To say that I woke up excited on election day is the understatement of the century.
All of the major news outlets were reporting an expected win from Hillary Clinton. This would be my first year voting and I couldn't imagine a better election to kick off my voting career. My kids were anxious. I had been answering political questions from them for the better part of the year. There was no way that our country would vote in someone as vile as Trump, right? As much hope as I had in the American people, I was still anxious.
After work, I rushed off to my designated voting site. I was in and out within 10 minutes. It was exhilarating, to say the least. I picked my kids up from their after school program and was met with excited cheers and mock voting stickers. "Mom! We got to vote today, too!", "I voted for Hillaly Clintin!"....yes, excitement was in the air. We headed home and the questions were endless. My daughter was quite disgruntled to learn that I wasn't letting her stay up all night to watch the results come in.
By the time I got home, my stomach was in knots. It was crunch time. Within a few hours, I should have a good idea of which direction this election was going. I tried my hardest to distract myself until I could get the kids to bed and settle in for what had the potential to be a completely devastating night. By the time I was finally able to sit down and watch the news, my long distance bestie was talking me through what she'd already seen. The guy that I was (am) seeing had already caught up on what he could in an effort to be excited with me for a win, and talk me down in the event of a loss (If you knew how utterly uninterested he is in politics, you'd understand the swoon-worthiness of this). Shortly after I sat down, my mom called. I had already texted her earlier in the day to express my concern. Imagine my surprise when she called and found out that I was anxiously waiting to hear if Hillary was our new president. I have no idea what she had to be on to think that I had actually voted for Trump. Does she know me?! That phone call didn't last long.
Meanwhile, you know how the rest of the night went.
The next morning, I dreaded going to work. My co-workers and I had all done a pretty good job of avoiding politics as a topic of conversation, but I was nervous that I'd walk into a full blown celebration by some of my co-workers, and I was not in a place to deal. Thankfully, my desk mate walked in and the look on her face said it all. I nervously approached the subject with, "Well, what do you think?". You can't imagine my sigh of relief to hear her say, "This is bullshit. We've just taken 12 steps back". We had sat next to each other for months and I had no idea where she stood, politically. But I was so, so grateful to know that someone else was understood how I was feeling. We talked off and on all day. We were both devastated.
Later in the day, an older gentleman that I work with (who also happens to be one of my facebook friends) stopped by my desk and with the straightest face ever, said to me, "Donald Trump is our new Commander-in-Chief and because of that, I can grab you by the pussy any damn time I want and my Commander-in-Chief won't do a damn thing about it...". I could feel my face turn red and hot. I couldn't wrap my mind around what I was hearing and I wasn't sure whether I was about to cry or punch him in the dick and lose my job. Right when I thought I couldn't hold the tears back any longer, he continued, "....and I just want to extend my deepest sympathy to you, to your daughter, and to women everywhere. I am so sorry". I'm not sure I've ever breathed a deeper sigh of relief. He had seen my Facebook status from earlier that morning and knew how upset I was for all of us. Once he walked away, I had to excuse myself to go cry in the bathroom.
After work, my girlfriend and I had a few beers at a local pizza place. While she was on the verge of tears over her new husband not understanding how upset she was or why, a drunk guy over to our left was obviously eavesdropping and giggling about our conversation. He abruptly stopped when I finally stopped our conversation and focused on him after 20 minutes of his bullshit.
A few days later, as I was scrolling on Facebook, I saw one of my friends post a meme that said "Can we start grabbing women by the pussies yet? Or do we have to wait until he takes office?". Now, usually, I'm really good at just ignoring things I don't agree with, but this made my blood boil. I called him out on it. I wasn't hateful, I wasn't obnoxious. I just stated that it "wasn't cool" and it went from there. Within 5 minutes, two of his male friends also jumped on the status to defend the meme and I was called a "homophobic cunt". I'm not sure how me disagreeing with sexual assault qualifies me as "homophobic" or a "cunt" for that matter, but there it was. I just kept thinking, "And so it begins". That was the second time I've had to delete someone due to this damn election. The first was when a Trump supporter made it personal, referencing my domestic violence situation during my marriage and my rape. We can always agree to disagree, but don't ever make that shit personal.
I'm choosing to focus on the men who understand how devastating this election was for the majority of women. I don't have any room in my life for men who support sexual assault, homophobia (ironic, right?), or any of the other things that Donald Trump has come to stand for. I'm choosing to focus on what *I* can do to better our situation. I'm focusing on my children. I'm focusing on educating myself. I'm anxious to see exactly what kind of changes are coming our way. I'm relieved that Trump has already started backpedaling on many of the promises he made to the Republican party. It doesn't speak highly of the importance of honesty to him, but it's a relief either way.
What are you doing to balance out the changes that are coming? What are you doing to fight for those whose rights are at risk? What are YOU doing?