Today I Sat On A Stump: Reflections on Election 2016

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Like I often do, I found myself with some downtime while on the road. Today, during my visit to Bandon, Oregon. Between my hotel check out time and my call time at today’s venue I had roughly three hours to kill. An hour was easily spent on a round-trip visit to the nearest Starbucks which was 20 miles away.

I had arrived to the Bandon area long after the sun had set the night before and had immediately glued myself to the television set in my hotel room to watch the election returns.

The beauty of the area was breathtaking. That I had missed the ocean directly across the street from my hotel speak heavily to my mental state the night before. The drive to the Coos Bay Starbucks was equally stunning.

Having just been in New York City just a day prior, being surrounded by skyscrapers, I found a jarring contrast to the environment that now enveloped me. Here were some of the biggest trees I had ever seen and the views were postcard perfection.

On my quest for caffeine I had spotted and made mental note of a turn off that looked like it would offer a pretty awesome view for an Instagram post (yes, I hate myself for that thought but I’m an adventurer who documents it all for the internet).

With plenty of free time and a lethal dose of corporate caffeine in hand, I made my way back to that spot.

At first my intention was to snap a quick picture and leave. I had no idea if I was allowed to be there and getting yelled at by local law enforcement was low on my to-do list for the day. I quickly learned that my path to the picture perfect spot was blocked by large chunks of a fallen tree. It looked as if the blockage might have been intentional and, as an ardent rule follower, I didn’t dare to venture further.

I was ready to abandon my mission when I noticed a stump sticking out from the mess of

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My stump and view.

fallen tree.

“Come, have a seat” It seemed to say. “Take some time…”

Let’s flash back about twelve hours before this moment:

I sat frozen in terror, mouth agape, staring at the television screen. It was over. Against all odds and reason, Donald J. Trump was elected president of the United States of America.

What. The. Actual. Holy Hell. Just. Happened?

My stomach, over the course of the night, had turned into a thick acid that kept trying to fight it’s way north. I felt nauseous, scared and heartbroken. I turned off the TV and, with tears in my eyes, fell asleep

For the record I am not an overly political person. I don’t discuss politics in any platform and will quickly shut down any in-person conversations on the topic. Like is too damn short and our beliefs and opinions are too engraved. Why bother?

To my credit, I have voted in every presidential election that has taken place since I was old enough to vote. I do my homework on everything on the ballot from people to policy. My choices are informed and based on more than pundits and SNL.

When it comes to the choices to be found on my ballot for this election- I honestly wasn’t a fan of anyone I was looking at. Stein and Johnson were out first and fast. Nothing against any of my friends who voted third-party but I couldn’t get behind any of the options.

A quick side note to the 11,000+ people who wrote in Harambe… I hope you step on a Lego while barefoot. GROW UP. Seriously. It’s old. LET. IT. GO.

When it came down to it. The one choice that made sense was Hillary Clinton.

Now. I can argue my reasons until my face is blue. I go honestly write PAGES on the topic and why the US government machine had destroyed Clinton. I’m not going there now or ever.

What’s done is done.

Back to today.

Despite my fear of getting yelled at, I took a seat on the stump and took in the world around me. Despite being the middle of the day, the nearby roadway was silence and the only noise was the sound of nature around me.

I sat in silence. Still, calm, and relaxed for the first time today.

While I sat there I took the time to reflect, not on the election but a little further back.

Just a two days ago I was running the New York City Marathon. It was the most difficult thing I think I have ever done in my entire life. The race was long and hard and nearly broke me both mentally and physically.

I thought about how, more often than not, the biggest obstacle to overcome in a long race like a marathon is your brain. It becomes a giant mental game to keep yourself going for 26 miles and there is no room for negative thoughts. You really become the Little Engine That Could. My mentality becomes “I know I can, I know I can. I’ve got this. Let’s do it.” Anything other than that is a death sentence.

The time came to leave my spot and head to work.

Driving around the area it was clear that I was deep in Trump territory. Funny enough, it was explained to me that while the state is strongly democratic, I was in the one sliver that leaned the other way.

I saw students wearing pro-Trump gear and my stomach churned.

It was in this moment that I was brought back to my nature reflection. Back to the race. Back to the idea of negativity.

There is a lot to be upset about with the outcome of this election. I am fearful for what the next four years will bring when it comes to basic human rights.

But there is no need for negativity. We’ve had way too much of that in this election. In this year.

Now is a time of action. Rather than feeling defeated and giving up I’m going to stand up and make sure my voice is heard. I will not give up. I will finish this race.

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