I am sorry, first, that I’m starting this during the aftermath of such a historic day. I’m motivated now more than ever, or maybe it’s that nothing else seems to matter. I am a college student in DC, reeling in the whiplash of the election last night.
Earlier on last night, when we had no doubt that we were about to have our first women president, I could still feel my heart pounding in my chest. I had no idea how I would handle the reality of a loss, but luckily, the poor shmuck that was past-me didn’t have to worry about that. She had no idea that her future self would be suffocating in still air, trying desperately to breathe under the sudden weight the country now found itself in.
The room was loud. Hundreds of college democrats stuffed into a ballroom that probably wasn’t meant to hold that many energetic young adults. The environment was charged with passion and excitement, infectious to be around and to witness. I could only think about the moment when it was called, and the screaming and cheering that would erupt, and the mad rush for the door. I was more concerned with whether I would get separated from my friends in the sprint to the white house, all I could think about what the excitement when we won.
I wasn’t prepared for a loss. I don’t know if any democrat was. The news of my home governor’s race came before the shift in battle ground states, a loss for our democratic candidate. Then the results came out faster and faster, stacks of red counties littered the floor like metaphorical leaves, slipping us up and covering our clasped hands.
When it was called, I don’t know. I had left the room where the wide projector displayed results like it was some kind of sick sporting event, left to call my parents and cry. I didn’t go back in after, I don’t know if I was physically capable. It was quiet on the upper floor, except a cleaning lady who was sweeping. I felt drugged, probably helped along by the shots I had taken to help with the stress (not an alcoholic, just a very emotional infant). When I say everything felt surreal, I mean I had to pinch myself to feel anything, to make sure the shapes around me were actually crying humans, to try to force myself to recognize that this was actually happening.
When I say it felt like a dream I don’t mean an exact nightmare, no, I think that will come later on. It felt like those dreams that you wake up from gasping, shaking and trying to remember what is real and what isn’t. It’s trying to orient yourself in an environment that you may be familiar with, but suddenly is tainted with the shadows of the dream. Except that this is real.
Horrified, distressed, shocked, in denial, fearful, depressed… countless words that attempt to sum up an indescribable feeling. I want to say I feel numb, but that’s only a fraction of the time. Numb is what fills in the cracks between the anger, hurt, and horror.
I’m angry that I live in a country where this could be a reality. I’m angry that homophobia, sexism and racism run rampant in this country. I’m angry that minorities in the country are afraid to tell their children that he won. I am mad about the “white-lash” from eight amazing years of a black president. I’m afraid for the lives of so many who will die because of hatred in the next four years. I’m angry that we as a nation weren’t strong enough to elect our first women president. I’m scared and angry, and if I think about what he can do, it overwhelms me and I feel like I am drowning again. There are too many horrible things to think about when it comes to what is going to happen.
But it’s not all fury. No matter what happens, there will be a tomorrow, and a day after that. There will be another election, but for the moment, it’s over. I don’t think there is an American alive right now who isn’t glad this is finished. Sure, half of us cried for most of last night, but it’s finally done . Now is the time to take care of each other, to focus on making someone else’s day a little better. Today we can grieve and cry. Sure, it might take more than just today, but we must also share love and kindness. Hate is everywhere, and it may be easy to bend to it, allow it to wash over us, but that’s not what Americans are known for, is it. We fight for what we believe in, even if it’s contested, even if most of the world knows it’s bat-shit crazy. I mean, isn’t this election proof that anything can happen? It’s time to fight, more than ever. It’s time to call up your senators and congressmen, time to send letters and emails, time to rally and scream until our voices are gone.
Today, I’m taking a break from the news. Today I’m going to watch Hillary’s speech and cry, and hide from the world until I feel a little more in control. Today I am going to mourn the loss of hope and try to accept reality. Today we remember how to breathe and smile. Because tomorrow is going to start at midnight. Tomorrow will be a little better. Tomorrow we are going to fight.