. But I was done denying myself the love I knew felt right.

Love is the only thing that has the ability to remain unbroken. This pride weekend let’s not deny love. Together at the parade and the parties and crossing the street and at work and in the gay bars and holding hands outside Stonewall, let us be defined by it. Loving is the only act. And in fact humans, contrary to how it might feel in the wake of the 49 magnificent souls we lost this month, are really good at it. We are hardwired to love one another, and I’ll be the first to admit it can be scary at times. Choosing love makes us vulnerable. But choosing love is the only dance that will ever make any difference.

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