I was 14 years old. My mother was driving me to school for Early Bird PE, which started at 6am. My mother always listened to news radio, so when the report came on I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I remember thinking that’s so unfortunate, thank goodness it’s so early that no one was there. I had forgotten about the three-hour time difference. That morning was September 11, 2001. It’s a memory that will always stay as vibrant in my mind as it was that day. All generations have moments that they remember exactly where they were. My parents remember what they were doing when they first heard that JFK was shot or when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Today, 11/9, similar to 9/11 (irony is seen in this), I will always remember where I was, what I was doing and how I felt when I found out that Donald Trump won the presidential election.
There’s a phrase that I hate. “Words cannot describe”. That is in fact what words do. It’s the definition. It’s their purpose. But writing this I do feel at a loss. Not because there aren’t words that can describe, but because there are so many words that describe how I felt and still feel. Shock. Horror. Anger. Fear. Sadness. Worthlessness. Stupidity. Annoyed. Most of all, hopeless.
I didn’t cry (immediately). I just laid in bed trying to understand what the update on my phone meant. I went to sleep and slept for an abnormally long time, mainly because I refused to pull myself out of bed and face what had happened. It wasn’t until I watched Hillary Clinton’s concession speech that the tears began to fall. I watched a person that was without a doubt the most qualified person to ever run for President. It’s like last night she was standing, waiting for her boss(es) to tell her she got the promotion, tell her that she finally got what she had been working her entire life for. Instead, she found out that they gave it to man with no experience because he had a “different perspective”.
I’ve been watching the news say that women should be encouraged that a woman had gotten that far. It should be a sign to other women that we can do what we put our mind to. It doesn’t show me any of that. It shows me that as a woman, I can work hard, dedicate my life to something, be the best that there can possibly be for a position, and at the end of the day I won’t get it if there is a man that is less qualified vying for the same spot. If I’m too chatty and nice, I must not be serious or I’m not working hard enough. If I keep my head down and do the grind, I’m a bitch and aggressive. Either way, I’ll always be too emotional. What’s the point of me going back to school, trying to find a better job, and eventually trying to move up within a company? I learned last night that 50% of the nation thinks qualifications don’t matter when it comes to women. Add onto it that I’m a minority, and my accomplishments are essentially useless. These attitudes don’t change with elections. In 4 years, Trump will be gone (8 at max, and that’s a completely different issue). But these feelings and perceptions don’t change in four-year increments. They take decades, sometimes centuries. I believe I’ll see a woman as President before I die. That’s not the issue, entirely. But whether I’ll be treated and evaluated the same as a man is something I’m afraid will never happen to me. I’m hopeless.