I've heard that when you feel strong, or powerful, you automatically raise your arms up and over your head. It's why sports players do this when they win.
I remember election night, back in 2008, watching TV and waiting to hear if Barack Obama was going to get the chance to bring us hope and change. And when it was declared, I sat in my bed at my house and raised my arms up and over my head as if I just completed a marathon. Or got a goal. Or achieved some other type of athletic accomplishment. And I repeated over and over and over again, "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god". It was like I did something. I achieved something. Like I won. I was sure that he was the positive change, he was the hope, he was it. And I was happy.
During these past 8 years -- I've grown and I've grown up. I graduated college. I got engaged, married and had a baby. I became a teacher. I have my own insurance. My own savings accounts and retirement funds. I bought a house. Between Sean and I, 4 cars. I travelled. I went to political rallies. I've had time for hobbies, and fun and doing nothing at all. I volunteered, donated money and goods to various charities. I've cared and cried and laughed and lived. I've felt safe and scared; felt joy and sadness but have utterly enjoyed this amazing country I call home. I was proud that Barack Obama lead the way during my 20s and never once thought twice about or regretted my vote. I mean, we have his '08 acceptance speech framed in our living room. And a note from the Obamas in response of our wedding invite.
By November 8th 2016, my 20s had officially been over for nearly 2 months. My 30s were met with a win by someone I'm not proud of, not excited for and not someone I want to be the face of an America where I'm now raising a child. On that night, though my words sounded the same as back in '08 -- "Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god" -- my arms were not raised up and over my head. They were over my mouth and tears were streaming down my face and my heart was broken. I did not feel strong or powerful. Or like I won much of anything.
It's been 2 1/2 months now and those feelings are still intense. January 20, 2017 has come too soon for me. I'm not ready for this to be the new normal. I don't want it to be this way. I respect democracy but this is too far -- too off the rails, it feels like we're entering crazytown and it's too late to jump off.
Despite my feelings of anger and disbelief, I hold onto this:
"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress. " - Barack Obama
It matters how we think and feel and treat each other. It matters that we rise up and rise to the occasion. It matters how we raise our kids and teach them about respect and empathy and compassion and equality. It matters that we hope and dream and crave positive change. It matters that we don't give up or give in or lose our spirit. It matters that we don't just sit and cry with hands over our mouths in disbelief but instead argue for what is right and just and peaceful. It matters. Because those things are powerful. And that makes you strong. And that makes progress.
So I'm not going to think about this new president and all the pomp and circumstance of this day and the hatred he allows and spreads. Instead I'll focus on -- fighting for what's right, positive change, and making progress... with my eyes focused on those mid-term elections and 2020.