In hindsight I knew he would win. The truth hurts. When I go deep and acknowledge the situation honestly, I knew that, despite the misogyny, the lies and the arrogance, Donald Trump was tapped in and listening. We are shocked, angered and in denial because we don't want this reality. "We" didn't see it coming because we lived in a bubble, punctuated and confirmed by our community of mommy blogs, conscious parenting and the entitlement that accompanies privileged education and freedom of thought. We knew that there was a basket of deplorables, but those people are not us.
I knew Donald Trump would win because his victory accompanied a feeling that was familiar to my body. It was the same feeling I get when a patient shares or comes to me with a devastating diagnosis. They don't know how this could have happened to them. They were educated, went to the gym, and ate healthy food. Cancer? "This cannot be happening to me."
But you see, that's the thing about hindsight. Once the dust has settled and the shock wears off, you start to appreciate that there were signs -- you just chose not to listen. When I describe what I do, I talk about a river. I say that when you are drowning, Western Medicine will pull you to shore, resuscitate you and get you on your feet. It is an important contributor to our society. My interest, however, is in hanging out upstream to help understand why you fell in in the first place.
Disease is the cumulative combination of our habits and daily denial.
When I look at blood work or listen to you talk about your health and lifestyle, I am not just looking for metrics and insight that assure me you are "fine," I am looking for insight that tells where your system is compensating, where there is pressure and how we can prevent the catastrophic alignment of your body's warning signs and your genetic predispositions.
Literally and figuratively, we are not conditioned to listen to birds. It takes sirens and jackhammers for us to notice that there is a world beyond our immediate paradigm and needs. When we fail to listen or deny that there is noise, we underestimate the magnitude of the situation. Signs of inflammation, poor blood sugar management or similar markers of chronic disease often exist for years before it is detected on blood work. We make choices and establish habits that are blatantly detrimental to our bodies, but are incapable of responding until we cross a line, until that diagnosis is made.
When that happens, we are angry, dumbfounded... shocked. We never go from "fine" to "diseased" overnight. Disease is the cumulative combination of our habits and daily denial. The challenge with our modern, educated lifestyle is that taking the time to learn how to swim or listen to the sound of an impending current is always put off for another day.
Two days later, following a few unexpected cries and a great deal of self-reflection, I am able to admit that I saw this coming. Donald Trump's win was our alarming blood work. It was the democratic, society-wide version of the objective findings that confirmed that the symptoms were not imagined. The headaches, fatigue and weight gain, they were real, and now, in hindsight, they are starting to make sense.
Like chronic disease, Donald Trump is reversible, but not without stepping up and doing the work.
Donald Trump's win is the manifestation of our chronic disease and we are faced with two choices.
There are medications that will manage our blood sugar, cholesterol and maybe even the accompanying depression. We can take those meds and they will buy us some time. The alternative is that we can start to listen. We can select better food, opt for better sleep and have those difficult conversations. We can stop denying that certain foods rob of us energy, that Diet Coke is the same thing as water and that walking across the parking lot is akin to going to the gym.
Parents everywhere (or at least on my privileged Facebook feed) are promising their children that this will never happen again. They are vowing to protect their kids from the deplorable example of leadership that just avowed itself of the oval office. The first five weeks following a heart attack is the most important time to introduce lifestyle changes for patients. Experts in cardiovascular rehabilitation know that this is the window where people are concerned enough to take action and to listen.
If we are going to protect our kids, it will not come by fighting this new leader, it will start when we step up as leaders ourselves. It means listening and understanding the source of the noise. We wanted Hilary, a woman and sane leadership so badly that we were willing to ignore the signs that signalled it's impending defeat. Don't dismiss what you hear with an over the counter pain medication or flick of the channel, really try to understand what's happening upstream and how you can be part of the solution.
Like chronic disease, Donald Trump is reversible, but not without stepping up and doing the work. We got ourselves into this place and I am confident we can turn this around.
Donald Trump is not our Stage 4 cancer, he is our wake-up call. And maybe, one day, we will thank him for that.
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