A food blogger’s thoughts, post-election, 2016

I think most of us can agree: Last week was rough.

The most contentious election in recent memory was finally decided… and a lot of Americans felt shocked and scared in its wake.

I usually choose to avoid politics here. I don’t want to alienate anyone because we can all agree upon what brings us here: FOOD.

As a former journalist, I get hives when I think about discussing politics in open forums. It was instilled in me long ago that — while my opinions are my own, — as a member of the press, I don’t have any when I step into the newsroom or onto an assignment. That’s something ingrained in me and that I’ve ingrained into this blog.

During my newspaper days, people I was photographing yelled at me more than once when I wouldn’t disclose if I shared their views.

“It’s not my job to agree or disagree,” I’d tell them. “As a photojournalist, my job is to document you sharing your beliefs. Mine don’t factor into this.”

I’m proud to have set aside my personal beliefs to remain as unbiased as possible to serve as the eyes of our newspaper. And I am proud to do the same when I discuss my life, stories and food at The Speckled Palate — because those are the things that you come here to read about. I don’t care who knows that I loathe goat cheese, but I’d rather not share my recipes with a side of politics.

Some days, though, I just can’t hold my tongue.

Today, my heart is heavy. There’s been a lot of emotions flying around in the wake of the election, but that’s not the only thing weighing on me and making me feel raw.

Last Thursday, I learned a longtime family friend had taken her life.

My heart aches for her and for the pain she felt that spurred her to take the actions she did. My heart aches for her family and their unbearable loss. My heart aches for her closest friends and for those of us who knew her.

I hate thinking of a world that doesn’t have her, her brightness, her future in it… but here we are.

As evidenced by the outcome of this election, there is so much hatred in this world of ours. There is so much polarization. There is so much that needs to be addressed. There is so much we must do as a nation, So, so, so many people are hurting.

Some wear their hurt on their sleeves. Others hide it. Some take their hurt out on others.

But let’s not forget: we’re all hurting.

Can we be kind to one another, striving to see our similarities instead of our differences? Can we help our neighbors in their times of need? Can we stand up for friends and strangers alike when they need advocates?

Because that’s what I want to do.

To those of you who are hurting and scared: I see you. I am here for you. I will stand next to you. I will fight alongside you.

And if you need help? There’s absolutely NO SHAME in asking for it. Please, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386). Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741-741.

Please, stand with me in kindness, friends.

Let’s be the change we wish to see in the world, even though the world doesn’t feel very bright or hopeful right now.

There is brightness in all of us, and if last week taught us anything, we should all use it for good.

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