4 Days Since the Election: Girl Power, Terror, and Safety Pins

It’s been a strange, painful week. I’ve walked around New York City with a constant dull ache in my head and in my heart. New Yorkers are notorious for avoiding contact with each other, but everything about the past 4 days has been different.

Eyes meeting, a brief connection that maybe says “I’m here for you.” and definitely says “I won’t fuck with you.”

You can see so much in people’s eyes:

I haven’t been sleeping well either.
I’ve cried in public several times these past few days, too.
Are we really awake? Is this really real?
Fuck wearing make-up.
Is that Beyoncé I hear, pumping through your headphones?
IF ANYONE GRABS YOU BY THE PUSSY, WE WILL FUCK THEM UP.

GIRL POWER is the one thing keeping me okay right now.

Thanks America, for making me more ferociously feminist than ever.

Much of America, even the majority of voting white women, made it clear they’re cool with women being sexually assaulted: grabbed without consent. That’s really hard news to comprehend. Of course we’ve felt sick all week.

I’ve always felt safe in New York, even after being mugged on the street! But this week has been different. Every day I ride a crowded subway in intimately close proximity to hundreds of strangers. It’s what we do in New York, I’ve rarely thought twice about it. This week, I felt uncomfortable on my commutes. Will someone grab me, now that my country’s made it clear that’s a totally forgivable, nbd action?

Uncomfortable isn’t so bad. I can put on my big girl nasty woman pants and deal with feeling uncomfortable about my personal safety. I sure as hell shouldn’t have to, but in my white lady privileged, I can say it’ll be okay. My discomfort is a macaron-filled PICNIC compared to being terrified.

I say “terrified” and I’m not exaggerating. That terror is real.  Listen to the people the future-POTUS has attacked, look into their eyes, and you’ll see it. FEAR and TERROR.

THIS IS SERIOUS.

On Tuesday night, standing outside what would’ve been Hillary’s victory party, I saw as that terror creeped into people’s consciousness. I’ll never forget a father and teenage daughter that I saw that night. They never dropped their signs, hers read MADAM PRESIDENT 2016 amid drawn blue and red stars. His proclaimed:

Build Bridges Not Walls.
Spread Love, Not Hate.
Great leaders unite, they do not divide.
STRONGER TOGETHER.

She wore a star-spangled head scarf and the look on her face was pure joy at the beginning of the night. My eyes were drawn to hers, she made my heart swell with hope and happiness.

I couldn’t stop myself from turning to peek at her periodically through out the night, watching her radiant face fall from joy to worry as the results started coming in. When I left at 11:30PM, they still stood holding their now wilted signs. I know nothing of their story,  aside from assumptions I might make from her head scarf and the color of their skin. I know nothing of their fear, aside from the look of anger and horror in his eyes and the sadness and fear in hers. These looks spoke more than any words could at that moment.

I didn’t go over and talk to them. I didn’t offer words of comfort or reassurance. I’m not presumptuous. But my heart went out to them that shitty, shitty night. It continues to go out to them today.

I was stupid enough to stand up to a guy who stole my phone on a New York City street. I better be smart enough to stand up for any fellow New Yorker being harassed for their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Don’t worry, I’ll be safe. (I gotta be, I’m about to lose my insurance.) I’ll take the non-confrontational  method from this great Bystander’s Guide to Standing up Against Islamophobic Harassment (and Other Types of Harassment, Too). I encourage you to do so too.

I’ll add a safety pin to my wardrobe. Not as a nod to my punk rock teenage years when I railed against the Bush administration, but as symbol to let strangers know they can feel safe with me.

A badge of support I’ll affix to my chest. You can learn more about The Incredible Reason You Might Start Seeing Safety Pins Everywhere. NYC starts trends: let’s make safety pins the must-have accessory of 2017.

I needed a place to write this week. Yes, about politics. Writing always makes me feel better about shit situations (that should be obvious if you’ve read: my numerous posts about heartbreak). While I’m being propelled to become more politically active and less complacent than I have been in years (and I encourage you to join me in that!!), I don’t expect New York Cliché to turn into a Political Blog. There’ll be plenty of that elsewhere, all over the internet.

This is my New York experience of this week. To write about anything else would be impossible, inauthentic, insane. Readers, I love you. I’m here for you. Talk, vent, ALL CAPS SCREAM, ALL CAPS SCHEME, share your posts, share your fears.

About New York Cliche

NYC lifestyle blog by Mary Lane. Events, adventures, epic mistakes, dating, life, humor. A 20-something trying to make it (and make out) in the city of dreams.

8 thoughts on “4 Days Since the Election: Girl Power, Terror, and Safety Pins

    1. STRONGER TOGETHER hell yes! And hell yes, count me in! I’d love to finally meet and combine our amazing bloggy forces for GOOD!

  1. don’t stop writing. for everyone person that follows you that’s saying, “UGH ENOUGH ALREADY” there are more who feel the opposite (read: me). writing is comfort and a safe place. and i feel so similarly to you about being more politically active, an activist and a volunteer for causes that I feel are important and directly resulted by this election. i live so close to you, so if you are planning on doing/attending anything here in NY let me know!

