By Linda M. Crate
PROMPT — Who am I today?
Today, I am the girl who breathes a sigh of relief. I am the girl who can sleep easier. I am the girl who woke up this election year with optimism and hope in her heart.
I knew this election was different. When I woke up four years ago—I was sleeping after my night shift when the election was called. But I woke up with such an ominous feeling that I knew what the results were.
This year felt better. I could feel a shift in energy, and I was here for it.
I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest. I feel like I can finally breathe after four years.
Being a woman and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, having Black family members and friends, having friends of different faiths, having friends that are trans and non-binary, and caring about humanity and the environment...these four years were just really hard to stomach. I lived in constant fear of my rights being stripped away by people who were committed to misunderstanding me, by people who didn't even so much as go to church but thought they could twist bible verses to mean whatever they wanted, in whatever context they wanted (I have read the whole bible multiple times and I can tell you those people aren't of God). I watched those people evade accountability and try to place blame on others. There was always some scapegoat or excuse.
I watched in horror and anger as Trump insulted women, military personnel, and openly mocked those with disabilities. It was clear that all he cared about was money and how to exploit the most money out of the most people.
Not to mention how he fumbled Covid so badly that there are now 200,000+ deaths and counting.
But today I can breathe easier. Today I can be happy because America has finally been relieved of this nightmare. After four long years, I feel as if there is hope and optimism and a brighter future for us all.
There will be work to be done, certainly. Yet I know now that we have a fighting chance for all to be treated with respect, for all of us to have a brighter future, to crawl out of the dark ages that we slipped into.
I'll no longer have to be afraid when I wake up in the morning and wonder what will go wrong. I won't have to hope and pray that my rights will be stripped away one night while I am sleeping.
Today, I am the girl who believes that life gets better. Today, I am the girl who is free.
Linda M. Crate's works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of seven poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: the samurai (Yellow Arrow Publishing, October 2020). She's also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). Recently she has published three full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), and Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020).