Finally, I Can Breathe
Most will remember where they were — I will remember my first sigh of relief
Where were you the day Joe Biden was elected President? It’ll be another question added to the list, like being on campus on 9/11, or my mom remembering exactly where she was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
I won’t have a splashy answer for November 7, 2020. I wasn’t out on the streets of New York City, Atlanta, Philly, or D.C. (although I delighted in all of the joy thanks to Twitter). When CNN flashed the news that Biden was the new President-Elect, I took the deepest breath. I raised my hands, and I said thank you. I’ll remember that deep relieving belly breath for the rest of my life.
Representation isn’t everything, but after four years of being beaten down for my race and gender, it sure is a start.
As a person with high anxiety, I’m a ball of nerves about pretty much everything. It’s been my way since I was a little girl. But over the last four years, the fear was vicious. Whether inciting violence among dangerous groups, failing to take a pandemic seriously, mocking women, or disrespecting countries around the world, one person could send my day into a tailspin.
It’s over. With one deep breath, it left my body.
I know that there’s a way to go for unity in the U.S. But knowing that a person who really cares whether my family survives Covid-19 will be our next president makes me feel calmer. A mixed-race woman, with my skin and my hair, will be known as Madame Vice President. Representation isn’t everything, but after four years of being beaten down for my race and gender, it sure is a start.
I’ll remember where I was when I watched Biden’s victory speech: In my bed, listening to my dog’s breathing with no care in the world, as she should on a Saturday night. And as she exhales from her chubby belly, I remember to do so as well.
The work can and must continue. But for now, I’ll just breathe.