When I was a junior in college, one of my professors told our class, “Don’t you ever let anyone convince you that you’re feelings are invalid. What you feel is yours. No one has the right to take away your feelings. This is important to remember, and if you come away from my class and only remember one thing, I hope that is it.”

I need to keep reminding myself of this when I’m being told to “get over it,” “move on,” “don’t be sad,” “things will be okay,” and “stop crying.” It’s been 4 hours since I’ve last cried, by the way. Before that it was about 14 hours. Progress.

My feelings are valid. I am upset. I don’t tell anyone to be happy, sad, or angry, because I don’t know what they are feeling. It’s only been 3 days since we elected him. I need time. A lot of people need time.

I didn’t vote for him. But a lot of people did. I’m, on one hand, utterly confused and devastated. And on the other hand, I should have known this was coming. Because how could someone as qualified as Hillary Clinton lose to someone as severely unqualified as Donald Trump?

Then I look around. She didn’t win. Because she is a woman. I hear people throw out the word “corrupt” and “liar” as if her emails were the worst thing to ever happen. She was found innocent. And let’s not ignore the fact that the Bush administration lost 22 million emails. We have to be fair if we shun Hillary, so we must shun the others who did the same. Shouldn’t we?

But all unfairness aside, let’s look at this election as if it was a hiring process for a job as Manager or CFO (you name it) of a well-established company. It would play out like this:

Hillary Clinton shows up in a pantsuit and hands over her resume to the interviewer. It’s full of her requirements for the job position. She is exceeding the past job experience, almost as if she’s “too qualified.” She has been (let’s say) a senator, first lady, secretary of state (to name a few). She’s worked in similar positions as compared to the job she’s applying for, so little training will be needed. The transition from the last Manager or CFO will be smooth. She already knows the ropes.

Then Donald Trump comes in for his interview. He is a business man. But he’s failed countless times. He’s gone bankrupt. But he claims he knows people. Good people. Tremendous people. He tells the interviewer that he knows more about this job than anybody! And despite never hitting the requirements for this job and interrupting the female interviewer countless times, he gets hired. They choose him.

So you have Hillary who has worked her butt off, and then you have Donald who just showed up. I would have hired the qualified candidate. But that’s just me (and 60,467,244 other people).

People say that it didn’t matter – the qualifications. They wanted someone different. They didn’t want her. Okay, you say that, but what do you mean?

This is where I don’t understand. I know really good people who voted for Trump, but Trump has built a platform of hate and then ran with it at his rallies. He picked a VP who is anti-LGBT – if you can’t pray the gay away, let Mike Pence shock your brain until you are heterosexual. And that hits home to me. I’m a lesbian. I am hurt. I am rightfully in pain.

And maybe they didn’t think of me. Maybe they didn’t think of the Muslims in America. Maybe they didn’t think of the people of color. Maybe they didn’t think of women. Maybe they didn’t think of Somali refugees. Maybe they didn’t think of people with disabilities. Maybe they didn’t think of our LGBT+ community.

Or they did think of those people and thought that Donald Trump can only do so much when he’s president – so maybe those people who Trump hated on throughout his campaign, MAYBE, nothing bad will come of it. Maybe he’s full of hot air.

I’m not fictionalizing my fears for the minorities I referenced above. I’m not creating conspiracy theories about Trump’s rhetoric. I am shouting back at his claims. I am making it clear that he publically said those things. But maybe his supporters forgot.

But they remember this: Hillary Clinton called them deplorable. And that made them feel bad. That made them angry. And it should. She hurt their feelings. Their feelings are valid. I will not tell them to get over it. I will not tell them that their feelings aren’t real.

And then she apologized. Never forget that she regretted what she said.

I want Donald Trump to apologize for his words. He hasn’t. He said those things. I was raised to see the good in people, but he said those things. He demeaned me as a woman and as a lesbian. He pointed a finger at my friends and said that they are not good enough to be here, live her, get married here, and have rights here. I wish Trump was good. But he’s climbing his own steep ladder of hateful words that spewed onto the rungs.

The worst part of this is that some people (I didn’t say all) agreed with his hateful words. They heard him say that Mexicans are rapists. And the people repeated it. They shouted it. The KKK supports him. I mean, hello? THE KU KLUX KLAN SUPPORTS HIM! How does that not terrify you?

Maybe I’m not supposed to know the reasons behind his support. Maybe it’s better for me not to know.

Does his bark have no bite?

Because I am permanently bruised. I will recover because I am strong, but those scars won’t disappear. He has burned me deeply with words. I do not admire him. I will never throw my support for him until he shows support for me and my friends and my family and my community and my country of immigrants.

I will rise above him. I will not wallow in my sadness or anger. I will continue to grow and support the people around me. I will volunteer. I will donate to Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits that feel threatened of being abolished. I will hold your hand if you need it. I will listen to your troubles. I am your friend.

I do not hate you. Any of you. I do not think you are awful. I love you. You are my friends. Right now I am sad. And I hope you respect that. I’m asking you not to tell me how to feel. I’m asking you to not tell me what to do. I will welcome advice, sure, and you can want me to feel better, yes. But let me go through my process – please respect that. I’ve been in bouts of despair before. I’ve felt lost before, but look at me now! Or, well, look at me a few days ago! I will be there again. I promise. You can worry about me if you want to, but I’ll be alright. This isn’t my first battle.

But let me be clear: I am not pitching a fit because Hillary Clinton lost. I am not throwing a tantrum because I lost too. I have listened to Donald Trump talk. I have watched him debate. I have heard him loud and clear. He does not have my best intentions in mind. I don’t want to hear that I “win some and lose some.” This isn’t a game of chess. This is much bigger than that.

I am more than willing to hope for the best. I do not want to see our country fail. I want it to thrive with diversity and jobs and love. Most of all, I hope there is love. So if you see someone hurt, I would hope you would help them. If you hear someone shouting “GO BACK TO MEXICO,” I would hope you would step in and say something. Because if you believe in America, we can’t leave anyone behind. We cannot ignore what is happening around us just because if might not be affecting us personally. I hope you do your part. It has to start with you. I do not hate you. I love you.

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