For over a year, I campaigned for Hillary Clinton for President of the United States (spoiler: she lost). After she lost, I broke down. I fell apart because of her loss. Not since I came out had I made myself so vulnerable and open to the world. I wanted to curl up, fear the world, and cry. I wanted to rip apart every family member and friend who voted for Donald Trump. I wanted to go back in the closet. I did not know what I would do.
I ended up eating an entire tray of “freshly baked” cookies from VONS, Hot Cheetos, and my leftover Halloween candy, all the next day at work.* I vented to anybody who would listen. In the end, it took a lot for me to swallow my pride. I had to accept that I was part of the problem.
The 2016 presidential election taught me a hard lesson. While voting is the most important thing to do, I learned that two, three, and four are equally important. This means getting involved with an organization you care about, campaigning, educating others, using your voice, et cetera. It also means using my education. As a History major, I focused on United States cultural history from colonial times to the present. Specifically, I studied gender and sexuality, LGBTQ+ history, and queer theory. For goodness sake, I received my BA and MA in a field that falls under HUMANITIES. The name says it all. I was such a voice in graduate school. Then, I stopped.
Trump’s fair victory is beyond vile and on the wrong side of history. Keyword: fair. He won fair and square. I will not argue that. I have so many choice words for those who voted for Trump, all of which are worse than “deplorable.” Instead, I will say what I am grateful for. I am forever grateful that I have a life where I do not view Trump as the best choice, as my only choice, as the best for everyone. I am grateful and proud that I have options. That I found myself immersed in the nastiest debates over Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders vs. Jill Stein vs. Gary Johnson vs. Martin O’Malley (I don’t want him to feel left out like carrot cake). Or, establishment vs. anti-establishment. I am grateful that I worked hard enough, that my parents worked hard enough, for me to break my own glass ceiling to many possibilities. Truth be told, these divisions cost us the election. Yet, I rather swallow that pill than view Trump as my only hope.
I am not naïve. I know Hillary’s faults. I know the establishment’s flaws and corruptions. I read and learned so much in the past seventy-two hours than the entire past year. I did not allow myself to open my eyes the reality of the political climate and the changing stances. I am now. That is a hard lesson to learn, but one that I needed. I would still have voted for her, but I would have fought this battle differently.
I decided to re-launch a blog for many reasons. We go through life only seeing what we want to see, hearing what we want to hear, but do not stop to gain perspective and willingly take the good with the bad. I wrote many social commentary pieces in graduate school when I attended California State University, Fullerton. Life was great. Unfortunately, I now realize that my sense of security became complacency. After I graduated, I stopped writing. I stopped using my voice. The next thing I know, I focused more on my career and, essentially, stood still.
This time, however, I did not want to do this project alone. I reached out to the most educated people I know whose opinions and views push, anger, and challenge me—my friends! I rallied those who not all shared the same whatever with me. I asked friends who identify as Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, liberal, conservative, and so forth. I asked friends who come from diverse races, cultures, and ethnicities, as well as an array of walks of life. I asked friends who know me for me, and vice versa. I asked friends who would not agree with me and each with each others pieces.
I also want/need this endeavor to be about learning about myself, pushing myself, healing myself, and personal growth. Who am I, though, to have a voice? What is my background? How do I identify? (Spoilers ahead) If I am going to use my voice as candidly as I want and fully exploit that privilege, then it is fair that you know who I am. I am a Democrat, some days moderate, other days progressive. I am a Green…nie? Green partier? Greenanite! I am for establishment. I am against establishment. I am first generation Mexican-American. I am an Orange County/Los Angeles-bred mutt. I was raised Catholic and grew up in private schools, one of which an all-boy preparatory institute. I attended public school for college. I am a gay man. I am a queer man. I am single AF (Takers? Anyone?). I am the youngest of four brothers. I have four nephews.** I have two godsons. I come from a family of cancer survivors, my mother and brother (ughhh I will probably get it one day). I was accepted to three doctoral (PhD) programs with full rides, the golden ticket, the full sha-bang. I turned them all down and decided to go find myself (haha dumb…). I started over. I currently work for a fundraising firm for nonprofit organizations. I am honest, kind, and sincere. I am shady and an asshole. I am privileged. I am not privileged. I have privilege. I fight everyday for privilege and equality. I was a golden student who then fell to being called crooked, corrupt, and shady in student politics. I am really annoying and have an unattractive sounding voice. I am very vain and care bout my looks. I am super self-conscious and hate my body as I lost 120 lbs. I will rip your head off if you ever argue my loved ones’ spirits. I am not politically correct. I am elitist. I am grassroots. I have a growing list of people who love me and a list of people who hate me. And last, I don’t care. I should care about more issues, but I don’t. The truth is that I am just me. I do not know who or what I am. I am perfectly imperfect, or whatever.
*I can neither confirm nor deny their freshness.
**One is still in the oven.