Tuesday November 8th was my second presidential election. I was raised to always exercised my voting right, and it’s something I love to do. I even wore a white shirt. But then again, I went to the voting booth at 6 am wearing the clothes I had slept in.
I voted for Hillary Clinton.
Let’s get a few things out of the way.
- Yes, I chose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.
- No, I did not vote for Hillary because she is a female and I am a female.
- Yes, I woke up on November 9th feeling disappointed.
I was absolutely disappointed. I was even sad. I remember waking up at 5am unintentionally, and turning my tv on to find out who had won the election while I was sleeping. It was early and at first it didn’t sink in. I saw Donald Trump’s picture and saw his name again and again as state after state were shown in the color red. At first it didn’t mean anything to me, but as the morning went on, my disappointment and grief settled in.
I was glued to my tv for the rest of the morning as the news anchors discussed everything from how the polls got it wrong to how the campaign supporters were the picture representation of complete despair and complete excitement. I kept the news on up until the time I left for school. I tried not to pay attention. I tried to busy myself and to not let the outcome get the best of me and my thoughts. But even after turning the tv off, there it was.
All day long I tried everything I could to get my mind off what the hottest story of the day was. Music, Netflix, cleaning, running errands, homework. I tried everything and did all of my normal task in order to hopefully make myself feel better. But nothing worked.
My sadness was still in my mind. Yes I wanted my candidate to win, and yes I grieved that she lost.
However, what ultimately made me feel better was the love and acknowledgement of the people I love.
My mom called me that morning like she does almost every morning. But this call was different. It didn’t open with the normal “hey, what are you doing” followed by a usually funny story. No, that morning she asked me a genuine question. “How are you feeling?” That question made me feel like I was safe. Like I was in a space that I could open up and tell her whatever was on my mind. If I was sad, okay, if I was happy, okay. Whatever it was, she was there to listen. So I told her. I told her about how I was upset and that I was worried but I know that God is still present. She listened and she talked with me about how what I was feeling was okay. She gave me acceptance. We also reminded one another that it’s easy to get lost in the hate and negativity that was being splashed from every corner, but Christ calls us to love. We were shown love and given acceptance, and that is what we should do. We may be different from our friends, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends in light of our differences.
Her conversation meant so much to me, and I felt relieved to be able to speak so freely to someone.
I carried her conversation with me throughout the day, even though I was still in what could be considered shock, but ultimately what I felt was healing, realizing, and accepting the outcome.
My heart was once again grabbed in a tight hug when my significant other started to play my favorite song and sat next to me and held me close as it played. It was unexpected but so desperately needed. I needed that more than I even realized. He sat with me without saying any words and just let me take in the song while having him there. He knew how upset I was on that day and recognized that I needed even a short moment to feel seen. I thanked him for recognizing my disappointment, to which he told me, “I hope one day we have a women president.” He knew the weight of those words for me and probably knew how much that meant to me.
That phone call with my mom and the moment with my other half are what made me strong that day. Having the people I love so much tell me with their actions, “I know you are upset and disappointed, I am so sorry, and I am here for you”, was the most comforting thing I have ever felt.
There were no questions, no comments on how I should feel, no aggravated sighs or glances. Only the realization that I was hurting and needed their love; and that is exactly what I got.
There are countless people across our nation that are feeling the same way I did on Nov 9th but on an incredibly higher scale. I can’t imagine their escalated emotions and I won’t try to. What I will try to do is show those people the same free love, comfort, and acceptance that my family showed me. I felt like I had a place and somehow I did still matter, and that is what I want for every person in this nation.
That, friends, is how we come to unity. That is how we begin to heal. That is how we become great.