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Essay

Today

by Grace Bonney

This morning I woke up feeling numb. I came downstairs, made coffee, fed our pets and tried to step away from the news and unplug. But I found myself sitting here, in front of my computer, writing.

I write because it makes me feel connected to other people. And connecting with other people gives me hope. Hope that we’ll hear and understand each other. Hope that we’ll find a way to ensure everyone feels welcomed and valued. But as a gay person, and a person who values black and brown lives and who cares about women and our rights to our own bodies, it’s difficult to feel that hope today.

Everyone needs time and space to feel things and process emotions in a way that works best for them. And today, I need that space to be quiet. I need room to listen, to try to understand and to try to make a plan for how to move forward and support the people around me who feel unsafe and unprotected in their homes.

I know this site is a respite from stress and world issues for so many of you, and I’m truly sorry that we can’t be that today. Tomorrow we’ll resume normally scheduled content, but today I am overwhelmed with the need to be silent. To listen to the people around me and to hold their fears, their sadness, their frustration and their concerns in a way that creates connection and understanding.

I have no desire to hold and feel only the concerns and voices of people who share my points of view. I have spent the last two years living in a rural area that has fundamentally different points of view on many issues that are important to me. The adjustment was difficult, but in this moment, I am reminded yet again that my job is to reflect and tell the stories of everyone in our community.

I do not and will not support stories that seek to promote racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, or any other viewpoint that represses people based on their identity. But I am committed to doing good work here- work that includes being dedicated to broadening and expanding our platform to make room for people from different backgrounds and with different points of view. I believe that when we understand each other, progress happens. And while it’s very difficult for me to feel that this morning, I believe that the people I’ve been connecting with on the road for the past two months and the people I’ve gotten to know here online over the past 12 years have good in them, and good work to be done.

I understand anyone who feels overcome with fear, anger, anxiety or disappointment today. I feel all of those feelings today, too. I wish there was an image, a quote or some perfect turn of phrase I could share to make us all feel a little bit better, but there isn’t one. I think today is a day for connecting with our communities, hearing each other’s concerns and fears and trying to find a way to make a plan to move forward supporting each other and ensuring our safety and rights. I do not pretend to know the right way to do that, but I promise that I will always here to listen, to support and to do the work. –Grace

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Comments

  • Again, as Grace says, let’s run toward what scares us. Let’s get informed. Why did Trump win? It’s not so simple. If we believe that everyone who voted for him does not care about “us” we can not move forward. Listen to Terry Gross from Nov 9. Listen to a podcast called “Hey Liberal Listen Up”. There is so much opportunity here to make what seems like a step backwards make us better. What can we do? I mentioned this before but the NRA has a stronghold on our Congress. We can not blame Trump for that, only ourselves. What can we do to make our representatives listen to us instead of the gun lobby or the insurance lobby? What can we do to get big money out of politics. The twp party system is not good. Look what it gave us. Two candidates that were the most disliked candidates ever. So people had two rotten choices, what are they going to do? If we all did something today, something concrete – make an appointment with your congress people, join a group working to cut campaign spending, we could do so much better.

    • K

      I agree, it’s not all so simple. I’m with you on the part about moving forward together and working with local elected officials. I plan to make that a huge part of my personal life going forward. However, I don’t believe we all share the opinion that we had two “rotten” candidates.

      Just this morning I’ve been going line by line through the Republican Party’s agenda for 2016 and I’m terrified at the thought that my basic human rights as an LGBTQ person could be removed very soon. Reversing the marriage equality act, reversing gay adoption rights and supporting amendments that make it legal to restrict housing and work based on sexual orientation are all openly on the table now.

      I agree that there has been a LOT of liberal complacency. There are no two ways around that. But there are a lot of people whose basic human rights and safety are now being considered less important, and proudly so, in a way that makes a lot of us feel paralyzed with fear. But I agree, none of us can afford to be paralyzed right now. It’s time to act, stand up, speak up and work together to ensure that we don’t actually take these steps backward and let any agenda that advances racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or hatred succeed.

