“You got out while you could.”

When the rumours started swirling that he was going to run for president, I laughed. That’s ridiculous. He’s a piece of shit, there’s no way he’d make it.

And when he officially announced his intent, I still laughed. Lots of celebrities have tried to run, but they got knocked out in just a few weeks. I laughed, but I was slightly terrified at the momentum he appeared to be gaining. People were taking him seriously. What?

And then, he won the candidacy. He had more momentum. He had an opponent who people hated. He had an opponent whose party was split between her and Bernie Sanders. And people loved him. They didn’t care that he was mocking disabled people. That he wanted to register and deport Muslims. That he wanted to build a wall to keep out Mexicans. That he wants to wipe Syria off the map. That Putin is all “I’m with him.” That he bragged about not paying his taxes. That businesses in his name failed and he denied ever having being a part of them. That he bragged about objectifying and assaulting women. He preached about tearing down all the progressive measures that America is making, swore vengeance against ISIS, and it didn’t matter. They still loved him.

I saw his name on the ballot as I voted for Hillary. I thought, this is all a joke. There’s no way such a horrible man would be elected. There’s no way he’s actually on the ballot. But there he was.

There’s no way America is that reckless.

I woke up with the same anxiety stomach pains and hot/cold flashes I’ve had all week. All morning, I was glued to my phone, refreshing the results every time my boss looked away. I don’t live in America anymore, but the election was all my coworkers wanted to talk about. Election coverage has been on the news all year, but today it was on all the channels. It started out promising – she was in the lead, narrowly, but in the lead. It felt good. The official numbers started coming in around 3:00. And by 4:00 I had to put my phone down and get up and walk away from my desk. I couldn’t focus on anything. He was leading, and it steadily grew. And then it was basically over.

When I got home from work, he was still leading. I was destroyed, but still holding out hope that maybe some miracle would come through and give her the 35 electoral college votes she needed. I was trying to get a list done for my Thanksgiving shop but once again, kept checking my phone every few minutes. I decided to go out, in a mild thunder storm, to get bacon and eggs and sausage and hash browns for dinner 1) because it was time to eat my feelings and b) I couldn’t sit still anymore. And there, in the frozen food section, while wearing sweat pants and rubber rain boots, I found out that Trump had won. Clinton conceded and he won with 276 electoral college votes. He won. I cried.

I’m still in a state of disbelief. Like, I can’t believe this has actually happened. I am so disappointed, bewildered, and outraged. Out of all the elections I’ve been able to vote in, none have felt so pivotal, so important. And I feel like we failed. We have taken a man who embodies ALL the terrible qualities of America – bigoted, impulsive, angry, rapey, bad hair – and put him in the highest position of power. Worse than that, we’ve given him a gaggle of like-minded hate bags to support him in the Congress and the Senate. What the fuck! Did this actually happen? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?

I’ve heard quite a few times today that I’m lucky I left when I could. But it doesn’t matter. There or here, I’m still an American. I didn’t vote for him, but this man is now my president. And I’m still subject to him. As much as I am loathe to say it, he represents my country. I’m already judged when I tell people I’m American. But now I feel like I have to say, “I’m American… but I didn’t vote for Trump!” The words “President Trump” are going to follow me like a fart cloud – crop dusting no matter where I am. I will be judged by my government. One that I didn’t choose. And that’s haunting.

I’m really scared for the next four years. I’m scared for everyone – women, LGBT, minorities, immigrants, small business owners, disabled, terminally ill, people of other countries that no doubt will be invaded by Trump’s America – everyone. I’m just scared. And I keep telling myself that if we survived 8 years of George W. Bush, then we can survive Trump. I hope we can just ban together to prevent as much sliding ass-backwards into a cave of homo/xenophobia and tax breaks for the 1%.

Today was disappointing. I feel like that one time my manager quit and was replaced by an arrogant, misogynist jackass with no experience who delegated all his work to us because he refused to learn it, and I was like, “Well, this sucks. Just gotta do the best we can.” Eventually, things evened out and he gave a promotion*. So maybe this won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened.

