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Watching Donald Trump Win as a Woman With a Disability

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I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop the overwhelming fear and anxiety building up in me. Donald Trump is our next president.

Based off his election season rhetoric, apparently, I, me, Caitlyn, am everything he hates about America.

I am a woman.

I am disabled.

I benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

I am in a relationship with someone who is first generation Mexican-American.

I have a best friend who is African-American.

I have friends and family who identify as LGBTQ.

I have hundreds of friends around the United States, and really the world, who are just like me: spoonies. I am shocked by his victory tonight. When you cast your vote for Trump on Tuesday, you cast your vote against my life.

I depend on the ACA for health care coverage. I depend on my health care coverage since I’m so sick. And now, I’m living in fear. That may all be destroyed. I have so many conditions that no one would ever insure me, and if I don’t have health insurance, I won’t be able to afford my medication. I won’t be able to see my doctors.

I see all of the messages of “advocacy starts now” and “heal with love.” I know in time I will get there. And I will make myself even more of an advocate than I am now because our world has shifted so drastically in the last 24 hours. It will be required of me. I need to get myself moving and get myself involved.

The time is coming. I feel the fire begin. As I write this, I feel the tears start to dry. My head starts to nod in agreement with what I’m writing. The words flow a little faster. This is not the end. This is beginning. This is the beginning of a chance to show the world, and the rest of America, that hate is not the path we need to take. We need to embrace each other.

Love a little more in the next coming days. Lick the wounds.

But then, we need to rise.

We need to rise to stand up for ourselves, the marginalized — the women, the minorities, the disabled, the poor, the disadvantaged. Tears will be shed. Bonds you thought never would break will be broken.

Perhaps this is it. Perhaps this is the time where we, those who oppose Trump, become motivated enough to start making a difference. To become advocates ourselves, to champion causes that suddenly have so much more importance because of the country and the world we are now living in.

We are warriors. We are mighty. We are going to rise — rise above the election, rise above the closet misogynistic, racist, homophobic and xenophobic people in this country.

There is a great song by The Band Perry right now called “Comeback Kid.” As of late, I’ve made it my little anthem about me and my chronically ill, mentally ill spoonie world. But there is a line in there: “Looks like I’m breaking, but it’s just a bend. It’s not over yet, ‘cause in the end I’m a comeback kid.”

We may bend. We may bend so much it looks like breaking. For those of us with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, we might bend a little too much and actually dislocate something.

But we will not break.

We will not be silent.

We will rise… together.

We will choose to love… together.

We will combat hate and discrimination… together.

Our election is over. But that does not mean your story ends here.

I am a suicide attempt survivor, and right now, I think of the semi-colon.

Donald J. Trump has become President-elect of the United States of America. But that does not mean it is the end of the story. It is simply a spot for us all to stand up, loud and proud with that semi-colon story of a life that is not yet finished living, and say that this is not over yet. Our story is not over yet. It will never be over, until we all, as intended, have life, liberty, and happiness.

We will rise. Make no mistake about it. It might take four years, but I am encouraged. Millions of people right now are looking for ways to make things right.

Let’s start today. Let’s start right now — the campaign to make sure we all unite in times of adversity, in times of tragedy, and celebrate together in times of triumph.

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Let us be courageous. Let us continue. Let us rise from the ashes, better than before.

Let us love. Let us hope.

We will continue. We have no choice.

We are a mighty community, a group of warriors who don’t back down from their fights. We will fight oppression. We will fight discrimination.

And I believe we will win.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

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Photo by Michael Vadon

Originally published: November 9, 2016
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