      Grace

      • Hello Grace, I am a huge fan of your work and blog. I am not from America, but reading these comments it is apparent that so many people have been hurt by the policies and decisions of past governments and presidents and so many are fearful of policies that may possibly be implemented by the Trump administration. Those who have governed your country have caused great angst to your society and those who will be given the privilege of governing from January 2017, I hope and pray, will listen and learn from past mistakes and put policies in place that begin to mend and give individuals hope. And, I agree, that it starts with each person (no matter which nation you call home) treating each other with the respect and dignity that we ourselves like to be treated with. And, I understand, that this is hard to do when one is on the receiving end of pain and anguish. I do think it’s important, as K said, to become involved in our local communities and work on improving issues unique to them. And, I’m guilty of not becoming involved in mine and working to improve it – something I am going to change.

  • I just sat watching the TV in shock for ages, I kept thinking maybe if I looked hard enough things would change. I can’t believe he got in. I can’t believe Brexit happened. I am very worried about the state of the World and how we live in it with other people.

  • Grace, I understand your words and feel the same way. We are still united, citizens of the US, even though there is a chasm between us. We must find a way to work together, to love together, to be a light to each other, even among the dissention. It is going to be a challenging journey for me to strive for the high road and to be a compassionate example in the face of hate, ignorance and bullying. Thanks for writing so eloquently what we all are feeling.

  • Nice thoughts, but I’m hanging on to my anger. I’m letting it wash over me, letting it bring the pile up into my throat, letting it make me cry and scream, because I remember!
    I was there in 1978 when hatred and fear murdered Milk and Moscone. I was there for the marches when that hatred and fear gave Dan White a slap on the wrist.
    I was there when Aids started to eat up the community I loved and worked so hard for and the President couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge it’s very existence, so I protested and marched.
    I was there when my bi-racial son was treated differently than my white daughter. When he suffered bias and racism and couldn’t lead the life that his white sister could.
    I was there when people wouldn’t take me seriously in business because I was a woman,
    So, hell no, I won’t let go of it. Because once again we are faced with the fear and hatred of everything I hold dear. I will allow that anger to motivate me to once again get out and march and protest and put my money where my mouth is to save the freedoms for my children, my friends, members of my community and my grandchildren.

  • Thank you so much Grace. Your remarks provided great comfort and by offering them in this forum, you exemplified that the gravity of the event which just occurred has the power to impact the very ability to enjoy the simple things we love. This demonstrated appreciation outside of the political arena is a timely reminder of the goodness that lies in others never met, and reassures me that there are great things yet to come.

  • I needed to hear this, thank you. We are mourning now. But in time we will have to all come together to fight and protect our cherished rights, the environment, our water, our food and communities. And it will be hard.

  • Grace, I am so happy and grateful to have DesignSponge to turn to during this stressful and emotional week. One other thing I am doing to move forward right now is writing a thank you letter to HRC for all that she has done. Thank you letters can be sent to :

    Hillary Clinton
    Post Office Box 5256
    New York, NY 10185-5256.

    I am even looking back at some old DS posts for inspiration on DIY lettering and card making :)

  • I share your sentiments, and am using today to figure out my best way to move forward and work to protect our basic human rights. The divisiveness of this is more than I know how to handle, and having family members who support Trump is complex. (Being conservative is one thing, but to stand by this man boggles the mind) Thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you so for those thoughtful words. I don’t want anyone to become complacent over this. I’m so afraid that this will all die down and we’ll just accept what is. In my sadness and disbelief, I’m searching so deeply for something to hold on to, something to DO to help all of us.
    We as women must continue to unite and support each other.

