finding strength when I need it most

This isn't the post I had planned for today. You'll see it next week (I'll be sharing what Kurt and I gave to one another to celebrate our first anniversary last month), because it just didn't feel right to post today.  

Yesterday was a hard day for me, and I know it was possibly a hard day for many of you. I went to bed early on election night because I had traveled to Indiana that morning for work. I was tired, both physically and mentally, and knew that staying up to watch the results was not going to be productive for me. I went to bed nervous, but still hopeful that on November 9th I would celebrate the election of our first female president.

Yesterday I cried off and on, my heart heavy with what had happened. I proudly voted for Hillary Clinton because she most represented what is important to me - funding medical research for diseases like Alzheimer's and Diabetes; maintaining control of my own body and reproductive rights; advancing the dialogue and resources available to end campus sexual assaults; protecting our environment and wildlife by exploring clean energy sources; and most importantly, the success of women where it has been slow to happen. Those are things that I work for every day in my job and I saw a promising future in those areas with her as the president of our country.  

Yesterday I also experienced two things I never, ever thought would happen to me. Driving home from work, I was tailed for almost 10 miles by another car honking and flashing their lights behind me. When they finally pulled up next to me to pass, the white man driving shouted out of his open window, "Go back to Jersey you liberal bitch!" My rental car has New Jersey license plates and New Jersey's electoral votes supported Hillary Clinton in the election. 

Not quite an hour later, I was waiting in the self-checkout area of a grocery store. It was somewhat busy and when I went to walk up to an open register after waiting my turn, I was cut off by another white man who told me that after last night's election, I should know that my place was behind him. He was probably close to my father's age. 

I was thankful to not be alone last night, to be able to share my hurt and disbelief with one of my closest friends who comforted me after these experiences. It's possible that others experiencing feelings of hurt and fear may not have been so lucky. 

Today, I felt a little differently. The hollowness I felt in my heart began to fill, and I thought a lot about the work that I do and the importance it has. Because in addition to yesterday being the day after Election Day, it was also the Founders' Day of my sorority. Yesterday we celebrated the work of five trailblazers - the first five women to attend Colby College in Waterville, Maine. Ridiculed by their male peers and professors, it's no wonder they felt alone and sought strength and support from one another. Celebrating these five courageous women reminded me that women are strong, that we need to stand up for ourselves and one another, and that now is not a time to hide, it's a time to be relentless in our pursuit of what is good. 

I look forward to the day when women are able to shatter the glass ceiling that remains just slightly out of reach for us this year. And I am confident that the work I do everyday providing over 160,000 women throughout the world with opportunities for social, intellectual and spiritual development will make a difference in reaching that point.

I am also eager to learn more about how I can make a difference in what our world will look like in the next few days, weeks, months and years. I do not want to sit idly; I do not want to wait for someone else to act. I want to do all I can to make sure the hate and anger that was shown to me yesterday does not persist. 

I want to close my thoughts by sharing a blog post shared yesterday on A Cup of Jo, one of my very favorite blogs. These words helped me regain my strength after a draining day, and I hope they may help you in the same way. 

giving with meaning: our first anniversary

giving with meaning: our first anniversary

10 tips and tricks for smooth traveling

10 tips and tricks for smooth traveling