For many Millennials and those belonging Generation Z, their coming of age story aligns all too well with the blooming of the Trump era. During a time of entering adulthood, learning independence, and finding ourselves, we have also been thrown in the fire of a rapidly changing nation. Now, more than ever, our nation is explicitly divided.
Perhaps this division is not a bad thing. Perhaps Trump's flames have shed light on beliefs and actions that had lurked in the shadows for too long. Regardless, this abrupt change caused and continues to cause an abundance of inner turmoil for millions living in the US.
For me, my self-realization has been coupled with being labeled "too political."
As a young adult, I have watched the ways in which the political climate has affected my relationships with others. For many, it has caused strain amongst romantic relationships, familial relationships, professional relationships, and friendships. Those like myself have been told to stop bringing up politics, to stop playing the "race card," or that "it really isn't that deep."
Well, it really is that deep.
I do not choose to "make everything political." For me, my existence and the existence of my loved ones is a political statement. When each day is filled with racist, sexist, homophobic, ignorant comments, the personal quickly becomes political. When my scars are being minimalized and my story is suddenly the punchline of jokes by those in power, I hurt deeply.
It seems that each day there is a new hate crime, a new act of terrorism (terrorism done by those of our own nation). And so I live my life in fear. When I walk to my car at night I often a fear flows through my veins stemming from more than being a woman. When an older white man walks a little to close to me on the street my heart races. In those moments I see my face in the headlines, my name among the others killed because they simply existed. But those images only stay for a moment because in reality those names also dissolve within seconds upon arrival of the latest story.
I cannot expect those who live very different lives than me to understand what I am feeling. They will never know the discomfort of fear becoming normalized. I cannot be bitter for that because just as I didn't choose the realm in which I exist, neither did they. But I do refuse to accept the label of too political. It is absurd that discussing matters that directly impact my life, aspects of my being, are off limits.
But from my seat, I am not discussing politics. I do not equate my determination of seeing humanity to a political agenda. The really sad thing is that my persistence to value all life makes others uncomfortable. To those made uncomfortable, just think how uncomfortable I feel knowing my existence is a controversial issue.