Tuesday night, I had the pleasure of returning to my room to face vandalism for the second time that day. In the morning, my roommate had written “Vote” on our whiteboard outside our door. No partisan message, just a little friendly reminder. We like to leave positive messages for each other and passersby. When I stopped by earlier after lunch, someone — either because of politics or some misguided notion of humor — added “Trump” to our sign.
I erased it and replaced it with some feminist Clinton slogans. I was originally happy to have a nonpartisan reminder that morning but, if someone wanted to make it political, I figured it should at least reflect the preferences of my roommate and me. I added “#We’re with her” and “Let’s make herstory” and went on to my afternoon classes in my Hillary-style pantsuit, a little peeved but not too discouraged.
I decided to turn in before the 2:30 a.m. announcement. It was clearly going to be a long night, and with nothing more I could do after months of volunteering on the campaign, I figured it would be healthiest to turn in and face the news in the morning. But when I returned that night to go to bed, I discovered that someone had erased the pro-Clinton phrases on the board — our board, not communal hall whiteboard but something we clearly put up for our own room.
I lost it. The anxiety growing under my skin bubbled to the surface. Next to the whiteboard, I taped an angry note with words that aren’t fit to print. Then I crawled into bed and cried for reasons I still quite put into words, falling asleep before the election was called.
In the morning, I woke up to a New York Times news alert and social media feeds filled with disappointment. The United States had democratically elected a man who, among so many other despicable qualities and policies, is accused of and boasts about committing sexual assault. As a woman passionate about gender equality, women’s leadership, and ending sexual violence; as someone dedicated to the Clinton campaign and ready to make history; and, quite frankly, as a human being, I didn’t know how to process this. I still don’t. I felt for my friends and anyone who feels that this result puts their safety and their loved ones’ safety at risk, acknowledging that I am not the person this outcome will affect the most.
I didn’t leave my room Wednesday morning. I sat and sobbed and I still have the tissues all over my floor to prove it. When I absolutely had to get up for class, I put on my “Dare to say the F-word: Feminism” t-shirt and my “A woman belongs in the House and the Senate” sweatshirt to make myself feel stronger. Still crying, I left my room.
After hearing the election results, I had expected that the vandal would have torn down my angry note or left some snide comment. To my surprise, it was still there, and people had left supportive notes beside it. I have no idea whether the vandal is a Trump supporter or a misguided prankster unable to fathom the negative impact that a Trump presidency will have on so many people. But I know that the love and kindness others anonymously left gave me the support I needed Wednesday morning.
So thank you to the people who left those supportive messages. Thank you to my roommate for the comforting words and constant checkins. Thank you to the friends and family who have texted me to see if I am doing okay. Thank you to the unknown student who said she liked my sweatshirt as I tearfully walked to class. Thank you to the students in class who came up to me as I tried to hold back tears and said they were there for me and happy to listen. Thank you to the student who hugged me and sat next to me so I would not be alone. Thank you to the students who were also sniffling through class and who shared pained and knowing looks. Thank you to my professors who understood how much this election meant to me and reached out. Thank you for your love and support as we process these election results and move forward. I needed the reminder that love trumps hate, the current message on the whiteboard. We truly are stronger together.
Marni Morse is a politics major from Washington, DC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.