The Edit

Friday, 11 November 2016

The day the world ended

The day the world ended not a cloud was in sight, the skies were the bluest of blue, and the sun shone the brightest it has been in a while. It was a beautiful day.
It was unlike anything we could ever imagine. The realization that sometimes even our worst nightmares come true is sobering. But this wasn’t quite how I pictured it to be. In my head when I thought about the world ending, I saw a grim, dystopian scenario. The kind of apocalypse that movies depict. What I didn’t see was a day like this – bright, beautiful. The kind of day that makes one hopeful.

The day the world ended my fears felt validated. That I do not matter because I wasn’t born a certain way. My skin is the wrong color, I don’t have a dick, and everything else about my existence isn’t enough to be treated like a person.

The day the world ended I thought about the people that make up my community. I thought about celebrating pride, Ramadan, the legalization of gay marriage, the freedom and right to wear a hijab in public and to live without fear of being yourself. I thought about the richness that diversity adds to a community and wanted to cry.

The day the world ended I went online where I felt the most pain. I saw post after post of reactions, of fear and hatred. I saw first accounts of fear and terror.

I talked to my friend Shayla and she told me about how terrified she was of going to work because majority of her colleagues are racist and coming from a small town where there’s not a lot of people of colour, this was a real concern. Having opposing opinions she can deal with. But this was a different kind of fear now. Fear that is backed up by power and fueled by acts of hate.

A few friends are considering taking their hijabs off, with family members even begging not them not to wear them for fear of what could happen to them. “Allah would understand,” they cried. 

What do you say to that? How do you comfort a friend who’s too scared to go into her workplace? Who’s too scared to even drive to work for fear of what could happen to them in their short travel to and from places.

How do you be there for a friend who’s worried of being deported and being separated from his own family? What do you say to someone who’s too afraid to be who they are, to practice their religions freely, and declare their love openly?

How can you tell people that “things are going to be okay” or to “just be positive” when this further reinforced that divide?

Marginalized groups aren’t just concepts or theories. They’re my friends. They’re my family. They’re me.

The day the world ended I wept, and wrote, wept, and wrote. I wrote until words were starting to no longer make sense on the page. I typed so fast until all I heard was the banging of the keyboard with every letter that my fingers touched.

In movies we are used to seeing the good guys defeating the bad guys in the end albeit the trials and agony that they had to go through to get to that point. They say that good always wins against evil. We scream love trumps hate at the top of our lungs. The day the world ended was the day we needed to love the most.

The day the world began again was full of darkness. A feeling of despair quietly enveloped us as we sat in stunned silence. This is what darkness looks like but there is some light seeping in through the cracks.

It comes in with Kamala Harris being the first Black female Senator since 1999. It comes in with Illhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker elected in Minnesota. The light seeped through the cracks the minute Oregon elected Kate Brown, the first openly LGBTQ governor in U.S. history. The light came in with Catherine Cortez Masto, the first ever Latina Senator.

It comes in with every voice inside us that says enough is enough. It comes in with every kind gesture you do not just today but everyday. It comes in with every person that will not stand for this anymore. It comes in when you support someone through this trying time. It comes in when you call someone out for a misogynistic Facebook post. It comes in when you see bigotry and indifference and apathy and you advocate against it.

It comes in the minute you choose love.

From where I’m standing all I see is darkness. But the light is there. A tiny spark. Maybe if I stare at it long enough, I won’t lose sight of it.  

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