Activism Life

A Letter to You, Probably

November 9, 2016

In the wake of the recent election results, this is all I can say…

To my parents: Thank you for raising me with a voice. Thank you for raising me at protests and rallies and conventions and meetings. Thank you for always helping me get into the room, onto the panel, and into the office. Thank you for teaching me that my words carry the weight of stones and my actions are arrows and that I must be very careful with where I aim my opinions. Thank you for lighting the fire inside my soul until I learned to use matches. Thank you for letting me scream. Thank you for holding me when I cried. Thank you for teaching me peacefulness and grace and respect, but never at the expense of myself. Thank you for reminding me, time and time again, that I am my own person, that I matter, and that I will rise. And finally, last night, thank you for making me laugh through my tears, helping me to stand back up and fight on, and reminding me to not lose heart. I am so proud to be your daughter.

To my best friend from middle school: I am struggling to find room in my heart for you. You, who watched me get beaten down by shame at 13 years old when I barely knew what the term “slut” even meant; you, who hugged me when I wanted to kill myself because I believed I was worth nothing; you, who now chose, despite your personal connections, to vote for hate, I am struggling to find love for you. But I will continue to search.

To my sister: You are terrified. You are upset. You are angry. You are sad. And you have every right to be. You, a bisexual woman of color, have every right to be. But this fight is not over, and we are not done. I will fight for you. I will rise for you. I will not stop. I promise to fan the fire in your soul and treat your opinions as gemstones and your well-being as gold. I will write your values on your skin so they never leave you and etch pictures of a better tomorrow onto your ceiling so hope is the last thing you fall asleep to each night. I will fight each day for your eyes to stay bright and your future to remain brighter because you matter. You matter, you matter, you matter.

To the women I hold most dear: You inspire me daily. You pick me up, you support me, and you are the ones who will continue to fight. I know you are. Thank you for your love, support, words of encouragement, laughter, tears, and generosity. Our hearts may be broken, but still we stand and still we will rise.

To my ex-lover: You are currently laughing at the results of this election as you blame the democratic party for the outcome, keeping in mind that you voted for a 3rd party candidate. You are the epitome of privilege. I dodged a bullet.

To POC, LGBTQ, Immigrants, Muslims, Women, and all minorities: I am with you. I am one of you. And I will use my privilege to fight for you.

To my white, male, cis, hetero friends: Please fight. Please work. Please do. Please use your position of power to be an ally and fight for change. Please, please, please.

To those 3rd party voters: I hope that you understand after last night what a privilege you have to be able to have calmly put your own morals above the safety of others. I hope that your protest vote makes you feel like you have saved the entire world and that you gave yourself a huge pat on the back. Now please, pull your head out of the sand and start fighting for change.

To my home state: Arizona, you fucked up the electoral college votes, but my god, I have never been more proud. Congratulations on ousting the most racist Sheriff of all time. Congratulations on raising minimum wage. Congratulations on almost turning blue. I love you, and my heart is home today.

To my partner: Thank you for standing by me. For standing up, for speaking up, and for fighting. I am so proud of the work you have done, but it will never truly end. I fell in love with you because I recognized your fire, I recognized your drive, and I recognized your hope. Please do not lose heart, my love. We have so much work that still must get done.

To Hillary: You did not deserve this. Not at all. A woman who has dedicated her entire life to working for a better future for our country. You did not deserve this at all. But it has been an honor to vote for you. It has been an honor to stand with you, and fight with you, and believe with you. Thank you, Madam Secretary, for reminding me that little girls can grow up and be everything they want to be. I’m so sorry our nation wasn’t ready for a woman to lead us.

This election has shown me the hatred that is deeply rooted in this country and the lengths that people will go to shut others that are different out. It has taught me grace within defeat. It has shown me my own privilege. Last night I sobbed, but today I will fight.

Xo, Willa

  • Reply
    Walter Gustafson
    November 9, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    We’re very disappointed with the outcome as well. Keep up the good work, you’re a terrific writer.
    Your cousins,
    Walter & Carmela Gustafson

  • Reply
    Heather Goebel
    November 9, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Excellent piece. We’re with you Willa. A former F.Q. Story resident

  • Reply
    Cynthia Harbottle
    November 9, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Thank you for your spirit! It gives me hope that our younger generations have been listening, have been watching and are ready to fight for a better future! Thank you for your for your open mind and open heart! I am able to smile through bitter tears; knowing that in the future when the torch is passed it will be passed to a more intelligent, loving and generous generation. Thank you.🌸

    • Reply
      November 9, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you, Cindi! I’m hoping to make the future better.

  • Reply
    Carmela (Ruisi) Gustafson
    November 9, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    To my dear first cousin once removed,

    First, yes, I had to look up exactly how to refer to our relationship. Unlike my husband, who has scads of cousins in far-flung regions of Scandinavia, and knows the proper appellation for each of them, I have but a few. I need to learn to better appreciate those, like you, that I do have. This is one attempt.

    Next, I have to come clean both about having my husband (your first cousin once removed by marriage?) to thank for sending me links to your blog, and about having been surreptitiously getting to know you without offering any of myself in return. My excuse has been that there isn’t much that’s in any way impressive about me: mother, teacher, student, gym-rat, bookworm, National Park freak, aging tree-hugging hippie, not-a-dirty-word-liberal, (almost) eternal optimist … some of the ways I identify myself and/or have been identified by others. It’s not so much drawing a box around myself, as it is trying to help you locate me in space and time.

    Mostly, though, I want to let you to know that I am incredibly proud to be related to such a passionate, committed, talented, and obviously intelligent young woman. If you can remain thankful, and even hopeful, while pursuing what you believe in as good and just, what excuse do I have to persist any other way?


    • Reply
      November 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Oh my goodness! Hi, Carmela, thank you so much for reaching out. I’m appreciate that you took the time to look up the correct term for our connection!
      Thank you so much for your kind words of support and encouragement. I do hope I get to meet you in person at some point, because I would love to get to know you better. 🙂

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