The days after

I have had no words. I have had to borrow others' words. Like so many, the U.S. election results have left me numb and headachey. Election PTSD, I've been told. While those around me sob hopelessly, I've been popping advil. 

My eyes welled up having to wake my four-year-old the day after and tell her, "No, we don't have the first woman president." Months and weeks before, she knew I'd been volunteering to make the world a better place. The day of the election, we were both dressed in white in honor of the suffragettes, so it was a bit of a women's history lesson -- as much as a four-year-old can grasp without it feeling like I'm indoctrinating her. 

My closest friends and family are spread across our country. I'd shared with one that all I wanted to do was be in a room with my loved ones and hold on tight. She then shared that she was going to hold a remote candlelight vigil in her home just like when we were in college. I agreed and sent texts to CA, GA, NH, NJ, NY, PA and WA to join me in a remote vigil, so we could lovingly embrace each other from afar. 

The days after, the surreal haze lifts. Our everyday lessons haven't changed. They are evermore fervent. 

We can continue to experience the world around us. I was indeed devastated the day after, and it was painful. Let's not shut down and be hopeless. It might feel like it, but the world hasn't ended.  Let's breathe -- one moment at a time. Our young ones deserve our optimism. 

We can contribute to our community. We can organize donations for those less fortunate. We can volunteer together for the concerns that touch our hearts. We can keep on meeting, keep on tabling, keep on knocking on doors, keep on educating ourselves and each other, and keep marching on. 

We can be brave, ask questions, and share our voice. As any curious four-year-old, there are neverending questions. I encourage her to be endlessly inquisitive because I don't want my daughter to feel stifled. Ever. Let's continue to ask questions of ourselves, of each other, of our representatives. 

We can show kindness to others. A loving word, a thoughtful gesture. Any act of kindness is appreciated. Love trumps hate. Always. 

An American flag continues to wave outside our home. Immediately after the election, I had mixed feelings about being an American. I was heartbroken and embarrassed to be one. But I am hopeful that those around us who are brave and sharing their voice -- like Kamala Harris, Pramila Jayapal, Tammy Duckworth, and Ilhan Omar -- will inspire us to take action . . . courageously . . . together.