A new president in the United States should be a moment that people don't forget. This new leadership should inspire hope in the country to accomplish more than ever before.
When Donald Trump was announced as the 45th president of the United States, all I could think is I wish I never got to this point.
Since 9:30pm that night, tears were trickling down my face, as the reality hit me harder than a cinder block to the face. As more of that stupid map turned red instead of blue, my heart dropped faster than that twist in your stomach in a horror movie when you know the killer is about to appear.
By 2:30 in the morning, numbness set in, as I realized I could never be the person I'm proud of being ever again. Slowly, I just removed my necktie as the tears fell faster. When one of my classmates announced that AP projected Trump as the winner, I felt all hope leave my body.
Some will call this extreme, but, in that moment, I knew that a person who had everything but my own personal interests at heart would become one of the most powerful people in the world. Seeing a good number of my peers who aren't straight white men break down right as NBC made the official statement sealed my fate -- it was officially the scariest thing to be a minority of any type.
I am a non-male, queer Asian who wants to be a journalist. Everything I've ever seen from Trump and his supporters puts a giant sign on my back that I'm everything they're against. The fact that I'm a Philly kid who is a raging American would mean nothing.
Every single time I'd see that flag that once inspired such confidence in me or I'd hear those first notes for the national anthem that prompted inordinate amounts of patriotism, I'd remember the numbers of the people who voted against me. With each new state choosing to support Trump, I realized how many stars on that flag fell away from representing me and more of those people who persecuted those who weren't like them.
Within a few hours, America the Beautiful became America the Nightmare.
I sobbed. I kept crying for hours. My friends came immediately to me, and I'm convinced they were the reason I didn't take any extreme measure to deal with the absolute despair that filled my lungs with each breath. The world's largest stone just lingered in my throat, as I choked out how I was so scared and didn't know what to do.
The most numbing moment? Although my friends were holding me tight and telling me that I would be okay, all I could think is that Trump's presidency could result in an era that I would not survive.
I have been out and proud for the last year and few months. As soon as I got home, I found a box and packed up everything that made me into the confident person people knew. All my ties, all my pride gear, all the fandom things that celebrated people like me -- shoved quickly into a box that I don't think I can ever open again.
Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress can ruin everything for me. Other than the fact that Trump would be in a position to sign into law a piece of First Amendment legislation that would allow discrimination against the LGBT community, these two major parts of the American government can choose the ninth Supreme Court Justice.
For an unnecessary amount of time, Congress has stalled on the appointment of Barack Obama's choice for a ninth justice. This ninth justice could be very conservative and deal with precedent-settling cases that could make how I live illegal. This ninth justice could very well overturn the law that established same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Or, even worse, Trump's Vice President, Mike Pence, could influence the passage of laws that enforce conversion therapy of gays.
Just in the first week since his victory, I have seen, blocks away from my home, a swastika painted on a building and have even been threatened by a random homeless man since I "voted wrong" and wasn't welcome into "his Boston."
I could lose all the progress I've made in the journey of accepting who I am without any hesitation. But, if Trump's election has taught me anything, this is my chance to be the best dang journalist I could ever be.
The odds are all against me just for the person I am, let alone considering the things I've accomplished in my life. I might be missing the confidence to look myself in the mirror and be shamelessly who I am meant to be for a long time, but there is one thing that this presidency cannot touch -- my writing.
This world needs journalists more than ever. People are quick to blame the media, and, just like every other middle man, we take the fall. Even if I am scared beyond belief, the work I can accomplish can last longer than the years I spend converting oxygen into carbon dioxide regularly.
The new president could want his all new news network all he wants; this has taught me that I should never compromise the work I am capable of just because I am scared. This new president and the ignorant, hateful supporters behind him can do whatever they want to me because I don't fit their ideal American mold, but good storytelling and reporting will outlast any damage that they can do to me.
As terrified as I am to even look another person in the eyes for the next couple of years, I have never been more motivated to do the job I was born to do. This isn't like George Orwell's 1984 -- thinking isn't illegal just yet. I have a chance to write stories that inspire people to think and maybe just change the world in a way that no one will ever end up in my situation again.
The 2016 election might haunt me for years, with it taking a long time for me to even go a day without crying in fear. The outcome of this election is far from ideal, but this isn't the end of my story no matter how much my anxiety suggests it to be. The best stories come from the most great and intense adversity.
Donald Trump's presidency goes against everything I am as a person on this planet. I cannot wait to show what heights I can reach as I build myself back up.