I’d like to let you all know that I’m trying to play it super cool when writing the first sentence of my column this semester, but to be honest the only thing that’s going through my head right now is a loop of Eminem’s seminal classic “Without Me.” I would not characterize this as a very “chill” thing to be revealing to readers, so I’m just going to abandon any semblance of nonchalance I still have and come out and say…
And I’m so, so thrilled and excited and happy about it and I don’t care who knows it! Hooray for the Observer! Hooray for columns! Hooray for writing and for self-expression!
Okay, so for those who have finished reading the first few paragraphs and have no idea what I’m talking about, let me backtrack a little bit. The first semester of my junior year, I was given the chance to write for the Observer as a columnist. I took this platform as an opportunity to tell the world the story of how during freshman orientation week I convinced all of Tufts campus that I was a famous tennis player.
Yes. This was, in fact, a real thing that I did. It also worked surprisingly well and a lot of people believed me, despite the fact that the last formal tennis lesson I ever took was in the eighth grade.
After revealing to the Tufts community that I was a pathological liar, I decided to follow every privileged White student’s dream and attempt to #findmyself by studying abroad. As I was so busy living my truth abroad (did I mention that I spent time living outside of the United States?! It was crazy!) I did not write a column for the Observer. Last semester, I returned from abroad (update: have yet to #findmyself) and continued to not write a column for the Observer. This semester, however, I am writing a column for the Observer. Hence, the above statement of “I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.”
And now you’re all caught up!
This semester, I wanted to take my column in a bit of a different direction than I did in the past. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed telling stories of my elaborate attempts to create false identities and lie to the Tufts community, I think that, given the current political climate, we could all use a little more truth in our lives.
So, I’d like to take this as an opportunity to share some of my truth with you all (to live my truth, if you will)—I’m having a pretty rough time right now.
I am also well aware that I am not the only person in the world who feels this way. Living in Trump’s America (A.K.A. an increasingly fascist and totalitarian state/whatever the fuck you want to call what is going on right now) is certainly not easy for most people that are not cis-White-heterosexual males. And, while I am certainly not one of those, I also recognize that, as a White-cis-bordering on upper middle class lady, I hold a certain amount of privilege in this world. I have a safety net that many of my peers do not have while navigating the horrendous, discriminatory, disgusting policies of “Trumpland.”
I want to say this because I think it’s important to state the reality of my positionality and privilege while also acknowledging that these past few weeks have been really fucking hard for me. As a queer woman who is afraid of a possible executive order attacking L.G.B.T.Q. rights, as a Jew who is alarmed by the potential of Steve Bannon being in a position of power on the National Security Council, as an individual who is trying her best to be a good ally for P.O.C., Muslim, refugee, low-income, immigrant, undocumented, and so many other people, but always feeling like she falls short of really showing up for these folks…
….I am struggling. I am struggling to find balance. Balance between advocating for and resisting policies that may attack aspects of my marginalized identities while maintaining equal vigor and active allyship in fighting for others who hold identities different than my own. I am struggling to find balance between active resistance—going to rallies, protests, teach-ins – and prioritizing my mental health, going to the gym, doing my homework, job searching, and finding happiness in my day and in my last semester at Tufts.
I’m struggling because it has barely been two weeks and I don’t know what to do. So I’m looking for advice and inspiration from where I stand, looking at the closest thing around me: my community and friends.
I want to see and explore how my community is feeling, how we are coping, how we are practicing self-care, and how we are resisting.
Throughout the semester, I’d like to use this column as a medium to explore these questions. And I want to hear from whoever is willing to share their stories with me. I want to hear from you. I want to use this column to amplify voices, not to speak over stories. It is my hope that each story I hear and share can serve as a little nugget of resistance, joy, and learning for anyone who’d like to read it.
So email me, call me, text me, beep me, facebook inbox me, slide into my dm’s, send a carrier pigeon, send a smoke signal, yell directly at my face. Basically, just contact me in whatever way you would like. I can’t wait to hear from you.
Kate Hirsch The Famous Tennis Player