  2. Hey Mary Lane! I was going to ask you this very question on your last post about election night. I wanted to know how you felt about the overwhelming majority of white women deciding to vote for Trump. And apparently lying about it on exit polls? Then I got detracted by tweets from people finding videos of these women talking about how generous, Trump is, how he cares for children by donating regularly (even though he still hasn’t released his taxes and has been accused by children fir sexual misconduct) , and even though with at least seven bankruptcies he’ll manage the budget better and bring jobs back, he’s underpaid and cheated illegal immigrants out of paychecks on Trump Tower, and he said he’ll make my life better as an African American when he’s said publicly he’ll never rent to a n-word. These are all points that you probably know, I’m sure because it’s New York lore. But even if you didn’t know all of the previous points, why vote against having the right to decide what happens to your own body, or your daughter’s body? To spite people of color because? I just don’t get it. It seems even simpler than a math problem. I would love to hear if you have spoken to anyone who has admitted how they voted.

  3. Ugh, I am so there with you, Mary. Most (not all) of my friends voted for Trump – and this is “liberal” California. Thank God at least the majority of the state went for Hillary. I think a lot of my friends are deliberately insular. They are mainly white, rural-ish, homeschooling moms who are mostly very conservative Evangelical types…Me, I am a white, homeschooling urban mom who believes in diversity and equal rights. Even though some of them didn’t like Trump, they still refused to vote for Hillary. Their mantra is to “vote the platform”. They are very pro-life (me, too, but I don’t feel the need to legislate people’s choices), and they tend to be single-issue voters. They don’t want to see liberals in the White House or on the Supreme Court. They don’t want any governmental interference in their lives. They are anti-vaxxers and don’t believe in evolution or global warming. So they are very hard to get through to, and nothing Hillary can say is going to change their minds. They’ve been posting things on FB, “Why are the gays so worried? It’s not like Trump is that conservative of a Republican. I can’t understand why they’re so afraid.” God, even a bunch of my minority friends voted for him. Their reasons: they think he will enforce the immigration laws and build a wall; they think he will get rid of corruption in Washington (ha ha), and they believe he is pro-life, and they like that he ran a self-funded campaign (ugh).I just can’t with everything right now. My poor 14-year-old daughter was so upset and bothered by Trump winning. She said, “Can’t Obama run for another term? How about John Oliver? He’s smart! Elmo?!” Anyway, excuse me for venting away on your blog…Facebook is not a safe place for me right now.

  4. I am an Australian who lives in Melbourne and can I just say we felt the waves of fear and terror here too. Even though I live in another country, the idea at the beginning of the week that we could have a Madam President helping to run the world brought tears of joy to my eyes. I felt more empowered than I ever have and I thought if they can do that in the USA, we can do that here. We can do it everywhere. I was listening to Beyoncé and I held my head high. I am a woman and I am powerful. Then he won. That man that exhibits all the very worst traits of man. My world, even though not directly impacted, shattered. I looked in the mirror that afternoon when we found out and I thought “will I always just be seen as a worthless sexual object to men and nothing more?” It’s the first time in a long time I have felt absolutely powerless. For women and minorities everywhere who ever felt less worthy to a white male counterpart I felt sick. I cried for days and on Friday I didn’t wear make up or do my hair for work. I thought fuck it! Now I am trying to find power in Hilary’s concession speech. As she said “don’t stop fighting for what is right!” So on we fight, together we stand! I don’t live in America but I am here, we are here, and together we will stand. Thank you for this post, it makes me realise there are others out there and there is still hope!

  5. Oh, Mary Lane, I am so with you 100%. I have felt lost and hollow since Tuesday night. Things that seemed so important days ago now seem trivial and self-serving. These last few days have propelled me to action, leading me into the realm of political activism, an absolute first for me. I’ll be 60 in just a few months and this old dog is just beginning to fight!

    I don’t know if you are aware of the Women’s March in Washington on January 21, the day after the inauguration. It’s all over Facebook. If you can’t find it, let me know and I’ll try to send you the link. I live in DC and my door’s open if you decide to partake but need a place to stay.

    If you’re at all interested, I too have written a post about where my head and heart is right now: http://visualventuring.com/2016/11/11/trump-aftermath/. I don’t know where all this will lead, but damn if I’m going to stand by complacently and let these atrocities happen.

    Thank you for your post. We’re definitely #StrongerTogether

    1. Stacy it’s so funny you mention the Women’s March in Washington because I actually linked to that in this post! “(and I encourage you to join me in that!!)” has a link to the very march you mention! You are so sweet to open your doors, thank you. One of my best friends is studying at Georgetown and I asked if I could stay with her the day I heard about this march. I imagine it might be completely crazy to meet up with anyone at the march- but I’d love to try to do that if it’s at all possible! I’m with you 100% too. No more complacency for me either! I applaud you for beginning the fight at 60- THIS is how we’ll really make a difference!! I can’t wait to see the incredible range of people who show up at this march.
      Thank YOU.

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