You are Not Alone

By Sharon Zhang (Junior at the Hockaday School)

Last night I went to bed (before the results of the election) just pure exhausted. I had one of those dreamless sleeps. I guess my brain was tired and wanted to rest up and prepare for whatever was to come the next day.

This morning I woke up with a brief moment of peace, before I recognized what day it was. As soon as I realized that election results were in, I raced to where I had left my phone and the first thing I saw was a text from a friend that said “how the fuck did trump win.” I was shocked. I didn’t know how to settle my thoughts, but as soon as I did, the tears came.

On my way to school this morning, looking at the communities around me, I wondered where I now belonged in this country. Looking at the small companies, restaurants, organizations, etc. run by people of every race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc., I wondered what would happen to their buildings, their businesses.

At school, someone greeted me with the usual “Good morning. How are you?” Out of habit, I replied, “good,” but immediately regretted my answer. Suddenly feeling threatened and unsafe in every sense, how could I be “good,” or even just “fine”? The rest of the day, whenever anyone asked me “How are you?,” I answered with a hug, shaking my head, sighing “not good.” I cannot tell you how many times I cried today. I cannot tell you how many friends, classmates, and teachers I saw with their eyes red and puffy from crying. And I am not wiping away these tears.

Today was my school’s Day of Service, and, honestly, there could not have been a better time to dedicate a day to community service. This gave us a chance to gather ourselves and our thoughts, to reflect and discuss openly with anyone who was willing to listen and share. I am especially thankful to the teachers who were unafraid to display their emotions; to have civil conversations on equal ground with us students; to offer their support, wisdom, and most of all, love, to us. On this day of service, we were reminded to keep fighting for what we believe in, to continue to be leaders in our community, to carry on with our brave voices, unapologetic in our actions.

In times of struggle, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. These obstacles are not setbacks, these are opportunities to grow, to learn, to improve, and there will always be another way to get around these obstacles. The sun is still shining, the waters are still moving; our hearts are still beating, we are still breathing. And so we shall keep living, no matter what, because tomorrow is another day.