If You’re Afraid and Don’t Know What to Do: #YouAreSafeWithMe

Nov 9 2016

Originally Shared on Facebook on Election Night:

It looks very much like Trump will win the White House, and my stomach is flip-flopping, alternating between butterflies and nausea, controlled as it is at the moment by the amygdala part of the brain, or Reptilian Brain — “FEAR and SURVIVAL, Beth,” it keeps repeating, “RUN. Or at least start digging the bunker! WHY HAVEN’T YOU STARTED ON THE BUNKER YET?”

Reptilian Brain is, to put it kindly, a freaking freaker who freaks.

I’d like to wallow a little, even though I promised not to. To grieve. To be sad. To rage.

But there isn’t time, friends.


Listen. Reptilian Brain wants us to keep freaking the hell out. Reptilian Brain NEEDS us to do this. Reptilian Brain LIVES for this shit. But Reptilian Brain also (literally) shuts down our ability to do higher thinking. And, interestingly, higher thinking is required in order for kindness, gentleness and love to flourish. Higher thinking is required for us to think outside of ourselves.

Please understand — if it was up to me and Reptilian Brain over here, we would RELISH the opportunity to FREAK OUT and keep right on freaking. Wallowers R Us, friends. For real. Also, Reptilian Brain enjoys bourbon, and the two of us would like nothing more than a large glass of that stuff right now.

Reptilian Brain: WALLOW NOW. Gentleness and kindness another time.
Me: SOLD, Reptilian Brain. You so totally get me.

But I’m not kidding when I say there isn’t time.

There isn’t time because, while people like me who are white, cisgender, college educated, English speaking, suburban, dual income American citizens who have never once worried about whether my children will go to bed hungry… or whether I will be shunned or beaten or killed for my sexual or gender identity… or whether I will be summarily accused and sentenced for the color of my skin… or a whole host of other things…, there are millions of people in our country tonight who are worried not just for their livelihoods but for their lives.

The privileged people like me can take time to rage.

The privileged people like me can take time to analyze.

The privileged people like me can take time to wonder and wallow.

>>But there isn’t time because there are immigrant families tonight who are afraid they’ll be separated, and children who cling to mothers they fear they’ll lose.

>>There are refugees in desperate need of a safe place to land who will be turned away because there’s about to be less room in the American inn.

>>There are LGBTQ teens who have long suspected there is no place for them in this country who will believe this proves it and who will harm themselves.

>>There are Islamic families who will feel they have to hide and keep their heads down and who won’t know how to protect their kids as they walk to and from school.

>>There are precious people who live with disability, like two of my own kids, who are bewildered about how it’s possible they can be mocked and bullied by a man who is then handed the reins to the presidency.

These people needs us right now, friends; we do not have time to indulge our Reptilian Brains. Maybe later. We can set a date and throw our amygdalas a right rager of a party.

Right now, though, our friends need us. And, make no mistake, the marginalized and belittled and disenfranchised ARE the friends of all who believe in loving our neighbors as ourselves and that EVERYONE is our neighbor, like Jesus and Mr. Rogers said.

{{Our friends need to know where the safe spaces are.}}

We have to send the message loud and clear before we indulge our own outrage, so the disenfranchised will know where they can turn.

I’ll go first: You are safe with me, friends. I will guard your hearts. I will champion your place in this world and this country. I will work for your physical protection. I will not stand silently while you are harmed. You are safe with me, and I will fight for more safe places for you, too.

{{You do not go it alone.}} #YouAreSafeWithMe

I stand by what I said about how my family and I will be reacting to this election: We are going to be kind. We are going to look for ways to Invite People In. We are going to be people who hope. And we will work together to make a bright future a reality, putting our energy toward creating the country we wish we had, rather than lamenting its loss.

But first I need you to know, you are safe here, friends.


With my whole heart,

P.S. Whether you share this post or the #YouAreSafeWithMe hashtag or express yourself another way, please find a way to send a message of safety and solidarity to those who need to hear this now.

P.P.S. I usually allow for a rather wide diversity of thought on this page and on my blog. On this post and those to come, I will allow for a diversity of kindness only. Meaning I’ll shut anything else right down. This is my online living room, and those who are kind are welcome in it. <3