These past few months have been solemn for many. Joy doesn’t come as it used to and more. It feels like stress fills our heads and thoughts more than we’d like to admit. This week especially, with the election on Tuesday, I know my friends and I sat in our common spaces continuously refreshing our screens. Tracking the states and listening to various radio stations and TV broadcasts. The uneasiness lasted too. Each night going to bed not knowing what colors would appear on the map the following morning. When we entered public spaces, we hoped someone would exclaim if something big happened. I felt like my life was on pause. Reading more and more articles calling friends and family. I wanted to distract myself by watching movies and making a new recipe. While doing this I became more and more unmotivated to do my school work. Sitting in class the teachers became white noise as I watched the New York Times update every 15 minutes.
One of the things this pandemic and election has created is the ease that we are all in this together. No one is doing their best and we all have the same fears and hardships. No one is alone. My social media platforms were also filled with anxious friends and celebrities, posting updates on various states, and trying to communicate that we are all in this together.
As the days progressed and the sun began setting at 4:30 p.m., the nights for me were the worst. I can’t find the motivation to do anything but watch.
Then Saturday came. A beautiful 65-degree day. I woke up like I do every morning at 7:45 a.m., called a friend, and did my daily morning walk. The sun was out, which makes the day feel brighter. As I view my fellow Portland neighbors walk their dog and have their to-go cups from various coffee shops.
I came home to my empty apartment, but today felt different, I opened the windows to let in that Saturday sun and connected my phone to my speaker. I’ve been in an Adele mood, so I queued my list. I ate breakfast, checked the New York Times, sent a few text messages, and wrote out my grocery list.
At 11:00 a.m., I had just gotten out of the shower, I checked my phone to multiple messages saying “check the news” with a screenshot of my friend’s notifications: “Biden won,” “Biden beats Trump,” and “Harris becomes first female Vice President”.
I screamed. I’m glad I opened my window much earlier as I can hear those on the street screaming with me. Cars blasting music, I can hear the faint lyrics of “we are the champions..” and “f*ck Donald Trump!” from those passing my apartment.
I called my friend, we were in disbelief, my eyes began to tear up. “What a surprise, and on a Saturday morning!” We chatted for a bit, we could both tell we were shaken up by the news, I could tell she was smiling through the phone with every sentence she spoke. I was doing the same.
I called a few more friends, facetimed as we cried together. It was an overwhelming amount of joy and happiness that I hadn’t felt in a while. While on facetime with one friend she stated, “I am going to tell my children that when I found out Biden won, I was working at the front desk gym at the JCC.”
At first, I didn’t even know what to do. I looked at every news website, Google, NPR, and read so many articles. I checked my social media too. Every story and post was filled with tears and empowerment. We did it, we can do anything. Change can happen. America is ready to heal.
I smiled looking at my phone, we have been united finally by good news. We needed this news, we needed this sunshine and we needed a win.
Funnily enough, I still had to go food shopping. As I drove to Trader Joes, I could see the families and people walking towards Monument Square in Portland. Holding up the yard signs that had sat for months in their homes. Wearing blue with large smiles underneath their masks. Honking and yelling while people clapped, held fists and peace signs up. The city was alive again.
Once entering Trader Joes, the energy of the place was undeniable. Rather than the hustle of people trying to get in and out as soon as possible. You could feel the warmth of everyone. People were dressed nicely, small chatter was in the aisles and overall happiness filled the space.
When I was checking out, the cashier stated that they were running out of the large bottles of champagne as they had to create a two-bottle limit. The day was worth celebrating. We could see change, Trump is finally going to leave. That’s a lot to celebrate.
Once I had come back home and unpacked my food, I went to meet up with my friends at the celebration parade at Monument Square. Two blocks away you can hear the bustle of those chanting, laughing, clapping, and banging various pots and spoons together. Posters that look freshly made, more lawn signs, and various flags were among the crowd. The streets were filled with cars packed with people, all the windows down, dogs looking out, and people in the sunroofs. People like myself and others stood in the square, laughing and shouting back. It brought tears to my eyes, you can feel the warmth of the city, people are happy again and coming together to celebrate.
It was an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment being around those who all want to honor this glorious day.
We all know that Biden and Harris aren’t perfect, we know that so much change still needs to be done. We can still have joy and come together because Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, is a day that will go down in history.
I am so thankful that I got to be a part of it. It was a nice reminder that Portland can be alive and happy and that we should all be grateful for those we have in our lives and continue to be kind to one another.