  • I’m ashamed of myself. I’ve talked a good game but not played. Voting is only the first step. Writing my council members, my state and federal representatives is not even a step. It is time to involve myself with others who are like-minded and organize, to put time and effort in each week. I’m of the half generation after Secretary Clinton. At eleven a classmate’s father, Dr. King, was shot for his words. We are still divided by superficial characteristics – ethnicity, religion, culture – keeping us from recognizing our common humanity. There is no “other,” even when it is one with radically different opinions from our own. We need to see the good in all and draw it out, sometimes drag it out, never violently. I donated to Planned Parenthood yesterday, and to our long-shot candidate in a run-off for the Senate. I plan to volunteer for his campaign and work to make him a sure shot. I realize this election won’t effect me to the extent it will others economically, but all are my family, even when they’re bone-headed and not using rational, factual thinking, acting on feelings and gut. Heart and mind combined; we’re awake. I see young feminists again, art activists, LGBT rights organizers, Native American, AA, and more and more and more jumping up and working! We will change the nation, and the world this time. Please. This old cancer/car maiming/flood surviving woman will be marching on her one foot, fighting back with facts and heart. Peace, child, it will happen, but only with action.

  • I have a tremendous amount of respect for this post. I was surprised when many lifestyle/design blogs I read continued on as if Wednesday were a normal day when you might be interested in nail art or baking. D*S had the balls to recognize that the things we all value within these blogs–creativity, beauty, people who think/act/look/behave in the way that make them feel like their truest selves–now feel in question. It is Thursday evening and now that I have cried on my knees more than once I am able to see what is good about this week: I am proud of my life and my values and the people with whom I choose to be surrounded. I am committed to giving more money this year to non-profits I believe than I ever have. I will do a better job of keeping in touch with old friends. I will appreciate the things in life that bring joy and beauty into my life. That includes this blog. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everyone.

    • When DS regularly features artists and designers of all walks of life and interests, it simply feels normal. It’s good; it’s interesting; and hearing the artists discuss their work, be it political or aesthetic or silly or macabre or what have you is, always, an invaluable discussion.

      What isn’t interesting is Grace’s incessant need to point out what a champion she is. The value of all these varied artists are overshadowed by, what seems to be, Grace’s desire for a pat on the back.

      I haven’t been on this site since after the Pulse shootings, when she wrote a post about being offended by another blogger saying he couldn’t wait to “murder a hamburger.” Grace’s post was so absurd, I read it several times to verify that it was real. I am a writer. Words are my freedom. I was born speaking in sarcastic hyperbole. No one tells me what I can and can’t say. A design blog will not police my language. Trump will not police my language. No one. I’m an agender person who grew up and still lives in Orlando. I drive by Pulse every few weeks as I go about my life and errands.. A week after the shootings, as my husband and I were taking a drive–it was June, at this time, and Orlando was built in the middle of a swamp, mind you–I said, “I would skin someone alive for an iced tea.” We pulled over and got an iced tea. Everyone survived.

      I will not return to this website, which is a shame because, when the content is simply allowed to be content, it is often beautiful and enriching. I’m a far-left progressive. I’m angry about the election. But I’m not here for Grace’s performance of her liberalism.

      • RM

        I’m sorry you won’t be returning to discuss this. I hope you will be, because I’d like to talk to you about the way these posts have made you feel. I hear that you feel policed or restricted and that is not my intention, but I own any effects of anything I (or anyone else) posts here and would truly be happy to talk, online or off, about your feelings.

        When you said, “No one tells me what I can and can’t say”, I hear you. But I feel strongly that voicing an opinion is not the same as telling someone what they can and cannot say. In the same way that you are free to tell me that my language makes you feel restricted, I am free to communicate what words, language and boundaries make me feel safe.

        My desire is to always hear, understand and try to find a middle ground between two different points of view. I hope you’ll be open to discussing yours further with me in some way.

