The Morning After

tips opinionsNow what? I stayed up last night until 2am and stared at the screen praying for a miracle. I’m coming off a rough week being an Indians fan and had done the same thing in Game 7. I stayed up knowing that it was over but convinced myself that maybe if I stared at the screen long enough, the result might change. Obviously, the candidate that I hoped would win…did not. So, after a restless, sleepless night, I made my kids breakfast and broke the news to them. My husband called on his commute to work and encouraged me to be positive and to explain that this is the “democratic process.” He actually sounded almost chipper and when I asked why, he said, “ I have to believe it’s going to be ok. We both do.” That’s my husband. Optimistic when I need it most. Thanks, Babe.

Like many of my friends have already expressed in social media this morning, I faced many questions from my little brood. My 11 year old asked first if I was joking and then she checked online in disbelief to confirm what I’d told her. “But he says mean things about women.” Then, I answered my 9 year old who asked if “you’re allowed to say mean things and call people names when your president.” Yes, I guess you can but I hope he won’t. And when my 7 year old, with her pretty tan skin and big brown eyes asked if he would “make that wall-thing so that tan people can’t come in,” I said, “I hope not.”

Then after dropping them off at school, I took to my bed. I plan to stay here until pick up.

Of course, I was moved by Van Jones’ emotional and eloquent words late last night. Listen to it if you haven’t already. That’s what is at the heart of it for those of us that are depressed and despondent today. We want to know if these results reflect people’s true feelings about race and gender. Of my friends that fall into the whopping 48% who voted for him, please tell me it’s because of money. Please tell me—and my children–that it had nothing to do with race or gender. Please tell me that you, too, disagreed with—and were offended by—so many of his ugly, hurtful comments. I just need to know that we’re on the same page when it comes to our view of humanity. I can live with disagreeing on the economy, healthcare and the military, but please tell me we feel the same way when it comes to race and gender. When it comes to how we treat people and speak to them. Tell me his views on women, immigrants, minorities and people with disabilities disgust you and have had nothing to do with your vote. Please tell me that you voted with your wallet not your heart.

See, that’s why the other side is so sad today. Because we worry about what his victory reveals about what our family, friends and neighbors are really thinking and feeling…without saying. Because we’re scared that he spoke to a prejudice that was bubbling deep inside of people in this country and began 8 years ago with the first African American president. We’re afraid that you voted for him because someone finally voiced the things buried deep inside that our country has learned are not appropriate to say in 2016.

We all knew that no matter who won, too much had been said already. It’s like a bad argument with your spouse where you go to bed angry and have regrets in the morning. Where you expose an ugly side of yourself and say hurtful things that you can never take back.

Today is a wash for me. I’m still in bed and plan to stay here until 3pm pickup. I will remain in this zombie state of shock and disbelief for the rest of today. I don’t really want to talk about it with anyone. Maybe I’ll watch some trash tv.

Tomorrow, I vow to will myself to follow my husband’s example and to be positive. There are a lot of things that annoy me about him, believe me; but in moments like this, I’m fortunate to have him and his optimism to cling to. “Maybe he’ll soften on immigration and on the wall,” he reassured me, “and will focus on the economy. Maybe he’ll rise to the call of duty and surprise us.” Maybe he will. Maybe he’ll reveal a different side of himself that we haven’t yet seen and will encourage acceptance, respect and generosity. I have to hope that he will. I have to live up to a promise I made my son before I had any idea that the outcome would be what it is. He asked, “What will we do if he wins?” I told him, “We’ll support and respect him and pray that he can be good president for our nation.”

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."