(The Freeman) - May 19, 2019 - 12:00am

The day after the elections started with me feeling helpless, confused, and incredulous with the results. To get back some sense of control, I dressed up for work. And I spent the rest of the day trying to make sense of it all.

Scrolling through my newsfeed meant that I had to read many opinions on why the senatorial elections went the way they did. Some people vented. Some people called for perseverance and others resorted to humor through memes. I realized that I didn’t really need to read their analysis; I just wanted not to feel alone in my frustration. And that helped a little.

It also helped that I had like-minded friends at work. My colleagues were as frustrated as I was – at least the ones I conversed with. Like me, they were trying in their own way to make sense of the situation.

After work, I dropped by an adoration chapel and it was only there that I realized that the dominant mood I’d had all day wasn’t so much confusion or frustration, it was weariness. I was emotionally spent trying to remain hopeful all day when all I really wanted to do was crawl into a deep cave and sleep for the next three years.

I really love my country. And I make a conscious effort to teach my students to love it too, despite all its flaws. But I found it hard to love the voters who didn’t vote the same way I did (as petty as that sounds) at that particular moment. And I found it hard to feel any sense of pride and hope.

So when I finally got home, I decided to lose myself in the world of fiction. There at least, stories could be neatly tied up in a bow. And I could choose to immerse myself in the story that made me feel good about the world. I re-watched the last 20 or so minutes of “Avengers Endgame.” I found myself thoroughly engrossed and envious at a world where superheroes can save the day through integrity, teamwork, self-sacrifice, courage, and perseverance – with, of course, a dash of superhuman powers. If the Philippines ever needed superheroes to clean up our government, now would be a perfect time.

I know no costumed superhuman heroes will come. We all have to be our own heroes. The next day, or the next week, I’ll re-watch the movie for the nth time. And maybe then, I can remind myself that we’re not at the endgame yet. That there are still movies and stories that are yet to play out, and that, maybe, just maybe, some people (especially the newly elected leaders) will surprise me. But for now I will be kind to myself. I will allow myself to feel deflated and defeated. I will not fast-forward this process of coming to grips with what is here and now. Facing reality is a feat in itself and maybe that’s all we can do for now. Tomorrow will bring its own dragons to slay.

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