Sunday, April 16, 2017

DC Post: Battling Negativity

Lately I have, unfortunately, had to distance myself from parts of the Donor Conceived community. It is a sad separation but I feel that it is also a necessary one. I am relatively new to the process of opening up about myself, my struggles, my successes, and my identity. It is only in the last year or two that I have truly become vocal about my identity as donor conceived and I am still not the best at describing what that means, or even understanding it fully myself.

Perhaps, that being said, I am simply uninformed about the reality of donor conceived life, maybe I should be more bitter or more angry or more negative toward the industry that led to my conception and my birth. Let me backtrack.

I have been assailed of late by a slew of negative articles and comments about the donor conceived industry and same sex couples who use reproductive technology (such as gamete "donation" or surrogacy) in particular. While I realize that there are great improvements to be made and changes that need to be made for the well-being of the DC (access to genetic connections being the least of them), I have become increasingly distanced by the open hostility displayed toward parents. Maybe these parents could have used a different method for fertility (although unless the children are born through "normal" sex and raised by at least one of their biological parents someone is going to complain). Maybe I am being too lenient in understanding the parents and it is tempering my "righteous anger".

Who knows.

The end result is the same: I am not bitter or angry about being donor conceived. Am I upset that I do not know half of my biology? Yes. Do I wish that the laws were not so very convoluted and backwards, essentially giving those donor conceived fewer rights than normally conceived and (in some places) adopted individuals? Yes. Will I work to change those laws? Yes. But I will not rear up against parents who have chosen donor conception with righteous anger because it solves nothing. Instead I will work to educate these parents on the importance of honesty and the value of biology. I will encourage them to accept and foster their child's emotions about their identities so that, perhaps, the next generation of donor conceived have the answers that previous generations have been denied.

I am not saying that there are not times when I wish I had more answers or that I am always as happy as can be with my situation but I am who I am, I cannot change that and all anger would do is make me bitter and lessen my effectiveness in making change. I will fight with determination and passion to change the process of donor conception and surrogacy for the next generation but I will do so without anger at the parents who have given birth to us. I will condemn the corrupt policies and processes that have led to the system we have without alienating those who decided to use that system in ignorance. I can still feel betrayed by my ignorance of my biology without letting it define my life or turn me against who I am, because even if I am ignorant of it, it is a part of me and I refuse to betray myself.

I will fight my battles with kindness and understanding, battling myself as much as the system, to enact true change. It is impossible to stop the process that has begun but we can change how it proceeds if we are just willing to rise above ourselves and look to best future for all involved because stubborn anger and negativity can only get us so far. True positive change can only come from compromise and understanding.

*I previously had an image from We are Donor Conceived here but it was brought to my attention that it was sending the wrong impression about the community (which I genuinely love) so I decided to change it.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Welcome to the New World Order

Anyone who knows me (or has read my previous post about AoS) knows that I love Marvel. Absolutely LOVE it. It is one of the few genres of anything that I follow consistently in every medium (comics, movies, television shows, webcasts, fan videos, etc). When Captain America: the Winter soldier came out I saw it 3 times on the opening weekend and I took detailed notes the second time (this was back before I had a blog). Yes, this makes me a nerd. Who cares? 

With this fair warning given, I am in love with this season of AoS. Insanely in love with it. I was afraid that it was going to be odd with multiple "main plots" but it works. Besides, those were simply overt sub-plots while the main plot chugged along in the background. Also, AoS is known for having multiple plots going on at the same time (does no one remember season 2?). I will admit that this season has been a lot more convoluted than the past but the consistent themes have made it flow together beautifully, twisting into a complex creation with the main cast at its center.

Two of the themes that we've seen develop throughout the season have been the development and progression of Aida, the now evil AI, and the growing intolerance towards and fear of the Inhumans (and Daisy's attempts at a self sacrificial redemption but we are hopefully past that now). These two warring themes have finally come to a head (as of 2 weeks ago, officially) through the Framework where everything is muted and dark and Nazis rule the world. Alright, so it isn't really Nazis, it is Hydra, but the comparison was intended (especially since Hydra came from Nazis, as Jemma so beautifully reminded us). And behind the Nazis is Aida (now going by Ophelia or Madame Hydra). She was built to learn how to be human and she had a good teacher... the Russian Neo-Nazi Watchdog, the Superior (and yes, the italics do indicate sarcasm). Anyway, the Framework is a dark and twisted "what if" world where Shield fell and Hydra is in charge; some key differences are that there are no smartphones, drones watch our every move, government check points are usual to check IDs, they test for Inhuman DNA, and then they round up all potential Inhumans and experiment on them to death. 

