“The devil whispered in my ear, ‘You are not strong enough for the storm.’ Today I whispered in the devil’s ear, ‘I am the storm.'” — tweet from Cory Booker today.
OK, I’m not turning off CNN. Baby steps.
I slept from 3:30 am to 6:30 am Wednesday morning. Armed with that awesome amount of mental alertness, I stumbled into Day 1 of Hillary Clinton Is Not Our 45th President. I felt like I had a hangover, although I was so stunned the night before that I had to stop midway through my third glass of Cabernet. That ended up being the only history made that night.
As a freelance writer/editor, my only office supply is my MacBook. Several days before the election, I moved that laptop out of my lovely upstairs office down to the awkward living room table so as to be closer to my news addiction. I flipped between CNN and FOX news obsessively, breaking to work, Facebook, look at 538, and text with my politically obsessed Gay Husband until my Actual Husband came home from work and wanted to watch American Horror Story.
After days of this, I was 100% sure we were going to win. And then we didn’t.
I thought a lot about Hillary Clinton that day after. If I was sunken into my couch of despair, what was she doing? I hope she was able to go home, take a long, hot bath, drink a cup of tea in peace and her PJs, and maybe watch a rom-com before she went to bed early.
I realized I was surprisingly more sad that she is not going to be our 45th president than that Donald Trump will be. And so I entered into the five stages of grief, which I’m most familiar with after losing my mom to cancer in August. This time, they went by at warp speed:
Denial: At some point after polls closed in Florida, I texted Gay Husband: “Do we smell a landslide?” How adorable, right? Shortly thereafter, he started drinking Manhattans and I brought the bottle of wine into the living room.
Oh we’re losing North Carolina? That’s OK. We were expecting that. We still have Florida. Oh we’re losing Florida? COUNT THE VOTES IN BROWARD COUNTY!! Oh you did? That’s cool. We’ll take the rust belt. We always do. But we really need to so please, seriously, this needs to happen. WISCONSIN? PULL YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!
More texts: “We are the underdogs.” “Senate is gone.” Other friends call and text. I ignore their calls because I have to focus here. I can will the votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan to change. YES I CAN! I frantically look for relief from Nate Silver and get nothing. This man who led me down the daisies-and-puppies electoral college poll road is never wrong. Not only is Gay Husband panicking, John King is throwing some serious negative vibes from his magic map. John! Nate! Come on. WAIT! We can win Arizona. Sure, why not? Actual Husband goes to bed.
Gay Husband: “This won’t end well.” Then, “We aren’t going to win, my friend.” I trust Gay Husband completely. It’s over. I watch until the bitter end, when Anderson Cooper signs off at 3 am after Trump’s speech.
Depression: Wednesday I cried, spent entirely too much time under the covers on our couch, ate pie straight out of the container and chips straight out of the bag. I heard the stories of friends whose daughters cried when they heard the news. My 16YO’s chemistry teacher — a lesbian and immigrant — cried in class and a few girls in class joined her.
Anger: I started my day at 6:30 am on Thursday in a Twitter fight with my sweet 20-year-old niece. Listening to this song replaced my Dead-To-Me 538 habit, my completely off-key voice screaming along with Eva Longoria. Try it: CAN. YOU. HEAR. MY. VOICE. THIS. TIME. Feels damn good.
I picked up lunch at Taco Fucking Bell and cried while I ate it in my church parking lot. By Friday night, I called my Trump-supporting dad after a tense Facebook exchange, starting the conversation with: “WHO are YOU to …” and went downhill from there. I ended the evening with a bottle of wine at a girlfriend’s after my equally angry Actual Husband and I yelled at each other over where to go to for dinner.
Wisconsin, this is your fault.
Acceptance: 270 electoral votes is all it takes. I get the #notmypresident movement and protests. But I also watched My Favorite President Obama host President-Elect Trump at the White House on Thursday. Kellyanne Conway is not going away. On a less suicidal note, neither is Samantha Bee. This is our reality. Until November 3, 2020.
Bargaining: I think this is supposed to be far earlier in the process. But I’m putting it here because my bargain is this: Everything that led us to this moment will be turned around in future elections if the Pantsuit Nation and like-minded supporters turn things around in future elections.
Those of us who voted for Clinton are still stunned and sad. But we will rise. We will get off the couch and rise for what we believe in: inclusiveness, opportunities for all Americans (and those who come to us from troubled lands), love of our country and planet, safety, and religious, press, and personal freedom. We will grieve first, but then will we rise. Of this I have no doubt.
How? I honestly don’t know. Yet. But starting Monday, I will unpack this political process and what needs to happen to get us back to the future we envisioned in the hours before the polls started closing last Tuesday.
What will you do with your small boat? Join me?