How acts of kindness will help get us through a Trump presidency
On Election Day, I woke up giddy with excitement. I put on my “Proud To Support Madam President” t-shirt and headed to the Hillary Clinton Seattle Headquarters — a small, cramped, yet beautiful space where I’ve spent countless hours since the day it first opened its doors. My fellow volunteers and I made phone calls until the very last hour, but it felt like a formality — countless polls had assured us that Hillary Clinton had multiple paths to victory, even if she lost major swing states. At 6 p.m., we headed to the Westin Hotel for what we believed would be the best party of our lives.
I don't have to tell you what happened on the night of November 8th.
As Hillary’s chances of becoming the first woman president went from strong, to weak, to nonexistent, I felt as though I was watching the world fall apart in torturous slow motion. The packed hall grew silent and I suddenly couldn’t stand to be there another second.
I ran outside, hopped in an Uber, and prayed that a miracle would occur during the 15 minute drive from the hotel back to my apartment. Spoiler alert — it didn't.
After a solid 30 minutes of sleep, I woke up on Wednesday morning with swollen eyes and a broken heart.
It wasn't a matter of being a sore loser — I simply could not come to grips with the fact that millions of Americans had voted for hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism, and xenophobia.
A nightmare had become our new reality for the next four years — and the startling rise in hate crimes proves the seriousness of our fear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88UV4yJ-AdI
My heart aches for the countless Americans who will be harmed by a Trump presidency — Muslims, blacks, hispanics, the LGBT+ community, and every other marginalized group I can think of are in danger. On a personal level, as a sexual assault survivor, I felt as though 60 million Americans had looked me straight in the eye and said, "Your attacker was correct when he told you that you are worthless and undeserving of the right to your own body."
That morning, I felt like I’d lost faith in my fellow Americans.
As I watched Hillary’s concession speech, my heartbreak was combined with awe at her incredible strength and resilience. But, when it was over, MSBNC went back to replaying Trump’s acceptance speech from the night before. As I began sobbing and hyperventilating, I called my mom who lives 3,000 miles away — she was also watching the news and begged me to turn off the TV. I finally did, but my despair and hopelessness remained.
A few hours later, I (sort of) pulled myself together as I headed to a work meeting. I noticed that a note had been slipped under my door — it was from my next-door neighbor, whom I’ve never met. The message was simple but powerful:
"I heard you crying today. I'm sorry whatever you're going through is so upsetting. If you ever need someone to vent to, my door is open to you."
She also included her phone number and wrote that I could text or call if I needed to. I teared up again, this time for a beautiful reason — there is so much love and kindness still out there.
Over the past week, I've been moved by the unspoken solidarity between people who are heartbroken and scared over the election results.
On Thursday I had a scheduled call with Chelsea Handler’s publicist to prepare for my upcoming interview with her. Without uttering the word “election” or “Trump,” the first thing she asked me was “how are you holding up?” I answered honestly, and she told me that her parents live fairly close to me and they’d be happy to offer support in any way they can.
These acts of kindness may seem small, but they are anything but small — in fact, they mean the world and they are helping me put things in perspective and recognize that there truly are so many good, kind people in this world. Hatred may have prevailed on Tuesday night, but love will sustain us and lift us up as we face the harsh reality of a Trump presidency -- and prepare to defend our rights.
One of my favorite quotes is J.M. Barrie’s “Always be a little kinder than necessary.” This wise advice applies now more than ever, and I plan on wholeheartedly embracing it. Based on my experiences over the past week, it seems like countless others are embracing it as well.
And, during this dark time, it provides a much-needed glimmer of light and hope.