In the week leading up to the inauguration, I found myself thinking a lot about a piece of art I created shortly after the election.
On the night of the election, as I watched results slowly come in, I took to Facebook to share my ever-growing horror, anxiety, anger. And as that red bar continued to grow bigger, as those red states continued to appear one after another, I scrolled through Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, reading the status, tweets, and posts from people like me, people who found themselves in this new state of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness.
Among those words were words of hope. Often times bleak, but hopeful nonetheless. Reminding each other that we weren’t alone, that we had people ready to fight alongside us, that we had people ready to fight for us if we found ourselves unable to. There were so many other people echoing the same feelings I had and still have.
This was the first election I could vote in. The only thing I could think the night of the election was how I wish it hadn’t been. I wish my first election wasn’t one that had me waking up with an upset stomach.I wish my first election wasn’t one that I knew would end with me either weeping in relief or fear. I wish my first election wasn’t one that had a man that so many people wanted yet horrified millions
I knew leading up to the election that atmosphere surrounding it wasn’t a normal one; often times at work I would hear people talking about how they’ve never seen the country this divisive, this emotional about an election. Some people thought that all of this would be over once the results came in; that people would get over it and move on with their lives, accepting whoever the new president with just grumbles of displeasure.
I knew on the night of the election, what I and so many others were feeling wasn’t normal. It isn’t normal to have a presidential candidate that so many literally feared. It isn’t normal to have a candidate who said the things that Trump said and have so many just shrug it off. It isn’t normal to have a presidential candidate go on to win and leave millions actually grieving.
I wept on the night of the election. I wept the next day. And the next. I was near tears for days after that.
Amidst everything, I collected the statuses and tweets made on the night of the election, ranging from words of anger and anxiety to those embers of hope glowing on a very bleak night. I arranged these words into one simple message: So I hope.
A reminder to myself and to others that even with everything facing us, there was still that hope that refuses to die out. That even when we feel ready to give up, that the world is just out to get us, there are people there to pick us up.
And a reminder that come whatever may, we weren’t going down without a fight.