Exercises in Tranquility / by Will Ringland

Double X is extra failure

Double X is extra failure

I'm just gonna say that yesterday and today was and will not be very Tranquil days for me. I am legitimately upset by the results of the election and spent a portion of last night scared, angry, anxious, and ashamed about what the next weeks to months to years will look like for me, my friends, and marginalized groups in America.

Tranquility is defined thus:


a disposition free from stress or emotion

The primary way I have achieved this state is through regular meditation and reflection on days where my emotions, usually anger or self-0loathing, get the best of me. Today, I am filled with disbelief and loathing and shame at myself and my country. I am ashamed that systemic sexism and racism prevailed and a demagogue was elected. I am ashamed that the nataional dialogue for this election was how horrible Secretary Clinton was because of email. For myself, I am ashamed for exactly 1 reason: I will be fine in Trump's America.

Despite my disability, I am an (otherwise) able-bodied, come from upper-middle class, land owning, college educated, white male working in the tech industry. Everything about me and what I do will continue to receive privilege in Trump's America. In fact, I will probably benefit from Trump's America.

I do not need to benefit.

What I need is for my female friends to receive more pay than I when they are more competent, for my disabled wife to get more healthcare than I when she needs more, for my black friends to receive more protection from a racist police system, for my muslim friends to receive more freedom to practice their religion, for my immigrant friends to receive more security in their new home.

I do not need to benefit. I've benefitted enough. But I can take my privilege and, at a minimum, try to teach those around me what it means to be a white male in this society, how that can allow you to succeed despite (apparently) sexism and racism on a scale not seen since Germany in the 30s.

Keeping a tranquil helps keep my focused and aware of how the world works around me. It helps me when a coworker makes an ableist remark or a friend is casually racist, tranquility helps me respond calmly and maybe make them think about what they'd said.

If I can help teach people, maybe make them a little more aware to their privilege or lack there of, the world can get a little bit better in the next 4 years. A little more inclusive, a little more caring, a little more accepting.

That is a benefit I need. That is a benefit we all need.

Posted in