In January this year, my English husband got his U.S. citizenship. One of the questions he was asked during the citizenship process was, “How will you contribute to the country?” He’d been thinking about that for some months when the current City Council of our town had the opportunity to enact a policy to fly the pride flag during the month of June. A few of the members were against it.
That, coupled with the fact that a minority middle school student in our town had committed suicide during the Spring semester (because of racially motivated bullying), nudged my husband toward running for City Council.
He’s a good man (whom I love), and he made a good decision.
But this post is not about that. This post is about what happens when a trauma survivor’s husband runs for City Council.
At first, it seemed fine.
The (amazing, female) Mayor backed him, other members of the City Council were supportive. And one of them agreed to team up with him to improve both of their chances of winning two open seats for the 2023-7 City Council.
There was a campaign kickoff event, and I went with my daughter, who seems to be a natural at public speaking and supporting her candidate (despite her age of 13 years).
But I am an introvert. And a trauma survivor. I don’t react the way most people do.
I felt exposed. I felt guilty when I didn’t want to go door-to-door to drum up support. At the various events we attended during the campaign, I felt like an outsider at worst, completely awkward at best.
Deep down, I started thinking about why I was feeling so uncomfortable. But it makes sense. As an introvert, I wasn’t comfortable meeting so many new people in such a short period of time. As a trauma survivor, I was feeling unsafe.
When the UPS guy delivered a package to our house and asked if I’m related to the guy with the same name on the signs all over town, I automatically said yes before realizing what an indicator that was of just how exposed I was feeling.
My relation to the candidate was obvious – the package had the same name as the guy running for office. But did I feel safe being known?
It felt like too much.
And I thought, of course, how am I able to protect my daughter if somebody figures out where we live? About a week ago, Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked in his own home, and the perpetrator was looking for her when he broke in.
While I know being a member of City Council in a small town is not on the same level, all I can think is, it takes just one whacko for something to happen. Just one.
The election has been a bit ugly as well. Because the main person my husband has been running against opposes the pride flag and seemingly only cares about police funding (versus the very real racial issues in this town), the race has been divisive.
And here I am, in my own town, not feeling safe.
I’d like to say that I’ve resolved my feelings of concern, but that wouldn’t be true. That just doesn’t square with the persona of a multi-trauma survivor.
I know my husband will be amazing in the role. He’ll help make very important changes to our town, changes that we need. And I’m all for that. I just want to acknowledge that my sense of safety is altered.
All indicators are that my husband will win his seat. And now I’m debating where to go to shop for groceries. It seems completely reasonable to drive 30 minutes away so that I can shop in anonymity. Right?
What do you think? Join the discussion through the comments here.