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The New American “normal” By Nia Hampton

Ever since El Cheeto has been elected president I wake up with a giggle. I scroll my social media feed and laugh out loud. My nervous laughter is how I’m coping with Donald Trump being President. You know times are hard when I have to remind myself that I survived George Bush’s presidency. I was only in middle school, but I remember how bad public schools were (and maybe still are?). I’m from Baltimore City, there is an entire season of “The Wire” dedicated to the “No Child Left Behind” Act. But then I remember last summer when my paperwork for Obamacare went through and I had access to free mental health services. My therapist was a black trans man. I remember going to group therapy, sitting in a very diverse circle of people as we all shared our anxieties. The group leader gave us pebbles to hold to “ground” us. I realized in group therapy that these techniques, given to me by a certified therapist, were the same techniques the elders in my community told me about. “Take your shoes off and walk in grass”, “drink water” “go to sleep at the same time everyday” very common things; for me. That manner of existing in the world was normal, for me. But others in the group were astounded. There were people from different walks of life how had never thought to hold a rock to “ground” them. That way of thinking or coping wasn’t normal to them.

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