November 9th was supposed to be the day Trump went away forever so that I could get on with my life. When that didn’t happen and I kept waking up in the morning, I knew I had some soul-searching to do. That man got deep inside my mind.
I lost all interest in men for three solid months. I was depressed and not enjoying anything anymore.
I had to explain this to guys that approached me. Some pointed out that if I let him ruin my enjoyment of things, he wins. Now, I’m no dummy — these guys were saying that to get in my pants. But they also happened to be right. And I knew it.
This intrusive persona that barged into all of our lives disturbingly mirrored my own shortcomings; narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, shallowness, and hypocrisy. My business was suffering because I just could not focus. My negativity drove people away, and the worst thing was that I could see it. I didn’t normally have that effect on people. I was failing, and that motherf****r was president of the United States. I needed a way out, and Canada was not an option. Fix your mind, I thought. And don’t be like that guy.
I started meditating, and eventually got back on Tinder with the resolve to start enjoying life again.
Looking back now, I realize I inadvertently followed advice I dispensed many times to friends looking for love. Be a better person first, then you will attract what you’re looking for.
I’ve never actively looked for love myself, perhaps because I believe in being a better person first. That’s not to say I didn’t use dating apps, I was on all of them. But I would get annoyed any time a guy asked what I was looking for; this question assumed I knew what I wanted. I didn’t. I just knew I was single. And as much as I believed in being my best self first, my interpretation of this philosophy was rather shallow. There were no spiritual or moral implications to it. I was just a girl that lost a bunch of weight once and suddenly knew what it was like to have an abundance of romantic options to choose from. Be better, attract more. This unfortunate, shallow lesson was internalized.
By the time I got back on Tinder I had my meditation habit well-established. I was doing it every morning for at least twenty minutes and often again in the evening. I was going through some profound changes, including the way I swiped.
I wanted someone that shared my values. I live in Florida, where the chances of meeting a Trump supporter are fifty-fifty.
It hadn’t been on my radar much before the election. But afterwards, when the ‘silent majority’ came out of the woodwork, the need for a vetting system became apparent to me. In the beginning it was crude, I’d just ask any guy that started a convo who he voted for. His supporters would act incredulous and accused me of being discriminating. I made no apologies. When it comes to deciding who to be intimate with, who doesn’t discriminate?
I thought for sure I wanted a Bernie supporter. I had changed my bio to read “looking for a man that feels the Bern in his heart and not in his pants.” There was one guy that I thought I was
really going to like who described himself as a journalist and democrat. He ghosted on me. Then there was one that had a photo of himself meditating. Promising, I thought. Until he showed up to our date smoking a cigarette.
The discipline, focus, and positivity that came with meditation brought more discernment. The fact that I was getting serious about my own life meant that I raised the standard on what I was looking for. I still didn’t consider myself to be actively looking for a relationship, but I was definitely interested in men that would be more congruent with my new mindset.
Admittedly, there was a guy that I swiped based on attractiveness. I didn’t pay him much attention at first; he didn’t display any obvious signs of what I was looking for. He was just cute, with a bio that read “likes to chill harder than party.”
He started a convo and I immediately broached the topic of Trump to gauge his political position. He said he preferred to not take sides or be part of any movement. I was not impressed.
This clearly was not the Bernie supporter I was looking for. I got on my high horse and pontificated on the importance of being vigilant and resisting normalization. I just wanted him to go away. Taken aback he politely defended his position and I found myself oddly receptive. He asked if perhaps I was too emotionally driven. Yes, and that’s how we ended up with Trump, I thought. I humbly conceded the point. He went on to say that he was just trying to be the best person he could be and radiate qualities of respect, patience and resilience. “Be the person you’re meant to be and the world will follow you” was his philosophy. It certainly resonated.
It was at that point that I realized I knew nothing about him. I almost wrote him off without knowing any details. I apologized and asked some questions. I learned that he’s from India and had been in the states for three years on a student visa. I had been in the states for over 20 and only got passionately invested in politics after becoming a citizen. I felt terribly for judging him the way I did.
Still, I continued challenging him with political positions and he continued to reveal himself to me. He seemed to be thoughtful, kind, intellectual, disciplined, trustworthy, honest, humble, and even athletic. He was all those things you wouldn’t dare hope for in a single person-especially in a city like Miami — for fear of being sorely disappointed. Before our first date, I told my friend that he looked cute, but also seemed like a beautiful human being. Yes, I actually used those words to describe a Tinder match. But this is Miami, so I wasn’t banking on it. He was probably just on his best behavior to get a date. Or maybe he had an awkward vibe and a funny voice.
When we met I found him to be uncomfortably good-looking. I could barely look at him without getting distracted.
After my eyes and brain adjusted we proceeded to have the best first date either of us had ever had. It was one of those dates that easily could’ve lasted a couple days. But after a few hours I decided to go home and process what had happened. At this rate, I knew I was going to fall in love. In the weeks that followed I witnessed him live up to all his words and more. He would send texts that read like poetry and recoil at music with misogynistic lyrics. He started meditating. He was the opposite of everything that ailed me just a couple of months earlier.
Looking back I reckon I have Trump to thank for all of it.
Not Trump the president — Trump the mental condition. I’m grateful because it allowed me to clearly see everything I didn’t want to be, and made me strive to be a better person. I’m grateful because it led me to find a partner for my journey, and a relationship that is an instrument for growth. I’m grateful for the love I never even knew to look for.