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Week in Review: Serenity and Courage

I have so many thoughts to share this week, and so little time to write.

I hope Megan won’t mind if my Week in Review post takes a turn for the political. Won’t happen often.

It has been a tough week, and my heart has been hurting for so many reasons.

The results of the election were devastating. I don’t ordinarily share thoughts about politics on the blog, and I don’t intend to make a habit of it. This blog will remain a blog about IBS and eating disorder recovery; don’t worry.

But in my mind, Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States is not a matter of “politics.” It’s not a question about what model works best for growing the economy, or whether or not health care should be privately or publicly funded, whether or not marijuana should be legal, whether it is more ethical to get involved in certain foreign conflicts or stay out of them. Don’t get me wrong; these are all important questions, and I have my opinions about some of them. But I tend to think that conservatives and liberals in this country, though we disagree, share certain common values about what is right and what is definitely not okay; we believe in human rights, freedom of speech, the democratic process, the right to a fair trial before a jury of your peers, the importance of defending our country and our allies, and defending, within our own borders, every human’s right to freedom from hatred and injustice.

I fear that those things are under fundamental threat by Donald Trump and the things he has said, which are, at best, lies, and at worst, a warning that this man could neglect and even dismantle some of the principles that our country says that it stands for: freedom, democracy, justice. These aren’t just buzzwords; these are rights we exercise when we vote, when the police protect us from violence, when we go to court, when we go to school, when we write what we think on public forums, even when we open our mouths and speak.

There were also little hard things this week

My laptop charger disappeared, meaning that I can’t share any photos until my new charger comes from Amazon. Thank goodness for Unsplash and their awesome photos that are free to download, share and distribute.

I also spent the week conferencing one-on-one with all 34 of my students, which was draining, and I got an email from a student who wants to challenge the grade I assigned her, which is upsetting. Part of it is that I hate confrontation, but I also don’t know if my students realize how much it hurts my own heart when I have to give my students a low grade. These things seem petty in comparison to the big things, but they were still frustrating.

In tough times, I often think about this popular prayer. It’s widely known, but I associate it with my grandmother and namesake, who did a cross stitch of his prayer that’s now hanging on the wall in my parents’ home.god-grant-me-the-serenity

Here is one thing I don’t want to hear.

I don’t want to hear the words, “It is going to be okay.”

Maybe for many people, privileged people with savings and stable incomes and support networks who aren’t subject to prejudice, life may continue pretty much as usual. But for people of color, immigrants or family members of immigrants, men and women serving in our nation’s military, or those with low incomes and no financial stability, Muslims, members of the LGBT community, and many others, the results of this election could have serous and dire consequences. Saying “it’s going to be okay” may make you feel better, but it doesn’t help.

In times like this, we need to be prepared to know that it could very well not be okay, and we need to speak out, take action, protest, write, petition, write letters to our representatives in Congress, teach our children and students what is right and what is wrong, call others out on behavior that is unacceptable, and defend those who need help defending themselves.

A few small joys this week:

I made an awesome new low-FODMAP chili that I’m super excited to share on the blog.

I got a new low-FODMAP cookbook by Dianne over at Delicious as It Looks.

I donated a few items to the county food bank, including canned fruit, cereal, spaghetti, and tampons.

I went to a creative writing reading featuring Harrison Candaleria-Fletcher and Tess Taylor.

A favorite line from Tess Taylor that ended the reading:

“Let those who are hungry be fed, and let those who have food hunger for justice.”

Hang in there, friends.

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  1. Last week was definitely a tough one…I’ve been focusing on my own small joys each day. It has helped me!

    1. Joyce says:

      Focusing on small blessings is important. Glad to hear you’re staying positive.

  2. Last week literally feels like a bad dream, it will take me awhile to realize it’s reality. Like Heather said, trying to focus on the small joys each day!

    1. Joyce says:

      Yes, I feel like I’m in a bad dream too

  3. Cora says:

    On top of everything…
    The fact that you feel so sensitive toward your students and find it difficult to give a low grade only amplifies how wonderful a teacher/mentor/writer you are and are going to be. We’ve all been in that students’ shoes… it hurts in the moment, but she will learn and look back and be thankful for what she has learned. You have a wonderful heart.
    On that note – what DO you want to do after finishing your thesis? What is your dream job??

    1. Joyce says:

      Daw. Thanks, Cora. I don’t always feel like a great teacher. After I graduate, I honestly want to blog and write. I have a communications internship that’s a lot of fun. I honestly like teaching a lot, but it’s also pretty emotionally draining.

  4. I am calling last Wednesday the day of excrement for a multitude of reasons but the primary one being the election results. It is heart breaking and what’s more painful is knowing so many were ok with the things he said. I have friends and family who will likely be impacted by this and it’s horrible.

    Hang in there.

    1. Joyce says:

      I hope your friends and family are okay. Hang in there. It was definitely a tough week.

  5. You are so brave for sharing this, Joyce. I actually keep having the same argument with my mom. Even though she voted Hillary, and was furious at the results, she doesn’t really understand how threatened I feel. She says it’ll be okay but I keep emphasizing your point that actually it won’t, especially for minorities. I try to be hopeful in all things, but I find it difficult to see a positive future for the US after this.

    1. Joyce says:

      Thanks, Cayanne. Yes, I find it hard when people say, “It’s going to be okay.” It’s not that there’s anything wrong with maintaining a positive attitude, but I think repeating too ourselves that everything will be alright in the end has the danger of making us complacent.

  6. I love your post! It was devastating for sure. I can only hope that our country gets through these next four years with as much grace and peace as possible.

    1. Joyce says:

      I hope so too. Continue peace relative peace in the U.S. and around the world is my #1 hope.

  7. Diane Wahto says:

    Thank you for this, Joyce. I still wake up with a pain in my heart every morning. I agree–the words, “It is going to be okay,” don’t comfort me. It won’t be okay. When your sweet cousin is hearing racial slurs as she walks to work in New York City, that’s not okay. When people of certain ethnic backgrounds are terrified for the future, that’s not okay.

    As for the student challenging the grade, if you go into teaching, that’s bound to happen. One time when I was teaching in Winfield a student’s mom came to talk to me about her son’s grade. I actually gave him a better one than he deserved. She told me she came alone because the kid’s dad had threatened to hit me if I didn’t change the grade. I explained why he got the grade he got and I didn’t change it. I was pretty upset, though.

    We just need to keep spreading love.

    1. Joyce says:

      Oh, wow. That’s powerful. I hope the dad didn’t hit the kid!

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