I grew up in small-town America, with ultra-conservative beliefs and values. When it came to politics, I knew nothing other than my duty to vote a Republican, straight-party ticket.

Now, grown and living among a more diverse group of people who are often anything but conservative, I found myself deeply invested in this election. For the first time, I made my own decisions, and I even changed my party affiliation to independent because that is exactly how I felt — free and detached.

For weeks, I confidently and arrogantly proclaimed that the glass ceiling would shatter Nov. 8, and I was even considering buying a pantsuit. I voted with both my heart and my mind on every question and candidate, and I snagged that “I Voted” sticker with pride.

And then I woke up Nov. 9. Devastated.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? I sulked, I cried, and I racked my brain as to how others felt so strongly opposite of what I believed absolutely true.

For the first half of Wednesday, I avoided social media and the inevitable comments and articles I knew would take me further down a rabbit hole of depression. By the afternoon, I decided to check in and see how my fellow Americans were handling it.

I eased in with Instagram, figuring there would at least be a few cute kid pics, but my feed was eerily low on content. As some people went back to normal life, others made melancholy comments on their happy posts, like, “Glad someone could smile today …”

I moved on to Twitter, my happy place of sarcasm and like-minded citizens, ready to find out that I wasn’t overreacting or grieving alone. I found comfort in spades. The amount of Trump support I saw, especially from those from whom I didn’t expect it, took me aback. But I also found a lot of great humor, some surprising positivity and a country that will continue to fight for the future.

Sarcasm trumps my hateful attitude

Celebration from Trump, ‘celebrity’ support

Working through it

Good vibes and positivity

And the most important for myself and others who felt a personal loss:

“To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”
— Hillary Clinton

Thanks Hillary, and don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere.