Post-election loss, with a fairy tale ending/Birthday Letter to Hillary Clinton.
You know those dreams we all tend to have where you’re standing on a cliff happy, strong and mighty, then suddenly before you know it, something or someone pushes you over the edge, causing your heart to drop into the pit of your stomach, while you quickly fall further and further into something you begin to no longer recognize? Then once you finally get to the bottom, you look up to see a bright light far, far away, but regardless of how many times you try to climb to that light, you fail, falling back down to the bottom, all covered in tears and dirt, causing you to eventually just accept your stuck there and give up?
That’s how I felt on November 8th, 2016.
Through-out my life I’ve had many ups and downs. From both my grandmothers passings in 2006 and 2009, to my high school friend committing suicide my sophomore year, my mom’s constant-changing health issues, to even losing some best friends because of timing, business and most of all distance, the statement “everything happens for a reason” was one I believed in, one hundred percent. It helped me move on, quite easily during the tough times, as the realization that we can’t fix everything or prevent everything we don’t want happening, was inevitable.
However, that statement “everything happens for a reason” could not be comprehended to me in my eyes during those first few moments, hours, days, weeks, and months that followed the results of the 2016 election.
Like the majority of others, I woke up on November 8th ecstatic to go vote. I put “Fight Song” on repeat, got in my “first ever Election Day voting outfit” as I called it (this was my first Presidential Election as an actual voter), went to my polling location, voted, got my sticker, took a selfie, captioned it with the famous “and when I meet Thomas Jefferson, Imma compel him to include woman in the sequel! #ImWithHer”, then went on with my day, excited, because I knew tonight we’d be making life-changing history that I got to be apart of and witness with my own two eyes.
The closer the night became, the more proud I was becoming, not just proud to be #WithHer, but proud because I did my duty as a citizen and I knew because of my impact, Hillary Rodham Clinton would become the next Commander in Chief of the United States of America.
I’ll never forget where I was and how I was feeling the second those poll numbers began to come out. I started off excited, happy and full of laughter in my living room with my parents, but as the night progressed, and the poll numbers continued, my happiness and excitement decreased, and quite quickly. Each new state turning red, handing Donald Trump their electoral college votes had my heart fall a little further into my stomach, and my eyes water with tears that wouldn’t and couldn’t yet fall. The only thing keeping those tears from falling, (at least what I like to believe) was the factor that we still had yet to hear the poll numbers from New Hampshire, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, and a bunch of other swing states. So, to me, there was still time….there was still hope left for Hillary and all we’ve worked for in the HFA community.
Nearing 10pm, I had enough of looking at these polls and their ever so changing numbers. My mother and I decided to eliminate the stress and sadness we were now beginning to feel, even though things had not yet turned for the worst and go watch the Disney movie, ‘Frozen’ in the T.V. room, while my dad stayed watching the polls. It worked out for a while, almost through half of the movie, before something told me in my heart to get back up, and go watch the polls because something was about to happen.
And It did.
Donald Trump won Ohio.
That sentence, and as small as it was, was all I needed to hear for my heart to completely drop to my stomach and make myself feel that “falling” feeling that you can’t get back up from. I retreated quickly to my room without goodnight words to my parents, and somehow instantly found myself on the floor next to my bed, praying. I wasn’t quite sure exactly what I was praying for, but in this moment, I just knew I had to pray for everything and anything I could. As I knelt there, thousands of thoughts came into my head and my heart at once, so, one by one I went through them and prayed. I prayed for the HFA community. I prayed for my friends, my family, my fellow team members, but most importantly, I prayed for Hillary and the whole Clinton family because that’s the only thing I knew how to do. It’s the only thing I could do.
Deciding I no longer could stay awake for the final polls to come out, I laid on my bed listening to “Fight Song” and “Stronger Together” while saying one last final prayer out loud to anyone who could be bothered to listen. I said, “God, if you love me, If you truly care about me…if you care about America…heck if you even care about Hillary, you will let me awake up tomorrow to the happiest day of my life-to a miracle-to Hillary Rodham Clinton being everything I can see her being. Please…don’t let me down. I beg you. Let this happen. Let Hillary have this…if you won’t do it for me, do it for her, she deserves it. Hillary won’t let you down.. I promise..”
November 9th, I was awoken early by that dream I stated to you above in my first paragraph-the falling-the heart dropping into your stomach-the trying to get back up-the eventually giving up-That dream. I shot up out of bed, caught my breath, opened my eyes fully, then immediately grabbed for my phone. As I stared at the black screen in-front of me for a moment, I contemplated whether or not I was ready for the “make or break” moment everyone in America was awaiting last night but now knew. Deciding I was after a huge deep breath, I clicked my phone on, and unlocked it. Upon staring at the home screen, I had quite the notification buzz surrounding me.
79 missed calls. 54 voicemails. 126 text messages. 24 Facebook messages. 18 Twitter DM’s. 13 Instagram DM’s. 12 Tumblr messages-everything was coming to me at once. Staring at all these notifications in confusion, I didn’t know what to do. Eventually deciding to open my texts, my eyes landed upon my most recent one received. As I opened it to read, I knew exactly what was coming.
It was from my friend in Europe. It read:
“Please tell me it isn’t over.” — sent 1:34am
“Kristin…I cannot believe how you must be feeling. I’m so sorry….I’m so so sorry. Please, stay strong….. I love you. Hillary loves you. I’m so sorry.” — sent 2:34am
That’s all I needed to confirm what I didn’t know, but no longer needed to confirm myself-Hillary Rodham Clinton lost.
Donald Trump was the next President Elect of the United States.
It’s needless to say that the entirety of my day was spent on my bedroom floor, surrounded by 5 boxes of tissues, a coffee cup, which I barely drank, and lots of blankets and pillows around me, as sobs and panic/anxiety attacks overtook me every 10 minutes and I’d fall into the pillows screaming, “why, why, why God, WHY?!?!” I didn’t believe that “everything happened for a reason”, because I didn’t understand how God could let this happen. Why would God, someone who is pure and loving, and kind, and …the Ultimate Savior make this our America? Why would he be so cruel? I didn’t understand his motives. I was..heartbroken and devastated. Why would God not want Hillary Clinton to be President?
What did I do for God to hate me that he decided to not make Hillary President?
With the days and weeks that followed November 9th, I blamed everything I possibly could on Hillary’s election loss, but the person or thing I blamed the most, was myself. I felt like I didn’t do enough as a voter/supporter. I blamed myself for spending too much time at home when I could and should have been out campaigning. I blamed myself for not volunteering more at my states Hillary Clinton headquarters. I blame myself for not being more vocal on Social Media to show support for Hillary by ‘#ImWithHer.’ I blamed myself for not defending Hillary when she got hatred towards her, and I simply let it go. I blamed myself for the states voting the wrong way. I blamed myself for every small thing I could have possibly changed. I blamed myself for failing Hillary, because I did. I failed Hillary Clinton. As a supporter/voter, as an American, and as someone who was “WithHer” but didn’t show it every second of every day-I convinced myself that I failed her.
By the time Holiday’s came around, I still was having panic and anxiety attacks. I was still crying, and devastated. I still was convinced I failed Hillary. Being someone who is always “strong” and extremely independent- I felt around my family like I had to be that “Everything happens for a reason”, “I’m fine.” person, while everyone around me was vocalizing their grief for Hillary’s election loss or not care at all and praise their joy for Trump. It took a toll on me and my mental health. Bottling everything up, only to let it out when I was all alone in my room, where I could let my guard down and cry it out night after night-it was exhausting. I truly was at my lowest point during this “post-election” time-nothing else compared to what I felt. Nothing.
Things remained pretty much that same way until 2017 came about and I decided I finally was going to take the steps everyone including Hillary seemed to be taking. “What Happened” was beginning to be in the works, people were becoming stronger again and beginning to speak out for injustices and for what’s right. It was “a new year, a new us”, “when they go low, we go high” moment, where for the first time since November 8th, I was inspired to do something-to be apart of change.
So, that’s exactly what I did.
January 1st, I woke up, put on my best “kick ass” outfit, and followed in Hillary’s footsteps. I gathered some of my very little strength that I had left in me that even Hillary seemed to have and stood tall in the remains of the storm. I went outside, met new people, and made my first steps to, “fight for what’s worth it” as a wise woman once said on a very sad day in November 2016. I traveled all around the east coast the next couple of months with my best friend. We went to Walt Disney World, Manhattan, Washington D.C and so many more places that truly helped my post-election mental and emotional health get back to it’s normality. I was feeling me again in the best way I knew how to be.
I went back to classes after all this traveling a tad stronger each time and by the time Spring Break rolled around, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew what my true calling was meant to be-who I was meant to be. That being said, I decided on my official declared college majors.
As of March 13th 2017, I’m a full Political Science and Pre-Law major.
Ever since March, I’ve found myself in a positive place. I’ve met new friends online who share the same passion as mine. I’ve met former HFA staff members, been featured in my friends articles for school projects about my post-election life and how I’ve changed/grown up, and so so much more.
If I had to pinpoint the day I truly felt all my anger, sadness, and resentment to God about this 2016 election leave me, I would say it was September 7th, 2017. I went to see Hillary Clinton at Riverside Church in Manhattan for “An Evening with Secretary Clinton” where Hillary shared how her faith helped her, post-election. Seeing her sitting there sharing her words of wisdom, her truth, her inspiration for what got her out of bed every single day post-election, as well as the thought process for ‘What Happened’ all it contains, made my heart become overjoyed with certainty that not only was Hillary here to stay, but that she was evident in helping to continue to make change.
The ending prayer with Secretary Clinton at the end of the September 7th event is what made it all worth it. Standing in that church, surrounded by hundreds of Hillary supporters, my two closest friends, Hillary Clinton up at the front, all sharing one prayer in unity, in which we all understood together got me. I chocked up, fell into my seat instantly after the prayer ended and began crying, and as that was happening, I finally was able to let go of that ever-so-longing breath I’ve been holding in since November 8th of 2016. In that moment, I understood why things didn’t go the way we planned. I understood why Hillary Clinton was here with us, instead of in that White House in Washington, D.C-I understood everything.
There’s a photo from this night that my friend took that sums it all up into one. Simply seeing the joy in Hillary’s face in this picture makes everything that’s happened these past 10 months worth it-she was just as proud of us, as we were and still are of her.
I’m now at a point in my life currently where I’m not afraid to use my voice to make change. I’ll speak out against injustice and what I don’t and do believe in. I’ll fight to make change. I’m learning each and every day slowly, that becoming someone who aspires to be in the Public life isn’t easy, but I’m preparing for it. This is where I’m meant to be. Right here.
I no longer hear “Fight Song” or “Stronger Together” as sad, upsetting memory songs of the Hillary Clinton campaign that made my heart ache. I hear them now as a joyous, passionate, and empowering songs that make me ready to help implement change, regardless of how it’s done or how much or little we make.
The greater things in life are only beginning, but we’ll never know what they’ll be if we don’t take risks, and fight for our truth and what we believe in.
I will fight for not only myself, but for my future daughters, granddaughters and every woman around the world who needs a voice of reason, hope, and inspiration.
Yes, it’s definitely scary sometimes and I have those moments of doubts, but once I take a step back, I remember that I can handle anything and everything that comes in my path, because like a famous woman once said:
“Fear is always with us, but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.” — Hillary Rodham (1969, Wellesley College commencement speech)
Those words are more true now, than ever before.
In the end, while this election did take so, so much from me, it truly made me gain a lot more, certainly a lot more than I ever thought I’d ever get, and for that I’m forever thankful.
I’m not sharing my story with you all to get sympathy, empathy, support or pity. I share it with you because I want you to know that if you felt like I did, you weren’t alone, and still aren’t. It’s still perfectly okay to not be okay. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should “get over it” or “let it go.” You don’t have to “get over it” or “let it go” if you don’t wish too.
I personally don’t believe any of us will ever be able to “get over it” and “let it go” and nor should we. It’s now our job as the future generation of this country to take it upon ourselves and make change in any way we possibly can so What Happened (no pun intended) to Hillary Clinton doesn’t happen again to any future political candidate, regardless of who they may be.
With that said, lets make this a happy ending, shall we?
Today, October 26th 2017 is Hillary Rodham Clinton’s birthday, and if by any chance, Secretary Clinton, you’re reading this (highly unlikely but I simply had to include it) I have a few words for you on your special day.
I want to thank you.
I want to thank you for always being a beacon of hope in the darkest of times in my life. I want to thank you for inspiring me to my core and making me realize my true passion of public service. I want to thank you for caring for millions of others, even now when you truly have every right to be done with it and live a quiet life. Thank you for helping me use my voice to give a voice to those who are incapable of doing so. Thank you for making me stronger each and every day, and for making me impossible to give up on something once I set my mind to it.
Pain and simple, Hillary, I just want to thank you for being you.
Through-out your entire life, you’ve always had that passion to make change, and I thank you for doing just that. You never backed down during the difficult times, and you never let the words and hateful comments get to you. You stayed strong, and did what you always manage to do-fight.
You took risks, and sacrificed your safely multiple times to get change implemented for women, children, and millions of people around the world. Your life to you, has probably been anything but the fairytale, but to me, I see someone with that fairytale life. Because if someone as amazing as you helped make all that change in your lifetime over the past 30+ years, and in the end, every time made America and the world better, safer and healthier for millions of men, women, children, and babies-that’s the fairytale life. If I grow up to be 1/4 as amazing as you, Hillary, I’d be completely honored and blessed.
Out of everything, through-out the past two years, and now while you’re on your book tour, Thank you for listening to us supporters when we meet you. for being interested, for caring, and for loving each and everyone of us as much as you do. It means more to us than you’ll ever imagine.
Meeting you was by far the greatest honor of my life. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tell you just how much, truly it meant, but I hope this letter somewhat helps.
If you’ve taught me anything throughout these past two years, besides being caring, being a great listener, inspiring hope and giving love and respect to those all around the world, it’s this:
“Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton.
and to: “Never doubt that you are valuable, and powerful, and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton
Thank you Secretary Clinton, for everything.
Happy Birthday, Hillary. I hope you enjoy your special day. You deserve it.