WARNING: This post has many FEELINGS. You may not agree with them. You have your own feelings. I respect that. These are mine.
A week before the election, my 2-year-old son Rhys swallowed a shard of plastic. We were at McDonald’s, indulging my husband’s love of their breakfast sandwiches, and I was doing too many things at once: trying to wipe crumbs off the table, get the 5-year-old situated with his pancakes, and the 2-year-old going on his yogurt parfait. So I handed out utensils and glanced up at the counter where Mike was waiting to pick up the rest of our food.
When I looked back, Rhys had a pained expression on his face, and his eyes were watering. He swallowed hard and cried a little bit. These were all indications that he hadn’t chewed properly and tried to swallow a too-large chunk of food. (I know the drill. He does this often. He devours everything life gives him in giant mouthfuls.) I sat down next to him, told him to chew his granola better, and helped him get a drink of milk. He smiled at me, and was fine. Then I picked up his spoon to help him get another bite, and saw this:
He had bitten clean through the spoon, and there was no trace of the missing shard. I had to assume it had been swallowed. I checked his mouth and throat. I spent the next hour keeping a close eye on him, looking for any indication of discomfort, or difficulty breathing. But there was nothing.
At home, I called the doctor. Wait and watch, she said. If it hasn’t passed through his system in two weeks, call back. So I’ve been combing through his shitty diapers ever since, using the disposable plastic forks that collect in our kitchen drawer from take-out orders past. But I found nothing.
In the days following the swallowing, I would think of that little shard at the most random moments: while stopped at a stoplight, while waiting for my computer to boot up at work, while in the shower. I’d imagine where it is in his little body. Roiling around in stomach acid? Lodged in his appendix? Or, most horrifying of all, stabbing his soft inner tissues, scraping its way through his insides and leaving destruction in its wake.
On the morning of Wednesday, November 9, 2016, I was forced to swallow my own shard. I call it my Trump Shard. It drifts through my body, prodding at different nerve centers. At any given moment, it may bring on despair and tears, anger and frustration, or disbelief and hopelessness. My son is fine. The doctor has cleared him, and he has been happy and hungry and healthy in the weeks since swallowing his shard. I am not fine.
To you Trump voters out there, especially my fellow women: I can understand voting for Donald Trump if you agree with his stances on issues and truly believe he will deliver on his promises and make your life and this country better. (That is why I voted for Hillary, after all.) I do not understand why his history of sexual assault and undisguised misogyny was not an immediate deal-breaker for you. It devastates me, honestly.
On the subject of deal-breakers, I could go on: his racist speech and actions against Muslims, Mexicans, African Americans, just to name a few; his acceptance of being endorsed by white supremacist organizations; his bullying Twitter rants; his denial of climate change; his dismissive stance on LGBTQ rights; his constant, consistent, blatant lying about things that are firmly on the record; his encouragement of hate and violence at his rallies; his complete lack of experience; his history of bankruptcy; his disrespect for science; his pandering to the lowest common denominator; his massive ego. I’ll stop there, because rants are not helpful to anyone but the ranter.
Yes, I was upset that Hillary lost. But I’m over that. I was, am, and continue to be shattered that I live in a country that elected Donald Trump to the presidency. That good people with their eyes open could not stop it, and that good people with their eyes closed let it happen.
My shard will not go away. It’s implanted now, and because I cannot get rid of it, I will use it as motivation. To raise two smart, respectful, kind boys. To put good things out into the world. To call out racism, bigotry, misogyny, violence, bullying, and hatred when confronted with it. To be the best person I know how to be, despite my own faults and blind spots. To take care of myself and my family.
Even though he is doing his damndest to cast a shadow over our country, I do not accept that Donald Trump has any say over how I live my life, no matter his job title. He has done nothing to deserve the job that the election placed on his unsteady shoulders, or to live up to the example that it demands. He may be the president that the electoral process put in office, but he is not my president.