A Letter to America

The election is over, the ballots have been counted and a new president has been chosen. Is it as fair with this as with any other election to say democracy has spoken and yet, for so many of you, the outcome you see is the one you most feared.

It would be easy, at this point, to turn these few words into a bitter diatribe against your new president – a man noted for his racism, sexism and generally unethical nature – but now is not the time. A million words were used in the fight to prevent his win and they have not altered the uncertain future you now face. Re-hashing it all will make no difference.

Perhaps instead it is better to focus on the future, and on that crucial word ‘uncertain’, for in that word lies hope. For so many of you, the fear over what lies ahead looms, with visions of walls around Mexico, KKK resurgences and mass deportations all apparent possibilities. In the face of such eventualities, the future seems grim and frightening. Here, in the post-Brexit UK, there have been similar fears, and only a minority have been justified in comparison to the overall population. Our process is incomplete, our own future uncertain, but I say to you the same as to those of us in the UK:

You can fight this.

I am by no means inciting violence in these words. There are other ways in which we all can fight. Suffragettes marched, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus, hippies staged peace marches, rallies and sit-ins. There is always something you can do. In a world dominated by social media, voices are easily lost in the maelstrom, so don’t forget it is an ally AND a took. If you find yourself persecuted, find others who feel the same and make your voices heard. Protest peacefully, yet forcefully, and let social media spread your words. There is more strength in love than in hate. Remember that. Use it, and be better than the man who will guide your country. Be brave in the face of the fear he spreads. Spread love against his messages of hate. Now is the time to reject complacency in favour of the chance to make something – BE something – great. Your complacency is how he truly wins. Don’t let that happen.

America is YOUR country, not his, and you should fight like hell to keep it.

With love.

A Letter to America

Week 1: Success & Tragedy Under A New Regime

I’m officially a week into the new ‘regime’. Having finally accepted my post as general of my own life, the last week has been an effort to beat my lazy, recalcitrant inner teenager into submission.

Raw superfood energy balls

My successes, thus far:

  1. I’ve eaten a total of three chocolate biscuits in the last week, having sated the sugar fiend that lurks within with yoghurt, nuts and, when times are especially hard, a Deliciously Ella hot chocolate. I still crave biscuits but now I’m also craving nuts, which has created a whole new opportunity for innuendo-based hilarity in the house.
  2. Activity levels have, at last, increased! I’m not up to marathon (or even mini-marathon) standards but I’ve managed to cook! I’ve cleaned! I’ve gone to the shops and even out for walks. I honestly feel like hibernating but despite that, today, I’ve washed up, sorted out a cupboard, cooked (and eaten) banana pancakes, walked to the newsagents and cooked omelette muffins. This is an indescribably HUGE amount for me.
  3. Heaps of studying and writing have happened. There’s nothing I’m ready to inflict upon a general audience yet but there are things I’m happy with and that’s a first since I was, oh, 17?
  4. I FINALLY GET INSTAGRAM!!! Have you tried it? Once I got my head round it, it’s like a huge scrapbook of (carefully selected) moments from people’s lives, all perceived through the magic of filters. If you’d like a gander at my Instagram, it’s jessicavlane.
Studying Candide by Voltaire

I can’t really post this without saying something about the atrocities that occurred on Friday 13th November. What happened in Paris has been very much front-and-centre, while other tragedies have taken something of a back seat.

Over the last two days, every person from politician to celebrity to the everyday layman has shouted one opinion or another. The hashtag #PrayforParis has curried global support for survivors in Paris, yet has been shot down for using religion to fight religious extremists. While those who have suffered in the last few days try to pick themselves up, everyone is busying themselves with aggressive finger-pointing and petty arguments.

There are better ways. The incredibly outpouring of love and support from across the world is proof that in the darkness, there is always light, and when you really look at it, there is far more love in the world than darkness, if we allow ourselves to see it. Hate and anger is exactly what terrorists want, so we need to let go of the aggressive language. You can’t fight hate with more hate; you can only fight it with love and positivity. Follow the sage advice of the late John Lennon, and Give Peace a Chance.

Week 1: Success & Tragedy Under A New Regime