Unaffected

There are so many opinions and emotions about this election. People are elated. People are heartbroken. People are scared. People have hope. People are confused. It’s a lot to take in.

I’ve kept my political opinions to myself because I think most people’s opinions in this election lead to destructive conversations. I’ve been contemplating how to add to the conversation in a valuable way, so I’ve spent the past days reflecting.

I realized something within myself through my evolving feelings toward Donald Trump.

About 5 months ago, I was infuriated by the way Mr. Trump talked about and talked to women. I ranted to Dean (poor Dean) about how the ways Mr. Trump spoke could ripple across the nation and negatively impact (or destroy) the rights and respect women have fought so many years for.

The media really loved to talk about how awful Mr. Trump has been toward women (or maybe I just paid a lot of attention to these types of stories?). But as more and more awful stories emerged, I began to be less and less affected by all the things he said.

Fast forward to election night and I found myself not at all caring about how he talked to women or about women. I started wondering why – why did this not affect me anymore?

[I’m asking for a lot of kindness here, because I’m about to get vulnerable.]

I realized Donald Trump doesn’t affect me anymore because I shame myself far more than Donald Trump has shamed any woman. And let me just tell you – that is a painful thing to realize.

I wish I could report differently, but every day I lose the battle of security and worth. Every single day I inflict shame and hate on myself, as I’m sure a lot of females (of all ages) do.

From small things – like ripping myself apart for gaining weight or the fact I absolutely cannot keep my house clean – to big things – like convincing myself that I annoy everyone I’m around and that if I don’t get ahold of my anxiety that everyone will give up on me. I tell myself that I’m incompetent, I’m incapable, I’m a disappointment, I’ll be a horrible mom, I’m a bad friend, I’m not relatable, I’m not fun, I’m ugly, I’m not successful, I’m a bad wife, I’m not good enough, I’m shaped weird, I can’t keep up with them, I’m the reason bad things happen. These are real thoughts. Real hate and real shame I’ve spoken over myself.

And so it makes sense that Mr. Trump’s degrading or condescending comments toward women really don’t affect me anymore. His comments don’t infuriate me or disappoint me, because I’ve said worse about myself.

So here are my thoughts about this election: change starts inside of us. It doesn’t start with our president or with our church leader or with our co-worker or with our husband. If we really want our communities to thrive and if we want to “make America great again” and be “stronger together”, it starts with how we love ourselves and how we love those around us.

May we be kind to ourselves, kind to others and let the Lord take care of the rest.

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