Last night, I went to bed before knowing the election results. In the back of my mind, I truly believed that a Trump presidency was impossible. I woke up at 5:30 this morning terrified from a nightmare in which Trump had won. Then, I checked the internet and realized that he had won. I laid back down and prayed to wake up. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep again. I pinched myself. I did everything possible to wake myself from what I was convinced was still a nightmare.
Except it was real.
I cried in my bed for over an hour. (I should mention that the last time I cried for this long was last April; I rarely cry.) Trying to stop the tears was like trying to stop a boulder from rolling down Everest. Still, I managed to compose myself enough for the rest of the day. I went to the gym. I went to my classes. I went to my job as a tutor. For the whole day, I fought the urge to cry. This is not because “my candidate lost.” It is because I am truly terrified for my safety and the safety of those I love. It is because I am furious that the President-Elect will likely take away the rights of many minority groups, including women and LGBTQ+ individuals. It is because I am disappointed that my country, my home, would vote for a man who has consistently been shown to detest people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ+ individuals, and women.
This fear, anger, sadness, it is visceral. These emotions have a depth that I could not comprehend until this moment. They cut deep and leave wounds that take time to heal, and t is my sincerest wish that you never experience them for yourself.
Sometimes, I found myself tearing up for other reasons. Calls and texts from friends flooded my phone, and they were the best part of this dark day. I would like to thank them all for these small acts of kindness and compassion. There was student in my tutoring session who told me she appreciated my sessions and was signed up with me for the rest of the year, and a boy in my class who told me I was one of the hardest workers he knows. There was a girl I had only recently become friends with who sent me the most beautiful text showing her support, and my best friend who sent me the Michelle Obama quote “when they go low, we go high.”
There were countless friends and acquaintances who showed their support for me and other scared individuals. One of my sorority sisters offered to walk anyone who felt unsafe to class and has kept her home open to anyone who would like to talk. Her kindness, compassion, and empathy will be precisely what we need in the upcoming years to undo the torrential hate that was unleashed in this election. Every single one of us can make America great again. We can be kinder. We can be more charitable. We can be more compassionate. We can be more supportive of those around us. We can be better listeners. We can be more understanding. We can be educators.
We can and will stop this hatred. We are fighters, and we are certainly not alone.
I am forever grateful for every single one of you. You have been my safe harbor. You have kept my faith in humanity. You have made all the difference.
To those who have been busy celebrating, understand that I am not attacking you. I only wish for what is best for America, as a whole, which is why I will not be leaving this country in the near future. This is still my country, and it is still my duty to help heal the damage that has been done.