I keep having bad dreams...
I keep having bad dreams…
Or maybe it’s bad thoughts.
Or maybe it’s bad energy.
Or maybe, I’m having nightmares that have turned into our reality. When I finally begin to digest that my reality has become a nightmare and my nightmares have become reality, no matter how far I runaway from our nation's deep, deep issues, I can’t avoid the change in energy around the world this election has caused.
It has been difficult for me to comment on the results of this election, because I feel as if my privileged decision to move out of the U.S. during this hell of an election was selfish. As we all did, I made a decision this election season that meant more than just my individual vote. I chose to leave our nation this September to pursue a year abroad, instead of working for the campaign, taking people to the polls, rallying young voters, encouraging the elderly that their voice is still relevant, and helping to deconstruct the false media perceptions that were being conveyed. Upon graduation, I desired an experience that would personally challenge me emotionally, intellectually, and physically while also providing me with the comfort of not having to face whatever the immediate day to day impact of this election would be on U.S. Americans.
So, after I went to sleep comfortably in my bed in the D.R. last night, I cringed fighting through a bad dream that was all too real. My friends of color, my parents, my LGBTQ friends, my friends who have immigrated to the U.S., and I all stood outside of a park fighting to be seen by the safety patrol and avoided at the same time by the recently elected party. If we were recognized and deemed as valuable by the safety patrol, we would have safety for one evening. However, the government who had recently taken power was targeting minorities and every night there would be a “Round Up”, which would literally absorb us minorities one by one into their viscious atmosphere leaving the rest of us to only question. However, for some reason, I was somehow immune at the time to the targeting that was taken place. It didn't make sense to me, because I looked like everyone who was disappearing, yet some decision I made in my past exempted me from the current danger my friends and family faced. So, I fought to cover, protect, hide, and transfer as many family and friends as possible to different "safe houses" during each round up. But, I could never protect everyone, it was never enough.
Drenched in tears in my dream and panicking in real life, I wakened. How did I have the privilege to avoid this round up and although I wasn’t a target today, would they come for me next? Was my opportunity to live abroad during this current state of the US similar to me being immune to the violence conducted in my dream? How did I have the privilege to go abroad and avoid the direct impacts of this election: the violent protests, the hate speech, and the subjugation that has erupted after this election? Or do my dreams remind me that even me, peacefully living abroad, am not immune to the fear and bigotry in the U.S.?
My dream may sound like a movie you’ve seen or a book you’ve read because these scenarios have happened before. A “round up” is by no means a new phenomena and a government making a conscious effort to eliminate those who are deemed inferior or a threat has happened day after day in our world. Yet, what confused me most was that my subconscious even while immersed in my life in Santo Domingo has continuously articulated a struggle all minorities are facing today: A struggle to be seen, recognized, and saved, while the fight to dodge oppression, violence, and subjugation of our bodies remains prevalent. This dichotomy is not a new problem, trust me, I know. However, what is a new problem for me, is that a 23 year old black woman living in the D.R. keeps having this same nightmare about her country, a nation built by her ancestors and formed by colonial powers whom never sought to protect her or support her freedom. This is the place she calls home.
For those of us who get to travel or live abroad during this time, please realize that even though you may feel like you are separate from the direct impact of today's realities, remember that hate and violence permeate borders and travel through waters. Even when you think you have chosen a place that will help you remain separate from that bigotry, you’ll have a bad dream that reminds you when your family and friends are suffering; there is nothing you can EVER do to truly escape.
We are all responsible. This is OUR nation and when one suffers, we all suffer. If you were planning to leave, reconsider your decision at this time. We need you.
But today, I had a daydream. I saw people of all shades, all religions, and all languages not only coexisting, but they were celebrating one another. Minorities had become a majority, yet fear of difference and change didn't exist. As I sat on the beach in Virgnia with a close friend, he shared with me that while I was gone a new "fad has begun". People were beginning to abandon fear and he was the first in his circle of friends to do so. After the election and a tough year of loss, he realized he was ready to step into a season of fruition and without hesitation do the things he loved. For him, fear no longer existed in his life and while that at first turned him into a bit of a recluse, his decisions ultimately attracted new people, new love, and a community and a nation of peace.
We may have nightmares, but you must believe our future will be more like our daydreams. The "arc of our moral universe bends toward justice" and so does the future of our nation. I desire to be a part of a nation free of fear. I desire to be a part of the solution.
I desire to return to OUR United States.