Today is finally the day. On the surface, it feels like I’ve been waiting a year and a half for this day, but truly I’ve been waiting 25 years. America has been waiting centuries.
It’s Election Day, but more importantly, it’s the first time Americans saw a female presidential nominee from one of the two major parties on the ballot. When I saw her name, I became teary-eyed. The night of the DNC when she accepted the nomination, I cried.
I cried out of happiness and hope (something I rarely do). I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t control the overwhelming joy I had for myself, my mother, my grandmothers, my future daughters and all the young girls nationwide.
I cried out of gratefulness for the women, the fighters, who stood up for what they believed in and what they knew to be true. They fought a battle that they knew was not for their benefit, because sadly it took centuries to get here, they fought that fight for us. The women of tomorrow. Each one of them selflessly stood strong and raised their voice so another woman could progress a little further.
The fight for women’s rights has been a long, drawn out and tireless battle. So why do I feel like I’ve only waited a year for this moment? Why do I not feel the burden of 200 years on my shoulders finally being lifted?
Perhaps it’s because a female president felt like the unattainable prize. It was just something of little girl’s dreams and progressive movie plots.
Seeing a woman in the Oval Office was something I desperately wanted, but I wasn’t brave enough to face the disappointment.
I’ve always been an “expect the worse, hope for the best” type person. But most of the time I have too much anxiety to handle the stress of hope–especially when it comes to gender equality. In my short lifetime, I’ve already sat below the glass ceiling that hangs above my career, life and education.
Bosses have called me “honey” rather than by my name. Projects and ideas are usually mansplained to me. I’ve been asked to “show some leg” to bring in business. I’ve received good reviews, referrals or grades that were immediately followed by sexual advances.
And the sad thing is, none of these instances surprised me. They were expected.
My mother prepared me for those days. She never waivered from the reality of being a woman in the workplace, or just a woman in general. She told me stories of the abuse she endured. Some would see her as a victim, I see her as a survivor. It’s because of my mother’s honesty and preparation that these instances didn’t escalate to what they could have.
I believe a woman sitting in the highest office in the nation will mean that more girls will be prepared for leadership and chasing their limitless dreams, rather than bracing themselves to be taken advantage of by the status quo.
I don’t know for sure what tonight’s outcome will be, but today I’m not afraid to have hope. Because history has been made. The hard work and dedication of the women who believed more was possible will not be wasted. They’ve made it so that America’s first female president is no longer the unattainable prize—it’s the destination.
Needless to say, I’m With Her.