Donald Trump is officially President of the United States. And it has been one hell of a ride, hasn't it?
Remember when he announced he was running? And we all kind of just laughed and scoffed. Him? No way he'll make it. But then... slowly... he beat out Republicans. Republicans we thought for sure were going to receive the nomination. Republicans who might have been okay presidents (or at least not terrible ones).
I don't know about you, but I was in a constant state of denial throughout this whole election. Even when he won the nomination, I just didn't think it was possible for him to become president. When I went to bed on election night, I was still so confident in Hillary. I was still so confident in America.
But then I woke up. I checked my phone. And slowly, the stages of grief began to hit me, one by one.
Denial was first. I just couldn't believe it. Years of progress seemed to be wiped out in an instant. Our country picked him? No. It just can't be possible.
But it was. So then I was angry! Because how could we have done this? I thankfully don't fall into many of the marginalized groups (besides being a woman), but I could feel the pain of those trying to live within those groups. And I was angry for them. This is the country where having a better life should be possible; no one should be afraid to be themselves.
Then bargaining hit. Like that could help. Maybe the electors won't vote in their party - how much do we have to give them to make them change their political stance? Okay, well, maybe Trump won't take the presidency! He must be just as shocked as us!
I even bargained with God a bit. What would I have to do to make this not a reality? I pretty much would have done anything. Four years is a long time for an unqualified man to be in power.
But then the electors did what they always do - they voted in their party. Trump accepted the presidency. Pence may have even cracked a non-squinty smile during it all. So the fourth stage of grief hit me like a freight train: depression.
I mourned. Trump supporters, if they're even reading this at this point and haven't just left some comment on this article by now, will be probably laugh at that. But it felt like this huge weight settling into my chest. I've never felt dread quite like it before.
I just don't understand how we got here. Our government has all these contingencies set up for just this kind of election, fail-safes that should have prevented this insanity, but no one stepped up. It still makes me sick inside. We deserve more than this.
I think I cycled through these first four sections of the grieving process a hundred times since election day. Denial has been a help in coping with this craziness, let me tell you. But at the end of the day, when you Google who the president is, Donald Trump's picture appears. It's going to take some time, but maybe one day I'll reach the "acceptance" part of the grieving process. I sure hope so. Four years is a long time to mourn.
Honestly, I'm just sad for our country. I'm trying to remain hopeful that Americans might pull through in the end and not allow our government to destroy rights and hurt the lives of so many people... but I'm scared we won't. I'm scared that this might become our new normal. That this is the standard for politicians now - you can do and say whatever you want, as long as you do and say it confidently enough.
I guess in the end, I'm still in this grieving process, working on acceptance. It's okay if you're there, too. After all, Donald Trump was inaugurated and shockingly, the world didn't just stop rotating on its axis, so that's something.
I just hope we don't lose faith in our country. I'm trying so hard not to (like, really damn hard). Because the day we give up is the day Trump really wins. I just can't allow that. I'll grieve until he's back out of office before doing that.
So America, it's okay to grieve. It's okay to go through the stages. But just... don't stop fighting back. Don't stop speaking out.
We are going to be okay. Somehow, we're going to be okay.