I’ve never handled disappointment well. As a kid, I sobbed on the field when my elementary school team lost our punchball tournament. When I developed an interest in baseball, I cried every time I watched (my favorite team) the Mets lose. I became distraught when my mom told me Santa wasn’t real at an age when I definitely knew Santa wasn’t real. I was downright inconsolable once when I realized my brother was watching my favorite tv show and had encouraged my mom to watch it as well, because I felt it belonged to me and I didn’t want to share it. Things affect me very deeply in very odd ways. It’s odd because I’m a very laid back, easy going person. Many things, in fact, don’t faze me at all.
I don’t spend too much time thinking about how I look. I’m not too concerned with what other people do and who they do it with. I’m not interested in analyzing other peoples’ or even my own flaws. I’m not quick to anger. I’m also not overly emotional. I’m way more excited to discuss complex political issues than I am to discuss whatever mundane thing I did, ate or wore yesterday. I care a lot about seemingly insignificant things. I care about the intonation and word choice someone uses when they speak to me. I care about interactions I have where I feel someone has misunderstood me. I care when I probably shouldn’t.
I cared about the election in 2016. I cared too much. Probably more than I’d even like to admit. I wanted Hillary to win from the start. I thought she was an obvious choice: smart, experienced, capable. I liked her. What began as a silent and private rooting interest became a full blown investment into a candidate people were determined to hate. Just my luck. I was already way too invested before things got really ugly. By the time Bernie and his Bros came into the picture, with their endless memes, mean-spirited attacks and protests against Hillary, I was in too deep.
I hated the Bernie phenomenon because I felt it made the campaign stakes much higher. And it made it much uglier. I knew there was nowhere to go from there. Or that it’d go somewhere… just not somewhere I wanted to follow. But I remained invested. Bernie was an easy foe. He was crazy enough to never stand a chance. That comforted me. But the attacks on Hillary always struck me personally. They got under my skin. My mood would change based on what a friend would write about her on Facebook, or what a random stranger would say about her on twitter. From emails to super predators to Putin, I watched it all unfold and hated every minute of it.
On November 8th, inspite of it all I was filled with hope. I went to the Javits Center to witness history, to watch that literal and figurative glass ceiling finally crack. It had been a long and draining election season. That other guy was a mess, someone who seemed to lack self awareness, intellect, tact, basic human decency, or even a comb. He was someone who disparaged minorities, belittled women, and incited violence. He boasted about grabbing women by their pussies, mocked a disabled reporter, used his twitter as his personal burn book and yet somehow he still won. That night at the Javits morphed into a funeral procession. A night I would never forget. But for none of the reasons I had hoped.
November 9th was gloomy in NYC. The skies were overcast and the ground was wet. The silence of the streets was deafening. Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to from all walks of life said they felt it too. The atmosphere was eerily reminiscent of the days after 9/11: where people walked around with fraught nerves and pensive faces. The city became enveloped in darkness. How were we to make sense of what the world had become? How would I?
Today is January 20th. Inauguration day. The realization of my disappointment and the disappointment of many others. I admit to a lingering feeling of dread, defeat and hopelessness. Not because my candidate lost but because hate won and because my faith in humanity dwindled. After this, and for me a lifetime of disappointment, of choosing the wrong team, of losing too much, of caring about things that I shouldn’t and of believing in things that I had no business in believing in, this hurts.
Where do we go from here? Where will I?