Yes, I feel justified in calling them Nazis. As my brother pointed out, that is what they were going for, the just replace the Inhumans with the Jews and there isn't even a stretch for the imagination. (Oh, and all you people claiming that it is the "left wing agenda" portraying anti-right sentiment, maybe take a look at what they are actually portraying and ask yourself why you see a connection between the two.)

My fear is what could come after (and, yes, I am too emotionally involved in these characters; bite me). Once they get out of the Framework so many things could happen. Either Daisy and Jemma will find a way out and then track down everyone else and then bust them out (with Daisy getting another massive showdown with the now android Superior) or everyone disconnects at the same time, rendezvous and then kick some serious android butt. Either way, good guys will win (with damages and sorrows and so forth as with every season but the first). The characters getting out of the framework isn't a concern, the concern is what will they remember? Obviously Daisy and Jemma will remember everything (good thing they had Daisy hopped upon Hive to practice forgiveness when teammates go to the dark side) but what will the others remember? Will their lives in the Framework be like a bad dream that they eventually forget or will it feel as real to them in the real world as it does inside? And if it does feel just as real, how damaged will they be? (Heck, even if it's all just a dream, dreams can really mess up your mind sometimes.)

If it is remembered as real, think of all the guilt and regret and anger and sorrow these people are going to feel. If Daisy's depression and guilt was bad, wait until we have every member of the main cast going through a redemption period! Phil wouldn't be too bad, kind of nerdy jokes, the crazy guy who makes soap and lives alone. but he was an innocuous teacher (brainwashing teenagers but still, innocuous). Mack is going to remember this life that he never had with his daughter and experience it as if it were real and will have the guilt of his betrayal of Daisy (although he did forgive her for nearly killing him so they will probably be fine). Mace... meh. He could easily become the person that he is in the Framework (minus the whole Inhuman bit). May's result of righting her greatest regret led to Hydra taking control. She will still feel those deaths, she will feel the horrors that she acted against people. She will feel her betrayal of Daisy (the girl that she could save, the girl that is practically her daughter). On the other hand, it might help her to stop beating herself up over Bahrain. Then we have Fitz. I don't even know where to begin with Fitz. He is the Eduard Wirths to Aida's Hitler. His regret was his father leaving (I believe) and so in this new world he didn't. Instead the man transformed our sweet innocent little Fitz into a psychopath, perverting his genius and destroying his innocent outlook (or maybe that was the freaking NAZI regime). If Fitz remembers these things (especially if the torture of Daisy actually happens) I am not sure hot he will survive. We were JUST getting our happier Fitz back, why must he be destroyed again?

And since where there is Fitz there is Simmons, how will Simmons look at Fitz now? Not only has she had to brutally murder the android version of the love of her life after he stabbed her and hit her over the head with a paint can (and you just know that any mention of marriage will forever be tainted by that incident), she has also just witnessed Fitz turned into a soulless Nazi who murdered an innocent woman (not to mention the fact that he is about to torture Daisy; even if it isn't real its not going to be easy to get over). Will my lovely Fitzsimmons ever get a break? Can't they just be happy for once?

I can't wait for the rest of this season, each episode keeps me on the edge of my seat and is an emotional roller coaster (I'm the sort of fan you want, the overly invested emotional kind) that has me squealing in a way that explains why I'm still single (only slightly joking there, I am sure that there are other reasons). On that same note, I am very happy that I am not trying to watch all these episodes at once for the first time because I would probably end up in hospital (and not just for work).

Unrelated, and maybe this is just because I take people's vitals so often, I am REALLY curious what Jemma and Daisy's vitals have been doing in the real world. What are the few living Agents (and Yo-Yo) thinking? I can only imagine that Jemma's heart rate spiked big time when Fitz killed Agnes. And I don't even want to consider what Daisy's vitals will do if she is actually tortured/experimented on... 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A magical world come to life

I have read many reviews of the new Beauty and the Beast that claim that it is less because it is simply a live action version of the same story with the same feel and music as the original Disney adaption. I acknowledge that some may feel that way about it. My own sister mentioned that they didn't need to make a new movie because the old one was "exactly the same" only animated and some critically acclaimed reviews have mentioned the same thing, especially after the 2015 Cinderella film. Cinderella changed the story just enough to fit in with modern times whilst also keeping true to the original Disney adaptation. Beauty and the Beast had no need for these modifications. The original Disney movie and character of Belle needed no "update" to the modern day as there was already a strength to Belle beyond her beauty and her placement in life that fits well with the modern ideology. What they managed to do with this new adaptation is to make the movie of my childhood come to life.

