Caitlin Flynn
November 17, 2016 5:35 pm
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

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.

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.

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After a solid 30 minutes of sleep, I woke up on Wednesday morning with swollen eyes and a broken heart.

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. 

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:

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.

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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.

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.

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