When I woke up Tuesday morning, I thought I’d be writing a very different article. I watched the polls almost obsessively. I spent time in a voting line with parents proud to bring their children to vote for the first “girl president.”

Forget politics. I’ve never been terrified for myself and my friends when a Republican won in the past, despite my disagreement with their politics. I’ve never seen posts like this on Facebook: My LGBTQ friends posting about losing their right to be married and fearing for themselves and their children. My female friends posting links to self-defense classes. Fellow sexual assault survivors posting about the fact that our president — our president — almost went to trial for the rape of a child (who has since dropped the lawsuit). My friends with health problems who will die without insurance. I keep hoping I’m dreaming and that I’ll wake up. 

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I thought I’d be posting about our first female president. I was preparing to talk about all the positive gains women have made lately. I was going to talk about the hope for the future, for my friends’ daughters and yes, sons, who would see that a woman could be anything that a man can be. I was hoping to leave this horrible year with hope for the future. Instead, I’m hoping to be taken away from this terrifying reality by a few films that are coming out this year. I’m hoping for escapism because I’m too much in shock to begin to fight back. 

And yet, fight back we must. I, like many of you, am trying very hard not to give in to despair, and I promise I won’t. I won’t let this destroy the fight in me. I’ll fight for health care, for the rights of people of color, for the LGBTQ community. I’ll fight for women, like I always have, despite the fact that what I write about just got exponentially more dangerous. I don’t want my niece, my nephew and my friends’ children to grow up in a country where someone is rewarded for being a racist, homophobic, misogynist maniac who can’t even handle a Twitter account. I will write, I will continue to vote in every single election, I will protest and I will speak out.

And through all of that, I will hope that someday this nightmare will be over. 

Follow Jenna Busch on Twitter @jennabusch and visit her site, Legion of Leia