Belle was always the Disney princess to which I was the most connected- an intelligent, slightly spacey bookworm with her heart of gold- and probably impacted me the most of any of the princesses. While I loved Mulan and her tough grit and determination (she will always be a princess to me), it was Belle whom I most resembled and still do resemble most. As a child, being able to see this odd girl who didn't quite fit in but always had her head in a book while everyone else shook their heads in wonder gave me confidence for the times when I had people remark on how odd I was (these remarks were not always malicious but often very prevalent). The legacy of Belle (among other odd and intelligent characters such as Fred Burkle, Willow Rosenburg, and Hermoine Granger) played a driving force in the attainment of my Bachelor's degree and in supporting the drive I have to obtain my Master's degree. Having Belle as a recognized princess allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin, watching the live action version helped remind me why.

While it is true that many of the Disney princesses were oddities compared to the other people in the worlds they lived in- Cinderella compared to her stepsisters and Mulan compared the other young women her age being prime examples- Belle's oddity is one that impacts so many young women today still where it is not always accepted for them to have high educational goals or to stand out too much or to be "peculiar". There are boxes built around the "acceptable" activities and attitudes of young women and girls that they encouraged to fall into and those who don't can face everything from ridicule to physical threats (both of which Belle experienced). There is still the idea, supported by many aspects of the media and popular culture, that physical appearance is the most important aspect of a woman's life and her goals should be to find a man, settle down, and have children (basically Gaston dramatised  the role of society's expectations). Belle is beautiful but it isn't her beauty that she relies on nor puts stock in but her imaginative mind thirst for knowledge, attributes which the Beast admires about Belle in both adaptions of the movie but related to her more in this most recent adaption (I do love the commentary how the Beast is only other person we are shown who really understands and potentially shares Belle's love for books).

Beauty and the Beast gave way to a heartwarming reminder of why the previous adaption proved successful for its audience, there is a warmth and soul to it that reminds those of us in our 20s and 30s (and I am sure 40s and 50s as well) of the original movie's characterization as well as invigorating acting that will endear the film to children for generations to come (an option to play alongside the original instead of replacing it). Some of the lessons shown are applicable in all walks of life, such as the encouragement to be yourself despite the judgement of others and the encouragement to always be a bookworm (that squeal in the library was the best part of the movie next to the Beast's reaction to Romeo and Juliet being Belle's favorite Shakespeare play). Other lessons are less obvious to the young but no less important or applicable and done better in the new version than in the original. The first lesson (simply by chronology not importance) is shifting duty/role of protection between parents and children as shown by Maurice and Belle. Maurice spent his life protecting his daughter from the dangers of the world (although he is unable to protect her from the small-mindedness of the townspeople) and, when the moment presented itself, Belle chose to protect her father because there comes a time in every child's life when they try to shield their parents from the world Belle simply got to do so literally. The second lesson is one that we learn from LeFou by his inaction instead of his actions (for the most part), of staying true to what you believe and standing up for yourself. LeFou was willing to withstand any amount of ridicule and participate in any action because of his affection (take that as you will) for Gaston, even to the point of ignoring his own conscience, bowing easily to the other's will. It is only in the end of the film (after LeFou has been used by Gaston as a shield several times) when LeFou finally has a moment of clarity and switches sides (not so much because he agrees with the furniture servants but because they are on the opposite side of Gaston). LeFou's journey is one that many people face when in a relationship (of any kind) with someone whom they wish to please. More often than not that person will, as LeFou did, simply act as an enabler and slowly lose their voice and freedom (perhaps not literally) because keeping the other person happy, like Gaston, will become the most important aspect of their lives (just look at the song "Gaston" and how LeFou was paying everyone in the bar to participate).

