November 7th: What a day to be alive.
Yesterday, for a brief moment, we were euphoric.
Disclaimer to the wonderful progressives reading: I’m not writing this article to talk about how perfect Biden and Harris are — I know they’re not. I know there’s work to do. I’m still thrilled. This moment is about getting Trump out of office. That’s it. That’s the point.
We forget what this felt like, huh? As news of the Biden/Harris win hit on Saturday morning, millions of people were swept into a dreamlike state of abundant joy. It was (and continues to be) a surreal high — a dreamlike combination of feelings reminiscent of a celebratory parade, a well deserved holiday, and a sunny weekend — coupled with Trump’s ousting all rolled into one.
Man. Sometimes, life just gives you a moment.
We experienced so many goddamn feelings yesterday. I was walking Manhattan streets with a couple of friends and there were moments of smiles, relief, and tears — but underneath all of it, there was something deeper. There was a quiet silence. There were moments where we didn’t even know what to say. After one of these bittersweet stretches of quiet, one of my friends simply said: “I forgot what it felt like to be this happy.”
“I forgot what it felt like to be this happy.”
I’m stuck on the accuracy of this statement. In the middle of 2020’s dystopian hellscape, we haven’t been able to celebrate…anything. Birthdays, holidays, Fridays, weekends, trips, weddings, concerts — it’s all gone right now. 2020 has been a year of suffering, introspection, raw ugly feelings, and just “getting by” and “hanging in there”. It’s been a collective mix of fear, anxiety, alarm, and difficult conversations. The concept of excitement has disappeared for a lot of us. The idea that something good could happen — it’s foreign, this idea of hope.
It’s no surprise then, that we’re shell shocked with how hard this joy hit. I couldn’t even place the feeling at first — yesterday, in Washington Square Park, my friend and I danced with sheer abandon. When was the last time any of us felt this good? I was jumping up and down. I was giddily raising my fist up at strangers. I didn’t know I wasn’t happy — until I was.
The collective numbness is something else. We’ve all gotten so used to the current status quo that we literally…fucking forgot about the feeling of sheer joy.
I don’t know if that’s super sad or super beautiful. The fact that this weekend represents so many of the things we’ve been missing, so much of what we have to look forward to — or the fact that we’ve been restricted from feeling these things for so long. It’s a bit of both.
Witnessing the smiles on people’s faces and the collective happiness this weekend is otherworldy. There’s a sense of catharsis and hope and magic in the air, for the first time in…forever.
It’s kind of insane to think about. This win set against the backdrop of 2020 — the contrast is something else. At times, it feels like something out of a movie plot or a trilogy series. This weekend has highlighted everything we’re missing, while making this moment that much sweeter. The overwhelming feelings from this are a direct consequence of the terribleness of this year. Sure, we would’ve celebrated if there wasn’t a pandemic — but we all know it wouldn’t have felt this powerful, this good, this breathtaking, this therapeutic.
I don’t just see joy on people's faces. I see tears of relief. I see anxiety slipping away. I see people smiling for the first time since March. I see women — myself included, feeling seen, and heard for the first time EVER. And that, my friends, is truly priceless. This moment of collective joy is something to hold onto and remember forever.
I’m not saying the work is done. Like I said before, that’s not what this post is about. No, we’re not packing up our bags and going to bed for four more years. We’re more engaged than we ever have been. I’m so inspired and moved by the activism and conviction and passion of the people around me and within me.
But for now…just exhale. Enjoy a moment of sheer happiness. Let it go. Be giddy. Smile with abandon. Bask in the sunshine.
We all desperately needed this.
We all deserve this.