It's four a.m. and I can't sleep. Like a new mother, I'm alerting to every sigh and whimper coming from the room of our daughters, now twelve and almost ten. I keep wandering in, covering them, kissing them or stroking back their hair.
In the next twenty-four hours our lives will change. By the following morning, my daughters will either be living in a nation honoring it's first female president or in a nation that chose to lead it a man whose history of objectifying women is fact and common knowledge. We are on the cusp of history in the making ... and I find it painful to leave their room.
A semicolon is a pause in the action, a breath taken in to continue speaking ... tonight I'm stuck in that semicolon, caught between The United States Before the Election of 2016 and The United States After the Election of 2016. I'm struggling to exhale.
This is not a peaceful pause. This place I, we, are stuck should be thrilling and heady for those who choose to vote for Hillary Clinton. Yet for some the alternative scares us so deeply to our cores that the exuberance and joy is tarnished by anxiety and pain. Women and men who have been violated in their past have had that dragged out of their psyches and broken open, not by choice but by a presidential election!
Many are struggling to stay positive, thankful for the chance to connect with others for support and solidarity (I'm looking at you, Pantsuit Nation, currently at 2.4 MILLION members). Many other voters are trying to build back up the boundaries ripped down by this election year.
I'm both terrified and eager to let go of the Before and see what happens on the other side of this historical semicolon. We have weeks worth of news and debate footage, articles and analysis that could take months to pour over. It's very rare in life that one gets a chance to record a Before and After that has taken hold of our nation the way this election has.
In the early hours before the polls open, I chose to record the part of this election that mattered most to me. My daughters may never understand why I took pictures of their soft, sleeping faces tonight but staring in the face of such a life-altering After, I realized I needed to record my Before. And somehow find a way to exhale.