Barbara Contreras/ November 6, 2020/ Day to Day/ 0 comments

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How do you feel? Are you okay? These are some of the questions I received before and after November 3rd. I had no idea how to answer except just saying “I am okay.” Mostly because I would probably go down a rabbit hole, which I didn’t think would do anyone any good. It would make me more stressed and others feel more overwhelmed. I felt like unless you are in my shoes, you won’t understand. I think compassionate and loving friends, and family would try but they simply can’t fully get it, and I didn’t want to explain how I felt. I appreciate all those who checked on me and were loving and understanding. I know that we are all going through a lot, in different ways. 

How I really felt was TIRED! I was tired of feeling anger, disappointment, and sadness. In the last three days, I have a new reason to be tired between calculating, not sleeping, stressing, and internally compartmentalizing I am not sure I have taken a real breath. As much as I want time to stop to let me wrap my head around it all, I still have to be a daughter, a dog mom, a wife, a friend, a worker, an example to others, and all other things we are expected to be.

Before the election, I tried to hold my tongue about a lot on bi-partisan politics. If you know me, you already know how I feel about the current president of the US. Even besides personal issues with DACA and immigration. I can never agree with someone’s politics if they involve no respect for human lives in general. Someone who has no respect for scientists and or someone who doesn’t address a global pandemic safely. I think my mom did a fantastic job when my niece asked her if she could vote, who would you vote for? My mom’s repose was Biden. My adorable, curious 9 yr old nice follow up with “why?”. She quickly let her know it was because he respects people; he is a good speaker; he values other’s lives. He is educated, has manners, and values science. She stayed away from immigration to not freak her out more. My niece agreed. She thought Biden was the best candidate because he has a plan for COVID and Trump does not. Yes, she mostly worried that COVID is keeping her out of school and playing with her friends, but she and the other kids get the point. I just tried to keep it high- level. 

I mostly said, “if you can vote. GO AND VOTE! Voting is a privilege I do not have, so no matter who you want in office, you need to exercise that right.” I kept myself out of politics because I felt like if you were already a Trump voter, there is very little that I could say to change your mind. Besides selfish economic reasons, I really can’t think of any reason why someone would vote for this man, regardless of his opponent. I also don’t agree when I hear that this man is a good Christian and protects Christian beliefs. I think that if you are Christian and you tell me that he is a good Christian then you have no idea what Christianity is. Maybe try again because a couple of good Christian values are to be loving, taking care of those who have less, and taking in those who have no homes or are not safe. Something that Trump doesn’t stand for. If your only claim is that he is a good Christian is because he is against pro-choice please help me understand how caging children, not condemning white supremacy, disrespecting women, and so forth is “pro-life. The list goes on and on. 

 We have close friends that, in many ways, shocked me, but at the same time it didn’t. They mock Trump and say what a disgrace he is to the US and they still felt like they could vote for him due to tax, money, or other economic reasons. My very vocal and “hold nothing back” husband had a lot to say to them. A couple of things he told them was, “do you know we are immigrants”, “do you know that if he is voted in, I might lose my visa”, “do you know that he hates people that look like Barbara? And he incites hatred towards people like her and her family?” I mostly just watched or helped clear up some of his points, but even though they thought about all those things, and even seemed somewhat enlightened, I know at the end of the day, in a very American way, they will vote for themselves. 

They will think about the issues that matter to them and will vote for Trump. I heard this phrase a lot, “I have to think what is best for my tribe” (l won’t go down this rabbit hole, but unless you are from a Native tribe, do not use that word! Sop Culturally Appropriating!). I felt like I did not need to spend my energy on a hopeless cause. I know some of you may disagree, but here is the thing. I was also thinking of putting my family first, so maybe we’re no different in that way. 

I had lots of anxiety about this election and fighting with Trump supporters, especially about immigration. They are not going to change their minds, because immigrants are always coming. We are a looming threat. We will come to this country just to take jobs, rape, and murder Americans. At least according to the president and his supporters, that’s why many of us come here. I knew it was not a battle worth fighting for my mental health and the safety of my family. I don’t need all of our neighbors knowing that I am a DACA recipient and all my immigration details. I just needed to control how much I was placing on myself, which is how I ended up in a panicked state and felt overwhelming anxiety. I felt like I could not move the three days before the election.

How do I feel now? Well, the last 3 days have been a rollercoaster. Gijs, my husband, legit asks me how I feel almost every hour of the day. I appreciated it, but it also makes me tired. Yes, my anxiety and possibly depressive state makes me tired, but why do I feel like this? Even though right now, on 11/6/2020, it looks like there might be a chance of a brighter 4 years, there will still be a long battle ahead. Gijs is positive and his way of dealing with it is that he gives me updates and his calculations on what he is reading about, what he is talking about with people who are more aware than us. 

I also look at that map and when I see all that RED I am disappointed, hurt, and concerned. All these people saw what has happened these last four years. They saw the murders of unarmed Black men and women, and they saw how this man engaged militia groups. They are seeing his family members call out for war over “voter fraud.” They saw a man that has taken all of our American values, shredded them, and thrown them out. And here we sit, with over 69 million votes in his favor.

I also made note of how many Latinos are willing to vote for a man who is as much of a tyrannical dictator as those who ruled the countries they left. I am looking at you, Miami Dade county, aka Venezuelans and Cubans! This man is now trying to prove that the election was fraudulent. This is the kind of behavior that we see crazy Tyrants do. People should be able to recognize this by now! I hear about how there was still a large percentage of Latinos who voted for this man and all I will say is that you should not forget that just because you have more money and have a paper that says you are American, you are not more white than I am. Guess what? He and his followers still don’t view you as equal or part of their group. I understand that this may sound harsh, but that is how I feel that they see all of us as. I am disappointed that people are okay with a person without knowledge, respect, education, values, morals, manners, and common decency to be their leader just because he tells you he understands you and will make America great again; whatever that means. 

I am also angry at those who know my family and myself personally. They felt the need to give us a speech that is bogus and untrue about why Trump should be president. I am also mad at those Latinos I know personally that silently voted for what they think was best for them (is it though?) even though they see their community in crisis. 

Now, I hope you can understand why I don’t want to explain myself to all the people that are asking how I feel because, as you can tell, there is so much to explain. I say I am okay because that is what I have to be. I need to put aside my feelings of disappointment, sadness, anxiety, anger, and confusion to keep going because otherwise, it will consume me. I will not give this political moment the chance to rob me of my peace. I am trying to be optimistic about the next four years. However, I am also saving energy for more uphill battles, because, as an immigrant woman of color, I will always have to face them. There will be people in this country who will keep thinking of themselves and their individual needs over what is best for the whole country. 

So even though the next few days will be super stressful and we have no idea how this will turn out. We might be stuck in the recounting hamster wheel for a bit longer. There have been quite a few things we can celebrate about the progress that the country has made and the direction it might be headed towards. I will leave you with a bit of a pick me up and positive energy: Read about all the diversity historical moments that were made. 

I will continue to stress eat, try to keep breathing, and take my puppy on walks. In conclusion: we will be okay.

 

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Barbara Contreras

About Barbara Contreras

I am originally from Venezuela. I have lived in the US since I was 8 years old and have been a DACA recipient since 2012. I grew up on Hilton Head Island, a small touristy island on the coast of South Carolina. I acquired my Communication degree from Queens University at Charlotte and I'm currently working as a Brand Marketing Manager at Newell Brands.

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