I never wanted to be about politics ... but the last week has carried me far beyond my belly-button-gazing comfort zone.
Up until his swearing in, I held on to the hope that Donald Trump would renounce the farce, would man up and would accept the presidency with grace.
His inauguration appearance and speech only further convinced me that he'd wagered his life earnings that he could bring down the almighty US of A and all it stands for in one fell swoop.
The palpitations I felt while listening to his speech had nothing to do with admiration for a man who believes in democracy and in freedom for all; it had much more to do with desperation at the sight of a man who believes in himself, in his image, in his power, in his invincibility.
I felt no love emanating off him for his nation. I felt no admiration flowing from him for his fellow citizens. I felt no promise of a better world, or a better USA for that matter, in any single word uttered.
I heard only insecurity. I heard only fear. I heard only self-absorption. I heard a man obsessed with proving to the world he was the best candidate. He'd been elected, and yet still he felt the need to prove he deserved to be sworn in.
I saw a man ready to crush any good that hadn't been done by him, if only because he hadn't gotten credit for it.
And the more I listened to him, the more I realised I had to man up. The more I realised I had to show grace. The more I realised I had a responsibility as an individual, as a wife, as a mother, as a professional to stand up for what I believe in and do so with conviction, humility, honesty and a little bit of humour. The more I realised I had a responsibility to instil hope. The more I realised I, myself, had to hope.
And much like I learned from another self-centred and paranoid person of power I once knew first-hand, I realised Mr. Trump could give me much to aspire to - as long as my aspiration was to carry on living in the exact opposite way he would.
Even better, thinking about what Mr. Trump couldn't do led me to an extensive hope list for my 11-year-old daughter's future:
- I can only hope and pray she continues to speak with meaning and eloquence.
- I hope she can describe her life experiences and aspirations as more than ''phenomenal'', ''great'', ''amazing'', ''ridiculous'', ''huge'', ''magnificent'' ...
- I hope she always speaks with conviction and directly from the heart.
- I hope she stares her foe squarely in the eye, firm in her beliefs and solid in her stance.
- I hope she is unwavering in what she believes is right and just.
- I hope she carries herself with grace.
- I hope she never belittles anyone.
- I hope she never smirks.
- I hope she is forever strong without ever bullying.
- I hope she never leans on God simply because she believes doing so will win her favour.
- I hope she never trashes anyone to get ahead.
- I hope she overcomes fear: fear of differences, fear of failure, fear of ridicule, fear of criticism.
- I hope she opens her heart to those she doesn't know.
- I hope she embraces change.
- I hope experience shapes her.
- I hope she welcomes criticism, whether warranted or not, as an opportunity to grow.
- I hope all those who look upon her do so with admiration, not with fear.
- I hope she never seeks to lead a mob.
- I hope she learns the value of leading from behind.
- I hope she never, ever bends to the popular vote just because it will get her ahead.
- I hope her smile and her eyes always remain true.
- I hope she is able to stand BESIDE her partner with her head held high.
- I hope her voice will be as strong as or stronger than her partner's.
- I hope that as a partner she will never silence her voice.
- I hope that she will stand tall and proud as a woman and member of society.
- I hope the partner who stands beside her will cast a loving glance her way.
- I hope she will return that look with gratitude but also with the belief that she is wholly worthy.
- I hope she stands up for herself without ever needing to put up walls.
- I hope that once she's won the race, she stops campaigning.
Dear Mr. Trump ... you give me hope for the future.