Dear 2016: I Am So Tired

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By De Elizabeth

I just finished up dinner, made a cup of coffee, and quickly scrolled through Twitter when I stumbled upon this story in The New York Times. It is an account of two women who recall being groped and assaulted by Donald Trump, almost exactly as he described not being able to help himself in the 2005 Billy Bush tape. I read the whole thing, casually drinking coffee, and I felt numb.

Not shocked, not surprised, not aghast. Just numb. I was not surprised. Not shocked. I was unfazed, unemotional, calm. This is no longer surprising.

Earlier today, I read (and wrote about) stories of Donald Trump walking through the dressing room of Miss Teen USA contestants as they changed. I skimmed the contents of his interviews with Howard Stern, where he boasted about being able to get away with checking out naked contestants because he owned the pageant. In my apartment, Trump supporters blathered on CNN about “locker room talk” and the disloyalty of Paul Ryan; it is background noise at this point.

Over the weekend, I tweeted about the ’05 tapes and my tweet went semi-viral. I say “semi-viral” because honestly I don’t typically average a lot of retweets or likes, so anything over my normal engagement is “viral” for me. My mentions quickly filled up with plenty of horrific comments from Trump supporters, calling me a cunt, a bitch, a slut. The same thing happened again today when I tweeted out the story I wrote about Trump’s pageant behavior. I found myself blithely scrolling through my notifications, seeing these offensive words blur together in a jumble of 140-characters. They no longer sting or bother me because I’m too used to them; it’s part of being a woman writer on the Internet, right? We just get used to being called a cunt by a anonymous egg.

This morning, I read through this amazing submission by our wonderful writer Jillian. I nodded and said a few “Yas”‘s underneath my breath as I read, and quickly tweeted it out to our followers, awaiting the retweets with the comment, “THIS.”

But I have to tell you, I am exhausted. I am tired of all of it. I’m even tired of these compelling articles and these “on point” tweets, not because they aren’t well-written or important, but because we’re all saying the same things over and over and over and over and over. With every thing that happens, with every scandal or controversy, we take to our computers and our phones. We tweet the most powerful words we can think of in 140 characters, and we write the same messages each time:

We have to do better.

We cannot elect this man.

We need to be kinder.

We have to treat each other with respect.

We need to, we have to, we must.

We said it when Trump first came on the scene with his “Mexicans are sending their rapists,” speech. We said it when Trump proposed the Muslim ban. We said it when Brock Turner was sentenced to six months and only served three. We said it when the Olympics unearthed some massive sexism in our world. We said it when Trump insulted the Khan family. We said it when Melania was accused of plagiarizing. We said it when Trump defended his tweet about sexual assault in the military. We said it last week. We said it last month. We said it today. We said, we said, we said.

I am also tired of the emotionally taxing response that each of these situations require. Especially considering that so many of these stories, especially in the last week, are triggering to women. With each story, women have to defend ourselves. We have to say, “Yes this, THIS is rape culture. Don’t you see? Ugh, seriously? You still don’t see?” So then we have to explain what rape culture is. Again. We have to tell our stories over and over and over. We talk about being catcalled at 12, 10, 8 years old. We talk about unwanted attention. We talk about being told we were “asking” for it because of our clothes. We talk about being grabbed or kissed or touched when we didn’t want it. We have to explain, over and over, what consent actually is. And then when we are defended by men, it’s because we’re wives or daughters. So then we have to explain that we deserve respect not just as wives or daughters, but as humans.

Do you see why I am tired?

As a writer, I pride myself on always having at least some words to lend to a situation. When something big happens in the news, I’m already five steps ahead, trying to think of ways to write about it. Not just for clicks (okay sometimes for clicks) but also to connect. That’s all I want as a writer, for someone to read what I’ve written and say “Yes, me too.”

But I’m running out of words. I’m running out of ways to say this eloquently, running out of ways to properly question the trajectory of our society. I’m finding myself at a loss for words. Deep down, I am sad. I am scared. I am downright terrified. And I’m losing hope in the people of this country. There’s so much hate, so much anger, and so much ignorance. I’d say I don’t know how we got here – but I do know. We all got ourselves here. We’re all responsible, and therefore not exempt from the consequences. No one is exempt from the responsibility of this election, or from the bigger problems that lie underneath.

I am a woman living in 2016. And I am tired. I understand if you are too.


{featured image via unsplash}

17 thoughts on “Dear 2016: I Am So Tired

  1. Anthony Perez says:

    I’m not even a woman, but so damn true. I’m exhausted of the arguments I’m having. I have 2 Trump supporters in my own family and I’ve lost the will to fight. I’m all for having intelligent debate. That’s the very basis and nature of democracy. I try to keep an open mind to “the other side.”

    But there is no other side. This guy is deplorable. His supporters are deplorable. And his damn policy ideas are deplorable (and factually inaccurate). I simply have gotten to a point of “You gotta be kidding me?” when it comes to Trump. It’s depressing.

    Like

  2. timothyach says:

    Yes.

    As a guy, I’m tired of being viewed as someone who has no self-control — viewed as someone who inevitably just does horrible things.

    I do my best to treat every human being with respect and love, and I see it as a cop-out when I hear “___ is just what guys do.”

    No: ___ is not just “what guys do”: It’s what guys choose to do.

    And I’m tired of having talks with Trump supporters descend into arguments.

    As a Christian, I’m tired of seeing the obvious: That fear and anger, not love and empathy, are ruling the hearts of the people who (supposedly) believe that Jesus is lord. It’s obvious that Jesus is not these peoples’ lord — what Trump stands for is.

    Like

  3. Nipopea says:

    So sad, but so true. At this point I don’t even read the articles about Trump. When a friend starts to fill me in on the latest, I just shrug and nod. Of course he did something else. Of course there’s something new. But it isn’t new, is it. We knew who he was when all this started. Is there an way to be more outraged and horrified than we already were? And the explanations that follow, when the news and so many politicians seize on the wrong thing to be outraged about… It’s exhausting.

    Thank you for putting it into words.

    Like

  4. Redneck Lena says:

    When I saw the title “Dear 2016: I am so tired”, my initial thought is, “oh god so am I”! But tired in the yawn I need a nap kind of tired! Then I read it and oh man I too am tired of all the bullshit he says and behaviors he has displayed! I am in awe that people think this is a good choice! I am embarrassed and almost shocked that we as a country are dumb enough to even be considering him as a candidate much less the possibility that this could happen! I’m not just tired, I am exhausted and I just want to wake up and sigh that this was just a bad dream not an actual nightmare!

    Like

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