This is my home.
Election night felt like a dream, the bad kind.
I watched the numbers come in along with the rest of the nation, and I felt my entire body shutting down.
Next to me, my boyfriend wept. But I was stony-faced.
"I'm tapping out for a bit," I typed on Facebook. Then I turned my face to the wall and fell into an uneasy sleep.
I dreamed of tornados. I dreamed of danger and death.
I woke up once in the middle of the night and grabbed my phone where I was confronted with what I already knew: Donald Trump was our president-elect, and the dream of an experienced, female politician at the helm of our nation was already evaporating.
During the interminable election that was, I spoke (at first jokingly) about leaving the country if Donald Trump was elected president.
After continued examples of Donald Trump's dangerous racism and sexism came to light, it transformed from a joke to a plan, of sorts.
If Donald Trump won, I would move to either Canada or New Zealand and try to make a better life for me and any family I might create.
I didn't see it as abandoning my country, I saw it as saving my life.
As many people have pointed out already, Donald Trump was elected president of our country on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a dark reminder of violence and hatred perpetrated by the Nazis under Adolf Hilter.
I thought about Hitler too, when I decided whether or not I wanted to leave the country.
Would I really be abandoning my nation, or would I be like the Germans who left Germany just before it became impossible to do so? Are the stakes really that high?
I think that they are, but Donald Trump or not, I'm staying in this country and I'm going to keep fighting for what I know to be right. Because that is my birthright and my privilege as a citizen of the United States.
When you hit a dark chapter, you don't throw the book away, you keep reading.
When you see something broken, you don't leave it there to rust, you pick it up and use the skills you have to make it better.
Leaving Donald Trump's America wouldn't change anything about America.
It would be the same, but without me.
I have to stay here, even if I'm terrified. I have to stay here and work even harder because I've now seen proof that our nation is more broken than I ever thought possible and I need to do my part to help put the pieces back together again.
I harbor no illusions. I know that change is slow and that it is a process, but I can't believe that hate will ever truly trump love.
While walking my dog this morning and thinking about the future of my children I started crying.
I couldn't help myself. Tears streamed down my face.
I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to face a 40-something Black woman.
"We're gonna make it through this," she said and gave me the biggest and best hug I've had in a long time.
I was frozen for a second, but then I melted and started to sob all over again.
I was still upset about Donald Trump's win, but I was also reminded in that moment of what makes this country so great.
If you're feeling defeated and scared, you aren't alone.
We're a people founded on the belief that if the system governing you isn't working, we break down that system and we, the people, come up with a system that does.
We've got three branches of government for a reason. Much as Donald Trump thinks "he alone" can fix our country, that's not how our country works.
The results of this election didn't just make Donald Trump president, they underlined the very real brokenness of our nation as a whole.
We can't unbreak it, but if we work together we can heal it.
Maybe that sounds like naive prattle of liberal writer, but maybe it isn't so outrageous of a dream after all.
Either way, I'm sticking around to find out.