Dear Hillary…

You are an inspiration.

I purchased my ticket to the book signing more than 100 days ago. I stood in line for more than three and a half hours the morning of the event. Yet, when I finally stood in front of Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday  morning, I had no idea what to say to her. She held out her hand and I took it. It was soft. Her handshake strong. She smiled. I quivered. And I said the only words I could choke out.

You are an inspiration.

And then I was being ushered along by a secret service agent. Handed a book. Escorted to the stairs. Blinking. Surprised. Is it over? Is that really what I said?

I’m a writer, darn it. Spouting a platitude! I didn’t even say such an inspiration. I didn’t say “You are an inspiration to me.”

So, here is what I wish I had said to Hillary Clinton on Monday morning. If there had been no ear-pieced agents, no crowd of 1,000 people crowded behind me. Here is what I would have said.

You are an inspiration to me. I know that you’ve probably been told that a million times, but I want you to know that it is true. 

When I voted for you over a year ago, I did so knowing that you weren’t perfect. I knew the complaints leveled against you quite well. But the realities about him felt so much darker. So much more sinister. So frightening.

So I drove my ballot to a drop off box. Took a selfie of myself. Thinking I was marking an important moment in history. I guess I was. I just didn’t know then what a dark point in history it would turn out to be.

I am still a little amazed at how we got here. But yet, here we are. And in the days following the election results. I saw the shock turn into action.

I saw women, and men, march against a culture that tells them to stay quiet. I saw churches in my community speak up for immigrants who are being marginalized and vilified. I saw my Facebook feed fill with #MeToo, creating a community where no one felt alone anymore.

That is why I am standing here in front of you, Hillary, telling you that you are an inspiration me to me.

You have inspired me to reach out to immigrants who are feeling alone and frightened and hated and let them know that we are all humans who deserve love and dignity.

You have inspired me to write letters to senators and congressmen, because trusting that someone else will do the right thing is a trust misplaced.

You have inspired me to write my own #MeToo story, to fearfully step out of the shadows and remind people that this kind of thing happens to their girlfriends, daughters and friends.

You have inspired me to bear forth my light, even when the darkness feels like it will overtake everything.

You have inspired me to pray. Because even when I feel absolutely powerless and afraid, I can still do that.

You didn’t give me my voice, Hillary. Before you, I had a voice. I had a mind. I had a will. But you reminded me that I  must use them. I must not wait for someone else to do things I know I need to do. Because sometimes, nobody does.

So, thank you Hillary. For fighting. And then for accepting a crushing defeat with dignity and grace. And for resting. And healing. And now, for stepping back out. And inspiring people like me.

You are an inspiration.




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