There has been a growing knot within my stomach as of late. I walk into work from the parking deck, across the little Buckhead village of high rises and always look ahead of me into the mirrors that line my work building. These mirrors are tall and always clean, so I can see what or who is behind me on my soul death march. Being hyper aware of my surroundings (who is around me, where are there cars, where is there an exit, etc.) is only because I don’t trust the intentions of others. While I trust in my government to enact and enforce laws that protect me from harm, I know these are only precarious safe measures that could be easily discarded by a cognizant choice of another (barring any true accidents). And so, my personal safety is within my mind at most times, especially out in public.
But this knot grows every time I look in the mirror after the previous day’s headlines or after reading the latest tweet from the president elect. My insides tighten with anxiety and fear for the oncoming four years of chaos. Everyday I walk into work, get my coffee, chat my coworkers, and listen to the latest headlines while I start my day. Short blurbs echoing intense issues are rattled off and the knot tightens.
‘Trump slams EU after Brexit’
‘North Dakota proposed law would enable vehicular manslaughter of protestors’
‘Pence proposes to relocate media from White House’
‘American Intelligence points at Russian Hacking; Trump denies claims’
‘Nightclub shooting in Cancun leaves five dead’
‘Four thousand US Troops land in Poland, welcomed with ceremony’
‘American embassy may move to Palestine’
‘Texas proposed bill classifies abortion as a felony regardless of Supreme Court’
And guess what – those are all just today’s headlines. Today’s. The question within my head for at least half of these are; is this true? Are these headlines true, are these stories real? Headlines like these above are rife with sensationalism, hidden agendas, and a small echo of a past drenched in violence and inequality. The knot tightens.
When does this anxiety become fear? Is it when I look over my shoulder constantly for fear of getting hit by a car without the driver suffering any ramifications? Is it when I can’t trust what American media is printing? Or, is it when I am forced to give a still birth to my long dead baby? I am scared. I am scared for half these come from the elected leader of my country who will have to swear to protect my rights and freedoms as they must swear to protect all rights and freedoms of every American citizen. But what happens when the definition of those rights change? What happens when I am not protected by my government anymore?
The knot tightens as I see these changes building up and evaluate what they mean for me, my fellow Americans, and the future of the free world where to be human is to be free, in all ways. And I think, even in the next four months I could see a huge upheaval of what it means to be an ‘American’, or a ‘woman’. Fear is belching up out of these partial truths and I am perched with nauseated apprehension to see the day it breaks.