I am a Brown Woman Living in America and Now I'm Scared

I am a Brown Woman Living in America and Now I'm Scared

A roller coaster ride of accepting our new reality.

Published November 10, 2016

Today is November 10, the day after the world faced a terrifying truth — that President-elect Donald Trump would be running the United States of America for the next four years come 2017. Obviously, you can see that my vote went elsewhere. I am a Puerto Rican millennial woman who voted for Hillary Clinton and now I'm scared. Actually, scared is just one of my many feelings. When you’re a young female minority in country that’s about to be run by a racist, self-proclaimed p***y grabber, it’s hard to assess your emotions. They don’t come all at once, but in waves.

The past 72 hours or so went a little something like this for me:

10:30 a.m. – I proudly cast my ballot at my local polling station for who I thought would be the first woman president. For you to fully understand how positive I was that she would be victorious, you need to realize that the first election I was able to vote in was for President Barrack Obama’s historical 2008 win. To be a part of a generation responsible for electing the first Black president (and his re-election) makes you feel like you’re unstoppable. We weren’t.

11:30 p.m. – Fast forward to more than 12 hours later and I’m watching news coverage on the election. The polls are either closed or closing. Votes are being tallied. The projections from each state roll in one by one. It’s looking bleaker and bleaker for Hillary supporters like myself. Donald Trump has won a majority of the electoral college votes and Hillary’s chances of winning are slim. But there are a few states left to go, including Florida, a battleground state. You can hear the hope in the anchors' voices while they talk about the growing Puerto Rican population in the sunshine state that could sway the conventionally Republican state. Even though it’s a longshot, we’re running out of options so we hope because we refuse to believe the worst. As we await the results in Florida, I feel SO proud. I’m third generation American and live in New York, but I have family there and in PR, so I can’t help but feel overcome with joy to know my people, a people from little Isla de Borinquen, could have the power to shift this election. We almost did.

1:40 a.m. – They hadn’t called it yet, but I went to bed feeling defeated. I was so ready to stay up late and watch Hillary break that glass ceiling when the night started. But I decided to take myself off of the emotional roller coaster I had been riding all night and hit the sheets hoping to wake up to a miracle. Our country could not let that man replace our beloved Obama. They did.

8:45 a.m. – I woke up late and it was raining outside. I was exhausted, not “I-don’t-want-to-go-work" exhausted, but physically exhausted. So much so, I completely missed my alarm clock going off. When you work in media, checking Instagram and Twitter updates is the first thing you do as soon as you wake up, but I was hesitant that morning. The longer I put off finding out who won, the longer I could live in my little bubble of hope. But like a big girl, I grabbed my phone and saw a message from a friend. It was a quote from CNN: “African-American, Latino and younger voters failed to show up at the polls in sufficient numbers Tuesday to propel Clinton into the White House.” It happened.

I’m writing this story today and not yesterday because yesterday I couldn’t. Yesterday, I worked from home and watched the news, looking for answers I didn’t find. I didn’t leave my house because the thought of stepping into a world where my president-to-be is a fomer reality star was too much too handle. So I just stayed put and kept watching.

Today I decided I had to leave the house and venture into my office in Times Square, where just last night there were Trump protesters being watched carefully by police on the news. The scene looked like something out of a '60s civil rights protest. 

I’m not happy, still a little sad, not mad, scared of the unknown and feel a little betrayed by those who put him in office. My overall experience this whole bumpy election ride comes down to one thought: I was too comfortable. I thought for sure my fellow Americans had my back — had her back — but it’s when you’re comfortable that you’re at your weakest. Coming off the high of the Obama presidency, we learned a lot about white supremacy — mainly that it still exists.

Sorry, this isn’t one of those essays with a positive spin, but I’m still working on getting there. For right now, I am a Puerto Rican millennial woman who, right now, is a little bit more proud to be Boricua than an American.

Written by Jazmine A. Ortiz

(Photo: JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)

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