This hasn't exactly been a review (or followed any intelligent design whatsoever), it is more of a rambling expression of my pleasure in watching Beauty and the Beast. My only question now: How does this all relate to the French Revolution? The disdain for literacy, attack/curse on a royal prince during an elaborate ball (to cause him to humble himself to the lowliest beggar), and an almost nobleman living in the attic with his wife and small daughter before fleeing to a small town after his wife's death certainly mirrors the attitudes and actions during the period (although perhaps we are a few decades early still). But, seriously, who else got French Revolution type flashes as they stormed the castle? Only me? Alright.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

'Tis the Season

I hate holidays... all holidays... regardless of what holiday it is. That being the case, the Christmas season is the bane of my entire year made worse by the seaming expectation that everything is beautiful and magical and perfect and bright. It's not. It can be, I suppose, for some, but that has not been my experience of the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" for many years now. Every year the Christmas decorations are put out earlier and the music begins to play sooner and every year I find myself hating the holidays a little bit more, as if the constant exposure was there just to chip away at my calm, happy, holiday-loving facade.

If I were a Scrooge this would be fine, I could go about on holidays and just live my life, complaining that nothing is ever open. Problem is I'm not. I hate the all holidays by in my heart I still want to love them. Especially Christmas

The problem is that the magic is gone. When I was young there was the magic of Santa and the Elves or there was the Christmas Story of Christ's birth. When the former lost its meaning I had the latter for comfort. Eventually, the latter began to lose its potency as well, there are only so many ways that the same story can be repeated and only so many times one can hear it until it becomes rote.

I miss that magic.

I try my best to find meaning in the simple things: the beauty of the first snow, the ghost-like quality of the flurries as they twist along the road, the random acts of kindness, etc. Unfortunately, that isn't enough to carry me through the nearly 3 months of holidays and "cheer" that dominate the end of every year. I don't need anything so receiving presents is unnecessary and giving presents just feels cheap, as the materialistic views slowly consume the society and the presents have to be bigger and more extensive every year.

It is tiresome.

I do listen to Christmas music after thanksgiving and even enjoy the songs (normally). I was listening to some of the less traditional songs and I just couldn't feel anything. I suppose the song "Where Are You Christmas?" (from the Grinch) describes how I feel although I fear that it is more likely "What is Christmas" by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


Despite all of this, as I head out to work on Christmas morning, I hope you all have a very Happy and Merry Christmas and manage to find some joy in the day, no matter what it may be.

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Beginnings: predictions of an end

Wow. What a way to kick off a season. This most recent episode of the Librarians was good, not as good as "At the Point of Salvation" (but as that is my top favorite episode of the show it is hard to measure up to it) but thoroughly enjoyable and fast paced. I loved the Doctor Who overtones that made me smile several times (even when it was supposed to be all suspenseful, I couldn't help it), the two biggest being the living plastic mannequins reminiscent of "Rose" and the musical score during the "I am the Librarian sequence" which nearly perfectly mirrored the score of the Eleventh Doctor when he walks through the hologram of the faces of all the previous Doctors. Those were good scenes.

There were also some clues dropped in the episode that might become themes throughout the season (some supported by interviews/trailers some not). First is Eve Baird's "second-sense" or her "gut-feeling" regarding the Librarians. This isn't the first time that Eve has shown some ability of precognition, even in the beginning of her characterization, a lot of her fighting awareness was trained gut instinct (sensing danger). Her experiences with the Loom of Fate (and Santa) might have been the kick she needed to jump over the edge and become more cognitively aware of these feelings. Next we have Cassandra's use of magic. Having seen alternate universe Cassandra, and the Ladies in the Lake, we know that eventually she will begin to use it, it is too tempting and impelling for her not to. Cassandra is dying, the show doesn't always bring it up directly but it is there. Her tumor will eventually kill her and magic is a way to save her own life. We know from her first episode that she will make questionable choices to save herself, it is only a matter of time before the promise of magic overcomes its price. For Jacob Stone we are going to see him become a more rounded Librarian and increase his fighting ability (even if it is unrealistic in power). Meanwhile, the overarching plot of the series is promising more darkness, with the "ultimate battle between good and evil" as the main plot and the subplot being a "shady and subversive government agency" likely to cause the Librarians trouble.

My biggest concern for this season is the mentioned "death of a character" that has been mentioned several times in interviews because I would hate to lose any of them. So, as this is a pre-season prediction, I am going to predict the likelihood of each characters' demise and my reasons for each prediction (with no absolutes in any one outcome).

Flynn Carsen- Flynn has lived longer than any other Librarian, surviving on his own for years, overcoming amazing things and impossible odds. He will survive the ultimate battle but something unpredictable, something mundane could very easily take him out this season. Interviews have said that he will face something that "no Librarian has ever had to face before" and it could be a death or event that occurs in his life outside of being the Librarian. I give his odds of survival 73%.

