Talking is healing

I believe that for this election to bring positive change we need to step up and talk. Don’t get me wrong, I talk, I talk a lot. I just don’t broadcast. But the story I am about to share is worth broadcasting.

It’s Saturday afternoon around 5pm. I exit my friend’s apartment on Polk St & Hayes St in San Francisco. I take a few steps on the sidewalk before a soft and sticky shower splashes on my cheek. I look to my right and realize that a skinhead just spit on my face and was now steadily walking off. No more, no less.

I turn to my long time friend. I can see that he doesn’t quite understand what just happened. I hear a white man behind me cry out to the harasser: “ HEY! What the fuck man! That’s messed up! WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!.” It all happened so fast and yet so clearly. I explain to my friend all while witnessing his growing disbelief. He asks “How? Why? Really?”…“In San Francisco?!”. You would think, it can’t be; but it is. Why? Because of Hate. Because he is racist.

The rest of the ride home felt surreal. My friend kept on repeating how sorry and sad he was that that had happened to me… to me out of all people. He poured love and affection with every sign of concern. He created the perfect safe space for me. He created the space for me to process this experience in an empowering way. I’m ok. I don’t feel affected negatively at all but that’s because I know who I am and what I stand for. I know I am loved and that those around me will never let me down.

All I want to do is share. Share my experience so that those who know me can experience a little better what it means that Trump got elected. The outcry of the American people. A reminder that hate exists all around us. Sometimes within us.

I would have liked for the aggressor to look me in the eyes. I wish he hadn’t been such a coward. I would have liked for him to start a dialogue. What’s the alternative? Not to wish? To give up on hope?

We need to do more than just hope. We need to act according to our wishes. Ghandi said it first. Be the change you want to see in the world. Do you really want to know what your future looks like? It looks like what we build — or don’t build- today.

That’s one message. The other is that creating safe spaces for those being harassed is so important. If you want to start acting towards a brighter future create safe spaces for people around you. Maeril created a step-by-step comic guide on how to assist victims of harassment.

Talking is healing.