As a Country, We Must Reframe Now

by Alison Chrun
red_buffon / iStock

I know that many of us are feeling like we are operating at a loss right now — loss for words, a loss of hope, a loss of optimism, a loss of faith.

I feel helpless, angry, wronged, hurt, sad, and I’m scared. I’m devastated. I’m not just scared for me. I am the least of my worries. I’m scared for my children, my children of color, and for all people of color. I’m devastated for my Muslim friends and for all Muslims in America. I’m terrified for every sexual assault victim who has to look at our leader as a flashback of a predator who violated them, abused them, or grabbed them by the pussy without consent. I’m fucking mortified.

It feels too soon to begin looking for the bright side. Is there one? It feels like we should all grieve for a while. The stages of grief can take time to move through. I’m not sure any of us will ever make it all the way through our grief process in the next four years, but we must try.

We may find ourselves stuck in anger for a while, living in denial or sadness and refusing to move another inch, but we have to give it our best shot. I know we need time to process what the fuck just happened to our country, to our children’s future, to our family’s future. We need more time. But we don’t have it because we have work to do.

Sure, we’d like to spend the day or the next term curled up under the sheets, away from social media, away from the I-told-you-sos, away from the hatred of the people of this country whom we thought were going to collectively carry each other through one of the most progressive moments in history. We’d like to slip away into a four-year-long nap.

But we can’t. We have to wake up. We, as a country, have to wake the fuck up right now.

We must move forward.

We must leave those who bask in hatred behind, and we must rise in strength and love. We must find our people and unite — as mothers, professionals, fighters, warriors, survivors, nurturers, and educators — we must move forward.

This presidency is traumatic for many, especially those in marginalized and minority communities, so we must reach out. We must become allies to our Muslim Americans. We must put our boots on the ground and continue to shout “Black Lives Matter” and “Native Lives Matter” and “Our body, our choice.” We must donate to these causes if we are able. We must watch out for one another, listen to one another, and keep each other safe. We must stop the regression by modeling progressive behavior for our children.

I realize this sounds great in theory. I know it’s easier said than done. I wish I could wave a magic wand and create a collective understanding, but unfortunately, I’m not a magician. I’m just a therapist. In therapy, there’s a term called “reframing.” It allows us the ability to look at a situation or circumstance initially perceived as negative, and observe it from either a different angle or perspective. We look for the angle in which we are able to gain the most positive results. It’s not always easy, it can take practice, and it can take some time, but it’s possible.

I’m choosing to reframe now. I’m choosing because I feel I have no other choice. And I challenge you to do the same. I refuse to perpetuate the hate and negativity I’m seeing around me. I’ve got to continue to do right by my children. Where my new leader lacks, I’ve got to pick up the slack, to educate and nurture their soft hearts to stay soft enough to accept and love, but strong enough to cope with this cruel world, because it can be so fucking cruel.

But since I’m reframing, I’ll walk to the other side of that statement and also announce how fucking beautiful this world is, and how good people can be, because that’s true too.

I must find the strengths in the people around me. I must lean on them. We must lean on each other. We must reframe.

This is the truest test of our time. Where do we go from here? We keep moving forward and going up. We continue to spread love. I don’t care who is running this country. I refuse to be hardened by him. I refuse to believe there isn’t good in this world. We must rise and get through this collectively. There are some hard lessons to be learned here, but we must stay hopeful.

I know it feels too soon. I know it’s hard. But we can do this, together.

We must do this together. Reframe.