2016… What a weird year, huh? My head feels a little bit like mush as I remember this past week. When I walked into the polling room at our school, and cast my vote, I had some pride well up in my heart. Did I think Hillary Clinton would make the best president yet? I really wasn’t sure. I don’t agree with anyone’s politics 100%, but I felt proud that I lived in a time when a woman could run and run well. I sat with my husband until late in the evening that night, watching the back and forth of the numbers, and realized I would not be hearing the words Madame President. I realized when my children woke in the morning I would have to tell them Donald Trump was their new president.

At the beginning of the primaries, I looked at my husband and said, “America isn’t ready for a female president.” He didn’t listen to me, he didn’t believe me, I love his optimism.

When we woke on Wednesday he turned to me and said, “How do you think those 11 women feel?”

“They feel how women have always felt.” I replied, as I glared down into my coffee cup.

2016… What a weird year.

We were told that a college kid shouldn’t be punished for “20 minutes of action.” And watched with horror when he was let off. And painful month after painful month we watched Donald Trump degrade woman while he ran against one for the presidency.  Wednesday morning I had to tell my oldest that Trump had been elected president of the United States. The same boy who wrote a paper early in the primaries begging people to not vote for Trump because he wanted to turn America into all white people and that would hurt everyone. The same son that I have to teach day in and day out that you treat women with respect, dignity, equality, and if you don’t… Well, let’s face it… He’s a white male, there will be no consequences to his actions, he can treat women however the hell he wants and run for president and win. That ‘s the country we live in. We can treat women like trash to be thrown away and no one bats an eye.

If you have ever wondered how a woman, after having been violated, did not speak up for herself, just look at our political climate right now. There is no reason for us to speak up, because no one is listening. We take stock in our minds, who all will our accusations hurt? It always comes back to hurting us more. That is why we don’t speak up. Because we don’t matter, we are damaged goods. And if you think I’m being dramatic, overly feministic, look to the woman on your right and ask her if she has ever been violated and what she did about it. Try having a real conversation with the women around you about how they are treated on a daily bases and how they respond. If you really listen, if you really take heart, it might just break yours.

Women. We are amazing creatures. Our candidate lost and everyone on the other side will tell us to get over it and move on. Just as they tell us we should smile more and be friendly. And what’s amazing is, we will. We’ll pick ourselves up after another beating, brush ourselves off, and keep fighting our battles. We might even do it with a pretty smile on our face, just for you.

I won’t give up on my four boys. I refuse to raise them thinking they can treat anyone as a lesser. There is one less role model for them and one more great excuse that their actions don’t hold weight. But I won’t let them believe that, I will keep doing my best to teach them better. That’s how the world grows after all, one small child at a time, learning to love people better.