I exhaled when President-Elect Joe Biden won. I had been holding it since November 8, 2016. I was at work when the election was called for Donald Trump four years ago and had not even realized I had been holding my breath. I had taken a sabbatical from social media in September, determined not to venture back into the quagmire of social media until after this election.
I was scared. I was more scared than I have ever been in my life. And I have been in some scary, crazy situations in my almost four decades. But this? This here?! No, this fear was ancestral, primal and I have never felt more helpless! But I am getting ahead of myself.
I gave in to curiosity and turned on my television on Election Night, after working the night before–I stayed up to go vote. I didn’t want to risk going home, sleeping, and shenanigans break out about my poll place. For reference: I am in a red state (Missouri), governed by a COVIDidiot (Gov. Mike “I hate science” Parsons), and I am a Black woman. I had my voter registration purged, and had to re-register. So participating in this election I knew would be a fight! But, I had been ready for it. And I put myself in seclusion since before Halloween. I turned by notifications off. I didn’t check Facebook. I didn’t go on TikTok. I hunkered down.
I waited. I prayed.
When I peeked at my social media because of curiosity, I almost started screaming crying. I saw a sea of red–just like in 2016! I saw Joe Biden’s lead shrink, and I panicked. All I saw was red, and as I sat in my apartment by myself, I fought tears. I was on the phone with my love and he told me, “It is going to be okay.” That was a slap in the face! I told him he had no idea what that meant! I told him how scared I was! I was scared for my daughters. Scared for my mother and sister. Scared for my godmother, queer family, activist family and everyone attached to me. I was so scared I wanted my father–and he has been dead for almost 20 years. I wanted my father because that was the only man that I had ever known that would be able to protect me and my daughters. I could not breathe. I called my Godmother Vickie and panicked in her Facebook inbox. She told me not to panic–and that brought me down from a 20 on a scale of 1-10, to a solid 10.
My chest was tight. My hands cold. I paced through my house, and fought tears. I thought where I could go with my girls. I am divorced from my first husband (and father of my children), and he lives deep in Trump Country Missouri. Due to paperwork and wording of my divorce decree, I couldn’t move without his ‘permission’. I knew he would never give it, and he would never let me leave! I knew he wouldn’t understand, and would not protect the girls like they would need! I knew that he would deny my fear, say I was overreacting and say I was ‘trying to take his kids.’ It was the most obscene sort of auction block. I could not be assured the father of my children would be able to protect them–or have the desire to!–and he would do all in his power to make my life a nightmare, while I try to protect these children from the world, the flesh and the devil! With that knowledge, I realized just for a moment, what the ancestors felt while enslaved. I was in a land where the people in it wanted my death, my body or my complete erasure. And there was nothing I could do about it! NOTHING!
I got to bed after 2:00 AM that night. And it took all of my faith to pray, and pray to sleep.
My mother, my sister and I supported one another through this madness! My mother and sister were watching CNN/MSNBC as recounts were happening, and when the mail-in ballots where added and the map began to change. We all watched and prayed. Prayed and watched, needed Nevada, Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania to certify their results and call this election.
It was my sister that texted me to let me know Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 10:41 AM CST this: “Biden wins Pennsylvania, biden in the 46th president elect! “bout to lose ‘yo job!” Then, I exhaled. I know that President-Elect Biden is not White Savior. Yet, neither is he a incarnation of Nero, starving for the blood of the poor, Black, Brown, Latinx, queer, Muslim, etc. There is still work to do, and now that I can breathe? I can fight again. Too much depends on the next four years to be silent!
Special thanks to my TikTok fam for getting me through the crazy of Election Night and the days that followed! Namely Conscious Lee (@theconsciouslee); Quentin (@quentinjiles); Tommy (@my_doode); Jason (@bardude97); Nicole (@nikkinoo813); Sunny (@_sunny_laluz) and Tiffany (@doubledeemuva). If you want to follow me, I am @whatjayesaid.