Eve Baird- I am split on Eve's chance of death. I don't want her to be the one to die but there is precedence for it given the past events in the show and her own feelings of doom and despair from the beginning of this season. Fortunately, it is those very same reasons that lead me to believe that she will not be the one to die because it would just be too easy and predictable, lacking the necessary emotional impact to the audience/characters because it is almost expected. I give her a 62% chance of survival.

Jenkins- Ah, the immortal Galahad. Only, as we learned last season, he isn't as immortal as he was led to believe. So, with this little bit of knowledge and neither the audience or character knowing the true pathway or cause of his potential demise, it is possible that something that happens during the final battle or a choice that he (or another character) makes could spell the end of his immortality. I hive him a 61% chance of survival.

Jacob Stone- I really don't see Stone dying. His characterization is nothing overly special in any of his traits, at least not for the Librarians, and he is gearing up to be able to handle himself in a fight. There have been no indications this season that anything will happen to Stone, unless he gets super cocky in his new fighting ability and dies because of it (I just don't feel like it will happen, the emotional impact of his death just wouldn't be there for me). Because of this, I give him a 84% chance of survival.

Ezekiel Jones- This one is harder for me because Ezekiel's death would have an emotional impact, for me and for the team (and not just because he is the only POC cast member). In this first episode this season, I felt that Ezekiel's role was decreased from where he was at the end of last season, although that could just be because there was a lot to cover in this first episode. He has a specific skill set not possessed by any of the other characters, he is equally beloved and hated by everyone, and he at times has shown great character and self-sacrifice. He could, quite possibly go out like a hero (again). Of course, the fact that he has already played the hero's role (along with the hero's "death") in "At the Point of Salvation" might save his life to avoid re-using a character plot. I give him a 57% chance of surviving the season.

Cassandra Cillian- And it comes back to the brain grape and magic. Cassandra is the most likely, in my opinion, to die this season. Not only is she invaluable to the team but she is also beloved by them. She has an adorable relationship with Ezekiel, an almost romantic relationship with Stone, and a sweet relationship with Baird. She is the hardened innocent (a lot like Fred in Angel) and thus would be mourned highly by everyone. She is also the most likely to make decisions that lead to her demise because of her fascination with and draw towards magic. She could very easily begin to use it and then either sacrifice herself because of its cost (to save the team) or have to be killed by a team member because she begins to lose control/is taken over by the dark side in the ultimate battle. If the latter comes to pass, it would have to be Stone who kills her because it would destroy the audience and the character all at once. I give her a 50.216% chance of survival.

As you can tell, I don't actually know which character is going to meet the ill-mentioned fate teased to us in spoilers and interviews but I have some ideas based on previous episodes and plot lines why each character might die, as well as which of them is, in my opinion, most likely to die. My wish is that they are all just messing with us and nothing bad will happen or someone will pull a Clara and the dead person will end up somewhere happy (Cassandra can die and then join the Ladies in the Lake, for instance) but I know that probably isn't a feasible outcome in this particular show (at lest not in this season).

I am eager to see where the story takes us. It should be a fun (and potentially devastating) ride.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Giving and Taking

This season on Once Upon a Time there has been an interesting shift from previous seasons. Every season, eventually, the Savior Emma has come in and saved the day. Sometimes against her belief but never against her will. She has always dome what she felt was best and has always been driven/felt driven to be the hero. There have been events that got in the way of her desire (Neil/Balefire, Killian, and becoming the Dark One for starters) but in the end she always chose the higher road, the hero's path. The difference this season is that, while Emma is still driven to be the Savior, she is finding it harder and harder to do so as her body begins to give out on her (hand tremors and blacking out).

We are shown another Savior, Aladdin, in flashbacks, and he could barely stand.He'd become a bed ridden invalid, but the drive to help hadn't gone away. The only problem was that he could no longer control his body and any time he attempted a heroic action his sword hand would begin to tremble. Jafar (the bad guy) describes this as happening because Aladdin "gave it all away," where "it" is his strength.
"It's the fate of Saviors. You give and give and give... and for what? They pick the fruits, they cut the branches, and all that's left is this... shaky stump. That's why you never ever hear these words abut a savior, 'They lived happily ever after.'"
Jafar might be creepy and evil but he makes a good point. People who only give of themselves, over and over and over again will have nothing left over for themselves eventually lose. They lose their strength, their stability, their happiness, potentially even themselves. And the people who most often become the Saviors (the lone wolf type who save the day) normally have few close relations and very little family. They embark on their journey of heroics alone and then continue on until they use themselves up.

