This week was rough, to say the least.
I went to sleep on Election Day around midnight with hope that the numbers would turn around and I woke up the next day to my worst nightmare. I could barely bring myself to leave my bed and face the world.
I cried into the sink as I brushed my teeth and got dressed for the day in all black. Because I was mourning, dammit.
As I opened the front door to face the world, I felt as though I’d been sucker-punched. This was NOT how it was supposed to go. As my girl Chasity Cooper tweeted the night of the election, “How did we get here? Trump’s not supposed to be here.” And yet, here we are.
I spent the commute checking on friends: my tribe. my squad. my people.
When I finally arrived at work and read an emotional pep talk email from my boss’s boss about why our work at Girl Scouts is more important now than ever, I lost it. Like left my desk, went down the lobby, called my sister and cried in a corner. I don’t remember the last time I cried that hard. But my sister has always held me up during every ugly cry (senior year dance recital, moving to Chicago, our rehearsal dinner…), so this time was no different. She may be younger, but she is certainly wiser and I don’t know where I’d be without her.
After a much-needed coffee run, my teammates and I sequestered ourselves in a conference room to watch gracious, yet inspiring Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. And we cried some more. Our collective hearts broke for the thousands of girls we support every day.
How are we supposed to look them in the eyes and tell them that America voted against them? That no matter how much experience you have, no matter how qualified you may be, it doesn’t mean anything? Because if Hillary couldn’t win as a privileged White woman, then what hope is there for the rest of us?!
This election was a slap in the face to all women everywhere. Yes, even the ones who voted for Trump and don’t realize the damage they’ve done. Or maybe they do and they don’t care because #WhitePrivilege. But that’s another story for another day.
My coworkers and I were disgusted, disappointed and disheartened. And we stayed in that conference room for the remainder of the day. We laughed, we cried — sometimes both at the same time. We supported one another and we loved each other during our time of need.
And I like to imagine the same thing was happening in workplaces, schools and homes across the country, lest we forget HRC won the popular vote and Pantsuit Nation came out in full force. That the majority, even if the margin wasn’t that great, of Americans voted for her. Voted for change. Voted for the most qualified candidate to ever run for president EVER.
So where do we go from here? I don’t know. But what I do know is that if there were ever any doubts in my mind about the work I do and why I do it, well they were laid to rest today.
My husband probably said it best in a text message he sent me Wednesday morning:
I’m extremely proud of the work that you (and others) are doing. Please don’t allow one man to deter your dreams. Keep fighting. Those that fought before you endured the same hate speech and shitty regulations and they never gave up. It is our responsibility to ensure that our future kids live in a society that will accept them for whatever they choose to become. We will not let hate, fear and bigotry stop us from fighting for our dreams. I know it seemed hard last night, and I heard you crying this morning. But please know that there are thousands of girls and minorities that are looking for direction and guidance right now. You are part of their voice. Please don’t give up.
Don’t. Give. Up.
We can’t give up. I can’t give up. Not now. Not ever. Because as First Lady Michelle Obama once said: “I see myself in these girls … and I simply cannot walk away from them.” I owe it to all of the little brown and black girls searching for answers. Searching for hope. Searching for love.
Trump may have won the election, but there’s a Higher Being watching out for all us. And as Kendrick Lamar rapped, if God got us, then we gon’ be alright.