        Grace

  • Grace,

    Thank you so much for posting this article. It truly warmed my heart to read. My name is Manuel, and I mainly grew up in Hyde Park Chicago for the majority of my life which is essentially a very educated college town within the city. The wee hours of Wednesday I became nostalgic thinking of Bret Harte Elementary and the other children who attended. I also looked at a class photo on Facebook that was one decade before I attended the school. In our classes were people from every culture. All I could do is smile and feel so fortunate as I realized the first time I had hate thrown my way was in my college town in DeKalb as I rode a bike.

    I grew up in very complicated situations. Sounds strange, “situations,” which is not as strange as many would think but so often every family that has what is out of the “norm” just don’t talk about it. Because somewhere along people lives they had been brainwashed to believe a home should be Leave It to Beaver, The Brady Bunch, etc. Anything without a humorous outcome or twist is shameful. The idea of shame I parked away from in my mid-30’s and have never looked back.

    My mother is from Madrid Spain and when you see her ethnicity or her paperwork she is listed as Caucasian. My father U.S.A. born of Native American descent, African American Descent, and Irish Descent. Listed on his death certificate and birth certificate as Afro-American. On my birth certificate, my father was listed as colored. My parents met while my father served his time in U.S. Air Force in Madrid. After my father’s service to his country from the United States writing letters to my grandfather manage to convince my grandfather because he had served his country it afforded him opportunities and had no reason to fear for his daughter. Our country divides us by the shade of our pigment and uses ethnicity as a guise. So at age four my parent’s marriage was illegal in 20 something states and could be arrested in those states. I learned this in high school thanks to the truly well-rounded education we were so fortunate to get in Chicago Public Schools. OK, let’s be honest a Chicago Public School within the “jurisdiction” of the University of Chicago.

    At the age of 12, I would have to find out my father was gay, another story. So here you have me, twelve, already knew I was gay (different), during the Black Power movement some of my fathers side of the family got a little into the rhetoric, and all I could think was my mother is white, and she doesn’t hate anyone, my grandparents, aunts, uncle, and family in Spain are white, and they don’t hate anyone. I chose to shut them out in my head. I refused to be part of that.

    In the late 80’s and through the 90’s I held the hand of friends who were dying senselessly of Aids which in the 80’s had no name. But was known as the gay disease. Gay people organized and protested in numbers. We all came together and said we are no different and we will not be ignored. And yet look today at the complacency in the gay community as well. I can say this especially after a good friend organized a night our for dinner with eight of us. During the conversation, one of them said I am voting for the very first time. This is a 54-year-old man. I went in for the kill with my line of questioning. Bottom line, his white New Yorkers privilege was no longer working for him and yet he had no intelligent defense of what he was saying.

    Today, I am married to the most wonderful man, and I saw him become unraveled at the results of the election. I attacked the complacency of America and people’s attitudes and would always rap my point up with it is time to be diligent, watch every piece of legislations, vote out all the other bad politicians we can, and protest in numbers letting all the politicians know we are watching. While everyone is crying foul and no fair at least this is not the 60’s where evidence had a way of disappearing. Today we have cameras on our phone which we can upload video as we shot to social media. We have more tools than ever to affect change.

    People need to stop bitching already and make a plan. And for those who crashed the Canadian Immigration website on Tuesday about 11 PM looking to flee your country, I say to you, you are cowards and have no backbone. Fear is exactly why this country is in this shape because you will fight for nothing. You want easy. Wake up, look at the rest of the world and maybe what you will discover you took what you thought you had for granted.

    What we need now is to support each other and make change happen through actions, not just words.

  • First time poster–thank you for writing this! So many blogs didn’t even acknowledge that half the voting country voted for someone who is putting the safety of many Americans at risk. These issues need to be human rights issues, not partisan issues. This site promotes art and creativity, and the world needs creative minds to envision a more tolerant world. Above, RM calls this post a “performance.” As a writer who thinks language is revolutionary, I hope that if this post was “performance” that we all start performing A LOT. Thank you again, Grace.

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