Jafar's analogy to Aladdin was fitting (in Storybrook world particularly and the reality by parallel), using the Giving Tree. Any one (or thing) which only gives of themselves and always allows others to take with no limitations or stipulations, will become nothing but a stump. While a stump is still useful, it is lessened and stunted, no new tree or leaves will ever be able to grow from it again. The very thing that made the Giving Tree special is the very thing that ends up killing it. The same is true for Saviors. The traits that they possess (unburdened love, determination, perseverance, sense of duty, etc.) and their unique position in life (few personal attachments) lead them to become people who will give fully of themselves time and time and time again with no rest until they are spent out and there is nothing left to give.

The tree of Emma's life/life-force/ability is dying. For 5/6 straight years she has done nothing but defend and give, helping everyone and constantly saving the day. Slowly chipping away at herself. Denying her emotions, denying her desires, denying her needs. There was nothing but what was needed from her. And that was always everything. All. The. Time. And she always had to go it alone because she was the Savior. She had the burden to bear. She would protect everyone and do everything. She lied, she denied, she hid herself away from others because "it was necessary". The very traits that made her a good Savior are the the traits that are leading to her downfall. 

Only now, as her tree dies, Emma realizes that she can't do it alone, not anymore. She isn't yet ready to admit her weakness to her family and close relations but she does begin to seek help. She starts caring for herself more and more and when the truth about her condition does come out, she accepts the love and support offered to her by her family and friends. She accepts their understandings and their support. Only she is still determined to make her own decisions and to live her life. By accepting her family she also accepts herself. By doing so, and by remembering how much she is loved, she is able to begin to rebuild (not completely but she can control her trembling for a time). The support and acceptance of her family has allowed Emma to say, "I am still the Savior and if this is the price of my magic then I will accept it but I am also a member of a family and so if there is another way to do this I want to find it." Emma's support base gives her the option of finding another way by proving that she doesn't have to do this alone, she can find a new solution a new approach because she has others helping her, giving her strength. There are people caring for her tree so it has an opportunity to prosper.

I am guilty, as I am sure others are as well, of making the "Savior's mistake" of trying to carry the world, only to be crushed by its weight. In healthcare we are taught to care for our patients but that it is most important for us to care for ourselves because if we fail then there is no one there for our patients to rely on at all. Storybrook needs a Savior because there is magic and darkness and evil there and it is tangible and deadly but the savior needs a relief squad, a support base, a friend, a lover, someone, to help share the burden, to caution restraint, to stop them when the job is done until they learn to do it themselves. 

We all, Saviors and laymen alike, need reminders that it is alright to walk away sometimes, to rest, to recuperate, or to just care for ourselves in general so that we have the ability to get up again and fight another day. We need to allow our roots to grow and our branches to leaf and our fruit to hang low before we offer it away again. or there will be nothing left of us to offer.

We should all strive for this:
Rather than this:

No one should ever have to stand alone. If you feel like you do, you're wrong. Just reach out and be honest. There are people waiting there for you, you just have to be willing to look for them or to let them find you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How to go on...?

I have no words that I can write to express myself today yet I have so much I wish to say.
I write this, overwhelmed by grief and fear, tears stinging my eyes, running down my face, leaving salty streaks upon my cheeks. I see the message to "fight back" on Twitter. I see calls to stand strong...

But how can I tonight?

How can I stand strong when I just learned the truth about the amount of hatred in my country? How can I when all of my beliefs have just been uprooted, violently? How can I as I mourn, doubled over in the physical pain that is wracking my body?

How can I stand strong when my hope and my belief have just been bashed to the ground by a drought of harsh reality?

How do you move on from fear?

How do you keep your faith in the basic decency of humanity when faced with the amount of hatred, despair, and judgement that led to Donald Trump becoming the next president of the United States, a country whose Pledge ends with "with liberty and justice for all"?

Tonight there was no justice. There was only fear.

Perhaps tomorrow there will be strength. Perhaps tomorrow there will be hope. Perhaps tomorrow there will be love.

Tonight there is only sorrow. Tonight there is despair. Tonight I have no words and no strength. Tonight I grieve.

Tomorrow is another day. We just might survive it.