This morning the 45th President of the United States tweeted from his personal account, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..They have been in our country for many years through no fault of their own – brought in by parents at young age. Plus BIG border security” It was almost enough to make me vomit. Almost immediately my stomach burned, my chest tightened and my eyes welled. Seriously? After two years of campaign promises threatening to deport my loved ones, on September 5th, the President through the US Attorney General rescinded DACA the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA remained one of the only protections my friends and family had to work and prosper with dignity and respect within the U.S. The trauma of such an event can cause depression and illness in some of the strongest individuals. And here he is tweeting or “gaslighting” in such a careless manner as if the edict passed down last week never happened. This is the third time he has tweeted out since Sept 5th with messages so contradictory to the action on that Tuesday that many of us are left to wonder whether our President functions with a mental instability or his tweets and actions function to create instability and insecurity within us, within our communities. Within moments I had to put down the handheld and remind myself to not allow the stress to overwhelm me. Almost instantly, I began to fight the guilt rushing over me. The voice in my head, the one reminding me that my friends and my family members cannot logout of who they are, where they were born, who they love, how they worship or how much melanin they have, forced me to re-open my computer and get to work.
Sometimes getting to work comes with personal or physical obstacles. I have Dercum’s Disease or Adiposis Dolorosa which often wreaks havoc in my body. I grow tumors within my fat tissue that cause debilitating pain, neuro deficits, heart palpitations, blurred vision, hearing deficits and many other symptoms. Some days I am unable to do more than lay in bed let alone work on the computer. Other days I find energy to don my camelback pack and Lyft it downtown to join a rally. Every day, I have to weigh out whether the emotional or mental toll will be worth the physical consequences. Stress almost always guarantees inflammation and with that I am guaranteed tumor growth and more pain. How do I balance my personal survival and continue to show up for my LGBTQ family and the attacks on their rights to live and love on their terms, or my black family and the sustained inequities they face generation after generation, or my immigrant family of Dreamers fighting for a chance to exist with dignity in the same sunlight I am guaranteed each day for just being born white in America. I have found that saying I am an ally to any cause is not enough. Sharing a Facebook post or ReTweeting an article just isn’t enough. But, how does a person with disabilities show up for climate change, water protection, Muslim bans, racial injustice, mass incarceration, saving public education, healthcare reform, Trans rights, sustainable wages, Immigrant rights, human rights and more without diminishing our own health? Through a sustainable resistance, that’s how.
Today’s tweets from our President did not spark these questions as I have been trying to juggle all of the above while navigating the healthcare system with a rare disease for over 15 years now. However, today’s tweets started a train of thought that led me to “Solidarity” the unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
How do I practice solidarity with each of these social groups in both my personal and outer spheres without losing my own identity and without worsening my health? I am positive it will at the very least need careful thought, creative expression, incremental lifestyle changes, communication and scheduled participation. And I am ready for the job.
Today because our Sitting President chose to “Gaslight” us on the DACA issue I started this blog. Through it I will share how I use what the fates gave me to actively participate in social change. I will share my garden, my kitchen, my crafts, my words, my rants, my angst and my love for family and friends to sustain an existence that balances both social consciousness and health in an ever changing world of injustices. I hope I can deliver the relevance and connectedness needed to make the changes in the world so many of us fight for. I hope through solidarity and over time we grow change.
However, for today I will have to settle with calling my elected officials in DC and ask them to support legislation that will protect the DREAMers devastated by the rescinding of DACA because no matter how much the stress of losing my family to these horrific and barbaric ideas of deporting my loved ones affects me I am not the young adult being threatened with deportation. And I hope you agree with me that it is a crime against humanity to have the Leader of the Free World taking them on a proverbial Tweet Coaster that blindsides them on a daily basis. Hmmm, maybe I will throw in a request they do a wellness check on our President because his inconsistency in his hate for my Mexican family is troubling and worrisome. You should call too. Here is the number to the congressional switchboard in Washington D.C. (202) 225-3121 Press or say 1 for Senate. Press or say 2 for The House of Representatives.
In Strength and Solidarity!