Twenty Days After Elections 2022: How Am I Coping with the Results?

Last May 9, millions of Filipinos trooped to the polling precincts to exercise their right to vote. Many considered this edition of national and local elections monumental as it was conducted in the time of COVID-19 pandemic. The contagious virus did not hamper the electorates in selecting the leaders of the country. Thankfully, there was no surge of transmission of the disease after the event. 

Supposedly, I am going to write a separate post about my voting experience and my reaction on the aftermath of the election. Unfortunately, I was not able to do that because of my busyness, and the absence of desire brought by the outcome. I did not have the enthusiasm to write the first week after the polls as it was heartbreaking in my part. 

The night before the 'judgment' day, the night was too calm. It was not windy compared to the previous nights. The leaves did not rustle. The silence was too loud. I thought of the moment as weird, awkward, and cryptic. "Is this a sign", I asked myself. "For what?", a follow up question I made. I analyzed why the night behaved that way. I interpreted it many angles. Maybe the heaven was telling me that tomorrow's event would be peaceful. Maybe the heaven was telling me that I should not worry about the fate of my candidates as he holds their futures. 

It was 11 in the evening and I was having a hard time to sleep. It was a hot evening and my hand was exerting its best effort of fanning myself with a handcrafted "buri" leaves fan. As a person with allergic rhinitis, I cannot stand with the air oscillated by an electric fan. It is not nose- friendly. I do not have the luxury to buy an air conditioner. The humidity was just secondary about why I was still awake. The main reason why I cannot sleep fast was because of my election anxiety. I prayed to God to help me in my struggle and to make my candidates win. After praying, I was still struggling. I grabbed my phone and read articles about how the candidates capped off their campaign. I set my alarm at 4:30 to watch on TV the start of election coverage. 

The special day came and I woke up at 6 AM. It was late as my family planned to go to the polling place not later than 7 PM. However, the plan did not prosper as we all had problem of sleeping. We rushed things that morning. I just ate biscuits and drank my favorite hot chocolate drink since my childhood days. I did not turn on our TV as we had no time to watch. We bathed quickly and groomed in our most comfy clothes. Before leaving our house, we knew that we would brace long queue. I already joined four elections: once for presidential elections, twice for midterm elections, and once for barangay elections. This year is my second time to vote for the highest post of the land. Based on my voting years, I can say that one must be early going to the election precinct to avoid the long line. Until now, I have not learned my lesson. 

We reached Tondol Elementary School at 7:40 AM. As we entered the premises, we met people on our way who were done casting their votes earlier than us. We were welcomed by health personnel to check our temperature and spray disinfecting alcohol to our hands. Strict observance of health protocol was imposed. After passing by the area, I told my father and my grandmother to sit for a while for me to find our precinct. I went to the room where we used to vote before, but it has housed another clustered precincts. Locating became easy as I saw my relatives lining outside the room where our precinct was placed. 

We got our numbers. My grandma was 169, my father was 170, and I was number 171. My mother, sister, and my brother who reached the school next us were also in 170s-180s. The one hundred twentieth voter had just admitted that time. We patiently waited for our turn. After many minutes, we learned that one voter had collapsed while casting his ballot. We were intrigued about what happened. Many speculated that the person had hypertension. He was brought to the rural health unit in our town. We looked for answers on why the man experienced that. Someone relayed to us that the adult did not eat his breakfast. I became anxious as I did not a rice meal. That time, my stomach was churning. I should not experienced what the man had. I asked for a biscuit from my mother. It was a relief as I had something to eat while waiting for my time. I assisted my lola in voting. We brought a list of names for us to have easy voting. I was too careful in shading the circles beside the names of our candidates. I also assisted my father. I saw other voters who were faster than. In our case, I talked to both of them about the candidates running and if they are sure to their candidates before I shade. They were happy that their votes were counted. 

When it was about my turn, my hands were shaking. I did not feel the tense when I was helping my lola and tatay in finishing their ballots. I prayed to God that I would shade the circles properly, and for my candidates to be victorious. I breathed deeply before opening the cap of the special pen. I felt like I was taking a test that could make or break my future. There was no room to commit mistake. I had only one ballot to take care of. I made sure that I was shading the right circle by reading the names of my candidates well. It took me three minutes for that. Then, I lined up towards the vote counting machine. I suddenly remembered the time when I was the one assisting the electorate in inserting their ballots and pouring indelible ink on their fingernails. I did my best to protect my ballot. I would feel happy if the machine would count my vote. I witnessed ballots that were rejected by machine because of unnecessary marks made by some voters especially on the timing marks. When I was in front of the machine, I talked to the third member about the condition of the machine. I was praying it will not malfunction. The machine swallowed the ballot and gave us about ten-second waiting time. The machine indicated that my vote was counted. I was told by the member that I was the two hundredth voter in our precinct. I reviewed the receipt, dropped it in a box and exclaimed that my candidates would emerge as victors. 

