Maria Shriver's Memories & Today's Kids... from families on both sides of the aisle speak out
Nov 5, 2020
A friend and recent Stone Soup Ripple participant sent me Maria Shriver's midweek issue of Maria Shriver's Sunday Paper. Reading her words, she shares a unique perspective on what is happening now, as an adult and when she was a child growing up in a family immersed in politics. An excerpt is below.
Children can so easily be overlooked when “important” things are happening in the adult world. The same goes for teens, but they’re not alone.
Right now, we are all waiting to be heard. With this election year’s record turnout, our voices, in the form of ballots, are being counted. Every vote, every voice should be counted. This is listening, a skill that is easily overlooked....
Which brings me to next week. If you were at one of the screening salons in my Summer series, Connection & Belonging, you met Erahm Christopher. This is what his work and mission is about. Erahm is my Featured Guest for all four salons of my Fall Screening Salon Series LISTEN, LEARN... SPEAK, intentionally scheduled to begin a week after Election Day. (Erahm is Canadian and I am a dual Swiss and American citizen… I assure you, this series is definitely not about power, politics or talking "at" people.)
In the first salon next Tuesday, we’ll be experiencing his public service announcement (PSA) Dear Voter. We’ll also experience an animated short, Powerful Words, about a boy's little sister who is mentally-challenged (her brother is the voice is the short).
Here is the link to Dear Voter, https://youtu.be/NqoS-Yv0yww with my deepest hope that the voices of these children from Republican and Democrat families will heard and acknowledged by our leaders. Also my gratitude goes out to those working so hard to assure that our ballots are counted.
Please join Erahm and me and share this opportunity with your circles. I know you’ll be glad you did. Whether you are a student, teacher, parent, voter of any persuasion, content creator, content consumer, caregiver, therapist, significant other, sibling or friend... I know this NON-partisan series is for you... and for us as well.
Hoping you can be with us next week and/or any of the three Tuesdays after that,
EXCERPT: 11/4/20 SUNDAY PAPER MIDWEEK - Maria Shriver
I've Been Thinking...
Hi there. How are you feeling on this day? Check in with yourself before you read on…
It’s okay not to be okay today. I certainly wasn’t okay when I went to bed. I hit the hay way too late. I ate way too much. I bit off my nails. I didn’t have the evening I thought I was going to have. It felt reminiscent of 2016 at times. It was a total roller coaster. (I'm writing this as the election has yet to be called.)
I know most of us are waking up feeling confused, sad, angry, bewildered. Most of all just exhausted. We’ve all been through a lot, and while we have been through it together, we have also all gone through it in our own personal way. It’s brought up so much for so many, so go easy today...
For me, election nights bring up so many emotions, so many memories, and even some trauma that I can feel in my body. When I close my eyes and get still, I can recall my very first election night. It was in 1960—before many of you might have even been born! I remember all the adults around me were swirling. They were anxious and yelling. They were nervous and high strung. Everyone was running in and out of rooms, on the telephone, acting out of sorts.
I remember feeling stressed and anxious, even afraid. I didn’t understand what was going on. We all went to bed not knowing the outcome of the election we were watching. We woke up to find out my uncle had been elected president! As a child, this was a lot to experience and to take in.
I also remember election night in 1972, like it just happened last night. My dad was the vice-presidential candidate on the McGovern/Shriver ticket running against Nixon. I remember standing on the stage with him in a big hotel ballroom in Washington, DC as he conceded. I remember looking out and thinking to myself, I hate politics. I hate everything about it. I will never ever have anything to do with it again. I remember thinking, I hate how personal this rejection feels. I hate that my father could be rejected in such a deep, personal, and resounding way.
It was brutally painful. It also felt really embarrassing.
I remember going home seeing all the Secret Service officers packing up their equipment. All the volunteers were gone. I got in my bed and wept. I even refused to go to school the next day because I felt so humiliated. I was angry about it for a very long time...
So today I’m thinking of all those who have won and those who have lost. I thank them all for stepping into the arena. I’m thinking of their families who also go into the arena, whether they like it or not. I’m also thinking of all the emotions that are out in the atmosphere today and about how we can all begin to heal. Yes, heal. Healing takes time, trust me, I know...
First, I’m going to honor the trauma that comes up in me around election nights. I’m going to work with the emotions that come up—in me and around me—about those who don’t see what I see and feel what I feel. For those who didn’t vote the way I voted. I’m going to work on asking those feelings to step aside to make room for my higher self to take the lead...
We’ve all got to do our part. We’ve all got to bend, listen, stay open, and stay the course. Because if we don’t each do our parts to work toward unity, understanding, and healing, we will descend into darkness, anger, and hate. We will become what we say we are not. We will inhabit our worst selves...
So today is about... realizing that others also have wounds. It’s about understanding that people worked really hard for different people... And it’s about talking to our children, to our friends, and to ourselves.
When I think back to those memorable election nights, I wish someone had sat with me the day after. I wish someone had asked me about my anger, my sadness, my fear, my loss, my shame. I truly think that if they had I wouldn’t have been so mad for so long. I wish someone had sat with me to talk about how people that don’t vote for you aren’t the enemy, they are people, too. They are people who are scared, who have shame, who have had different life experiences—and that the beauty of our elections is that we each have equal say
So today be that person for someone else. Be that person for yourself... As usual, it’s up to us. As the Hopi poem says, we are the ones we have been waiting for. Now let’s build what we’ve been waiting for and what we’ve worked for.
Let’s build what we deserve.
Fired up, ready to go.