On Nov. 9, I didn’t know what to do. My usual soul-rejuvenating activities (cross stitching, catching and releasing spiders from The Daily Tar Heel bathroom, stress cooking) didn’t seem like enough.
So I sat down on my favorite bench behind Carroll Hall for a few hours, and I wrote a letter to my younger sisters. This is for anyone who could use an older sister right now:
I want everything for you. I want you to live in a world where you are respected and valued and treated with the same open kindness and dignity with which you treat everyone you come across and I want you to have that as the standard for how you should be treated. Don’t take it for granted, but know you deserve it, and fight for it.
Know your worth and defend it. Defend the worth of those who cannot. Lifting one another up does not diminish you — we grow and change the best when we grow and change together.
You will be OK. Things, right now, are not OK. But you’ll be OK. You’ll be OK because you know it’s your responsibility right now not to be cynical and not to close yourself off and not to ever give up.
Don’t joke about moving to Canada. It was never funny, and you are more clever than that. This country needs you. North Carolina needs you. Dig deep and care for your community.
Look out for one another, OK? Keep an eye out and your arms open. Give liberally of your love and support, and don’t close yourself off from accepting it.
Don’t complain about school so much. Spending seven hours a day for five days a week doesn’t have to be the soul-crushing brain drain you tell me it is on the phone every couple days. Try to think of it as seven hours to spend ridiculous amounts of time with hundreds of classmates, some who you don’t know at all yet, some who you might never agree with and many who could really use a friend right now.
Show them you’re in their corner. Let them know with your words and actions. Hold yourself accountable for this. It’s easy not to speak up and to let others go on hurting when you’re also hurting.