Or maybe it will. I guess time will tell.

But really, I hope America learned a valuable lesson – when we say “a vote for neither is a vote for either”, it’s because it’s fucking true. Thanks heaps.

 

*wait a minute – it was a promotion without a pay raise. Man, this might be the worst thing that’s ever happened.

A Year in Review

September 3rd brought about my one year anniversary of living in Sydney with Joel. We celebrated with Netflix, champagne and sweatpants.

One of Joel's customers gave a bottle of bubbly. Free champagne is the best champagne.
One of Joel’s customers gave a bottle of bubbly. Free champagne is the best champagne.

Like every milestone that’s passed since I’ve been here, it’s still a little hard to believe that it happened. Like, how did all the holidays pass, all the seasons change, and all the shit that’s happened happen when I only got here like, 2 days ago?

Moving overseas was a huge process, and in the excitement of it all, I underestimated every step of it. I knew I’d miss my friends and family, but I didn’t know how devastatingly I’d miss them or how much I’d kick myself for not calling them every day when I was back in the States. I knew living in a new country would be an adjustment, but I didn’t account for the little things, for the crushing despair I’d feel from not being able to do a walk around Target when I’m feeling down, or for having to stand in the grocery store Googling “what is this ingredient called in Australia” or having a question about dinner and not being able to call my mom for advice. It didn’t occur to me that I’d feel like such an outsider in a first world, english speaking country, and I didn’t think about how feeling like an outsider would make it harder to make friends. I didn’t know how helpless and frustrated and angry I would feel when I’d hear about being able to do nothing about problems back home. I didn’t think about how scary it would be to count every dollar in my budget because I can’t just borrow $50 from my parents anymore. And I really didn’t think about the “hey, only I can talk shit about my family, ok?” reaction I’d get when I’d hear shit talk about the States and American policies – that was the most surprising.

So this year has been the biggest adjustment I’ve ever gone through. But, I can’t think of an adjustment that has been more important or more necessary. And for all the internal challenges I’ve faced this year, my support system has been incredible. I’ve met some great people through Joel and through work, and my parents been there for me, offering me endless support and turning a blind eye to me buying American TV shows through their Amazon prime (they also gave me a gift of temporarily taking over my student loan payments, which I’ll never be able to thank them enough for). My friends have never been more than a message or an impromptu Skype session away, which I’ve never been more thankful for.

I’ve also had a constant source of support and friendship and general badassery here, and it was from one aspect of my life that I knew I never had to worry about: Joel. For the first time ever, I feel like I have a partner. I have someone who isn’t just invested in me, but who is invested in us. I hadn’t realized it before I moved here, but I had always had him as my number one priority in life. Since being in Sydney, though, our life together has become the number one priority. And it’s been an eye opening experience. It’s our money and our problems and our home and our holidays and our life. He’s helped me to be more conscious of my spending, to be healthier, to be more patient and supportive of myself, and to let go of situations I have no control over. Of course, we’ve had our stumbling moments, but now, it feels effortless. I wake up every morning feel grateful that the universe knocked us together.

A whole year. Damn. It took a lot longer than I expected, but I feel like Sydney is becoming my home. I’ve met some great people, I know how to get around town more, I know what to expect from the seasons (i.e. how to dress and live during summer when you don’t have air conditioning), I have cheat sheets for the metric system, I’m determined to learn how to drive, I’m going to hit the beach way more, and life here doesn’t feel so lonely anymore. At the end of every month, I learn a few more lessons about living here. My visa is finally finished and turned in, and I’m employed full time. Basically, I finally feel ready to worry less and do more.

Time flies. At jet speeds. And it feels like so much has happened, even if it doesn’t look like it. Because all the things that happened were little. I realized the value of a dollar. The value of a phone call or even a text message to loved ones. The values of patience and consideration. The value of putting myself in someone else’s shoes. The value of eating healthier and moving more. The value in dropping bad habits. The value of letting go and forgiving. All these little realizations all added up to something huge: I finally grew up.

Happy anniversary, Sydney. Thanks for everything. xo

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