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Once Upon a Time Was Yesterday

Dear Hillary Clinton,

I’m still waiting for my t-shirt I bought two weeks ago. It reads “Wisconsites for Hillary.” When it comes, I still plan to wear it, because of what I learned about myself from watching you. On my much smaller life scale, I think I once felt like you could now. That after ten years of nonprofit work, I had worked so hard, to serve, to do what was needed, to give where nothing was given, to lead. Shortly before I made the decision to return to the United States I said to a coworker, “You can’t ever know them. Not really. You just never know.”

But, Hillary, I think you did know. You knew you would be the “nasty woman” and not the princess. You knew you would be judged as the system and not as a person. In short, you knew, what I have only recently learned while attempting to make teacher a synonym for leader. You knew you would not be seen as human to some, and not be treated with the respect owed to every human on this planet, by to others. But you continued letting us read the story you wanted to write anyway.

When I left nonprofit work, I not only wanted to close the book, I wanted to rip its pages apart, to burn it, to bury it, and on my best day, simply never read one word of it again. What had been the point of writing it anyway? I wasn’t who they wanted, and I wasn’t even sure I was who I wanted, such is the curse of living half and double lives at once.

Life isn’t fair. Most importantly, for all the girls and women you stood up in front of, it is not a fairy tale. I felt my cut ties slice across my stomach and ropes that tied my hands burn my wrists. I was dirty and tired and confused, but I realize now that having nothing to say is worse. And the only person who can make me say nothing is me. What is different about the stories still inside our pages between yesterday and today before the votes were counted? My book still sits on memory’s shelf, and yours is probably bent open with two or three pages bent underneath the flattened spine near a coffee cup or under someone’s foot. But, I promise that I have pulled my copy from the fire.

I know the pit in my stomach isn’t sickness, it’s resolve. Resolve to bring the words back to truer interpretations of their definitions. Resolve to write a character bigger than “us” and “them”. Resolve to rewrite the subtext in the dialogue so that the reader pays attention to the storyline that I need them to hear. Hillary, I am resolved to be an author that continues the story when I am the one who least wants to hear it. I attempted to console my broken heart once upon a time with words I read again this day. Once upon a time was yesterday. Today is not a happy ending, but I must find something that is happy in it.

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