Relieved

This is going to be a long one. But I have so many feelings that I want to let out. I’ve been holding it in for the last four years, and with today I just want to unleash it all.

In 2016 I wore my favorite pair of boots 👢 to vote for, what I was hoping to be the first woman president, Hillary Clinton. In my mind, I was already playing out how the next 8 years would go with a woman at the top of executive branch. After President Obama, I thought our nation would break another barrier by electing Clinton. But I was wrong.

When Clinton lost, I went numb. I succumbed to my depression; allowing it to take me away from it all by oversleeping and overeating. I might have gone around looking normal, but inside I was a mess.

I didn’t know at the time I was pregnant with our Lil Bean. But when I did find out a few weeks after, I fell deeper into a pit of despair. Why? Because we found out Lil Bean was a girl. 

Now, you may think “That’s horrible!”, or “You should love your child regardless of their sex!”. And I do. I love her to the moon and back. I wouldn’t trade her for anything; her or our Lil Peanut. They are everything to me and have become one of the main reasons I continue to work in progressive politics today. 

But I know how our country treats little girls. I know how our country treats smart and passionate women. I know how little they are valued. Earning less. Promoted less. Respected less. Silenced more. 

I also know how our country treats women of color. I have been bullied. I have been asked to speak English only. I have been harassed. And I have been assaulted. 

To add to that, I am a daughter of immigrants. I’ve had to answer time and time again, “Where are you from?” knowing full well that ‘California’ was not the answer my inquisitor wanted. I grew up reading documents for my parents, who were looking to me to decipher the legalese. And I grew up having my name butchered over and over and over and over. 

All of this. 

This was why I cried for Lil Bean. And why I cried for Lil Peanut. I love my girls. But does society love my girls? Will society ever value my girls? Will it respect my girls? 

The last four years made me worry day and night of the world they would grow up in. Too often, I would lie awake anxious and uneasy until the wee hours of the morning, watching my girls sleep so peacefully. They’re too young to understand. But I want them to live in a world where love is love, science and truth are not beliefs but facts, Black lives truly matter, quality healthcare is obtainable, immigration is beautiful, and women are in charge of their own bodies. 

But the last four years have made it hard for me to believe that it was a possible future for them. 

That is until Saturday evening when I saw VP-Elect Kamala Harris walk on stage to greet the nation. I saw myself — a woman of color, born from immigrants. 

When I woke up on Sunday morning, I woke up hopeful and relieved. As if somehow I woke up from a bad dream and found myself safe in my own skin. That’s how much the next four years means to me. I am safe in my own skin. And my kids are safe in their own skin. 

Til the next time,

– E