Tuesday, November 08, 2016, was the first time I ever cast a ballot with more female candidates on it than male…
And, sweet gods and goddesses, it felt good! I had no idea how much it actually meant to me to see women running our country until I saw the graphic of the glass ceiling shattering when Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination. Since then I’d become obsessed with women truly breaking through. I cast my ballot and left my polling place downright giddy and hopeful.
And then I wasn’t.
My dreams weren’t completely dashed. Some of the very qualified women that I had hoped to see in office will soon be there, but too many will not. I woke up the next morning sad, angry, frustrated, outraged, hurt, scared and one million other things all at the same time because it didn’t feel like much of anything had changed at all.
My modus operandi in situations like this is to immediately channel hurt and anger — and all those other very “unladylike” emotions — into action. To start fixing. The day after the 2016 election I chose differently. I decided that I was going to grieve and I also decided that my grief looked very much like me throwing both middle fingers up in the air and scowling.
And those fingers and that scowl stayed there all day.They stayed there in the face of each and every friend who called to ask how we were going to start moving forward, they stayed there in the face of every beautiful Facebook meme about unity and they definitely stayed there in the face of every single, last man that dared to tell me how I was grieving incorrectly — and there were a lot of them.
(Seriously, dudes… of all days, the day after the election was NOT the day to try and challenge a woman!)
I refused to be placated or soothed or overlooked or fall in line. My standard response to every call to action, every demand for something different was the same, “NOPE. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow either.”
“FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS!” I kept telling myself. “Don’t eat them or shop them or tuck them away. FEEL, like you were designed to do!”
A Space to be HeardI was so thankful that the night after the election we had scheduled a Waggle — a free, open-door conversation we host every Wednesday night — to talk about the election at the SheHive. A group of us gathered, cracked a bottle of wine, opened some cookies and had an honest and thoughtful conversation about the election with Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. Some things we all agreed upon and some things we just had to respectfully agree to disagree on. I cried, I yelled and I even laughed a little and, by the end, I felt better.
I felt heard.I went home that night a little less angry and so very grateful for the brave women in my life that allow me the space to FEEL and process like I am designed to do. No shame, no guilt, just love and acceptance.
A Space to be Heard… and to FeelWe spend an awful lot of time hiding our feelings as women. Somehow becoming emotional has been equated with weakness over time. I call bullshit. I don’t feel weak because I spent November 9th angry and sad — I feel empowered. I feel full.
And I feel grateful.