My family member and I finished voting around 9 AM. We bought food in the stalls outside. We bought hamburgers, palamig, and pinapaitan for lunch. When we reached home, I ask my brother to take photos of me showing my finger with ink. We did not look for Instagrammable place in our home. I just need something that I could put on my blog. He did not fail me as I received a decent one. While waiting for the results, I decided to turn on our TV. However, the digital box updated itself that prevented me to watch the election coverage until the afternoon. Because of that, my brother and I decided to go to our relatives living by the sea. The calm, inviting sea, welcomed us. We had short conversations with our other grandma, auntie, and cousin. We were praying for better results. At 1:45 PM, we bade goodbye for us to take the afternoon nap. My cousin and her mother asked us if they could ride in our tricycle. We opted to drive them going to school. 

We reached our home at 2 PM. I went to my bed quickly and fell asleep. I woke up 4 PM and checked if our digital box was done updating itself. After hours of waiting, I was able to watch the current events. For the entire day, I only gather news from my social media account and YouTube. That time, three hours was left before the polls closed. However, I saw some of my friends sharing figures about canvassing of votes. It was fake as the transmission would just start at 7 PM. That's why I was active posting on my My Day about how many hours left before the closing of polls. Fake news contents are rampant online and many fall to these. 

After three hours, precincts started to transmit results. I was nervous facing my laptop, waiting for news sites show the votes. After minutes of waiting, partial, unofficial results showed. At first, I was optimistic that my candidates could catch up the lead. Another update was made and I was not smiling. My bets needed a miracle to win. I stopped following up the count that time. I felt like I was drained. I did not spent much time browsing my Facebook as people were toxic there. Before sleeping, I made a final check of the latest update. Most of my candidates were losing. It would be one of the hardest nights to cap off. 

I had two hours only sleeping. I woke up early as I accompanied my sister in renewing her license. I asked my head me to allow me to travel as I also looked for a dermatologist to solve my acne. We left our town at 4:30 AM. I told myself that I could sleep during our trip. However, my soul did not cooperate with my body. I observed the roads and houses we passed by. The tarpaulins were still hung in the gates, fences, and anywhere along the road where campaign paraphernalia can be posted or installed. There were few who were now on the street talking. What are they talking about? I do not know. Maybe the outcome of the recently held elections especially in their municipalities. The eyes could not stop looking at the materials of the candidates I entrusted my vote. I was downhearted as the things I visualized on my mind would not happen as the leaders I believe that are the best did not make it. 

After more than two hours of trip, we reached Calasiao where my sister had her appointment. We went to a fast food chain to eat breakfast. My sister and I dined there talking about how the elections had transpired. While eating, we saw a couple watching the speech of a candidate that we voted. Their eyes were fixated while savoring their food. We speculated that they also supported that candidate. We did not observe them much as it would disturbed them. I cannot conclude well, but I felt they were also sad. 

We left the establishment for us to be in the front of the line. We stepped on the grounds of the mall before 8 AM. While strolling, my sister said, "We always lose." That was a striking one-liner from her. I was speechless for seconds. I did not what would be the best reply about her statement. "That's how the elections work," I replied. Inasmuch as I want to do a post-election analysis, I could not as I was tired and I was disheartened. I wanted to start the conversation what could my candidates tweaked on their campaign, but I saved it when we got home. But, as we continue walking, I asked myself about why we always lose. 

We reached the entrance of the mall, closed. We patiently waited for it to be opened. Again, my patience was tested. I promised I would not scroll my FB news feed, but I failed. I had my time drenching in the toxicity of the community. I only lasted for few minutes. I could not withstood the exchanges of opposing thoughts of the netizens. The mall opened. My sister went to the PRC office while I looked for skin care establishments. Our transactions finished before lunch. We were home around 5 PM. 

That night, I watched some video clips about political analysts' stances on the recently held elections. Those were bitter pills to swallow, but I finished watching them. I went to Twitter to read the thoughts of people I follow. Sadness walloped me again. That night, I underwent the five stages of grief. I did not cry maybe because I prepared myself about the possibilities that would transpire. Some people say it is just an election. I hope these people would not invalidate the feelings of those who cannot get over with the result. Maybe some are still not moving on. I understand them. 

It is the twentieth day since Elections were held. I made the following steps for me to cope with the results. 

1. Reaching out- I talked to my relatives about the results of the elections. I sent messages to my friends and exchanged thoughts as our way of processing the result. People need comforting words to alleviate the pain. 

2. Watching videos- I found entertainment on TikTok and YouTube. Funny skits save my nights. However, I cannot being emotional on watching clips about the campaign trails and people's reminiscence of their attendance in campaign rallies. They really poured their hearts out and I understand their pain. I was thankful that my candidate made livestreams on Facebook. Seeing the person thanking her supporters makes me calm. 

3.  Getting busy- I focused on my job. I made sure that I would devote time on my job despite the election anxieties. Life must go on. I am moving forward. 

This election was not favorable for me, but I accept it. I respect the majority as they just exercised their right. I just pray that all the winning candidates will do their respective mandates well. Going back to my sister's statement, we need to accept that losing is part of democracy. It is how the system works. What we need to do is still be active in the government by doing our part. Voting is not the end of the process. One must watch and willing to support the government's plans and criticize if there is a need. The government must be willing to listen to all sides including feedbacks in order to make the country better. In losing, we can learn many things. We must accept the results wholeheartedly, move forward, and be better. Maybe in the next elections, the favor would be for us. 

Post a Comment