I came away with so much buzzing around my head. I wanted to write something last night but in many ways my head was too full (it was cold and I wanted my bed and a hot water bottle). Conversations over the course of the workshop had been generous and wide ranging but the dark cloud hanging over all of us was the impending US Election, the possiblity that, sadly when I woke up this morning had become a terrifying reality.
Trump is going to be President of the USA. And the world is a far darker place than I wanted to admit to myself. We know this because people listened to his poisonous words and CHOSE to put him there.
Last night I was in a room with a fantastic group of openly gay, queer, trans, as well as others identifying as straight, men and women and people of colour. We shared stories of Leeds: where we had happy memories, where we had difficult memories, where we felt safe. Some of these stories were deeply personal and revealing and made me appreciate how little we really know about the people around us and the experiences they carry with them. It was an opportunity to check my privilege. I heard accounts of ‘attacks’, behavior I found hard to believe. Not because of the source but because I have not experienced anything like it first hand. Sure, I’m a woman and I’ve been catcalled, called sexual slurs and been groped in public by men on more than one occasion but never experienced the levels of hate I heard about, just for people being who they are. It was a little shocking but worth hearing.
Overall it was an incredibly positive experience. I enjoyed the opportunity to share physical intimacy with other human beings and I am looking forward to more of that (despite the snow) on Friday and Saturday – I am participating in leading the performance. I am curious what else I will learn about myself through doing this piece.
So, in the wake of this vote for hate, small acts of kindness, connection and tolerence are what I CAN do. It’s better than ranting and raving, adding to the negativity in the world. It starts with us, right?