When I was a kid I was sure of a few things: Ruffles Regular were the finest chips, Orange Crush was the only liquid worth drinking and that I was going to be a cashier when I grew up. I was three and I had it all figured out.
Twenty-five years later I think about the young girl I was and feel a kind of grief for the tiny joyful bubble she lived in at that time. In the ensuing years she would learn what it meant to be a woman of colour living in a white man’s world. She would learn what true hate looked like as she watched a civil war unfold in a homeland she had never seen but felt deeply for. She would learn to tread water in a pool full of sharks.
Despite these self-taught lessons, the US election was a cold shower sending me shaking out of my delusion. Many Canadians believe they are above all of this and are better but we are not above this and we are not better. I had never fully let myself believe a result like this could happen. I imagined that the community of people who wanted to build something worthy and good was larger and louder than the other noise.
I see now how fragile this house we’ve built is. How quickly it can crumble and how much harder we need to work. I wish that I did not learn this important lesson at the expense of others.
In this world, you need to shout for what you want. Amma told me this once and I think about it now. I guess this time we weren’t loud enough. As a people we don’t love each other enough. I don’t know what’s next but what I do know is I need to fight apathy and cynicism and resist the normalization of what has happened. It feels like being in an unending ocean with no land in sight, but I have to keep swimming, even if I’m tired.