In 2017, I didn’t bother to watch the inauguration. Instead, I got a good night’s sleep to wake up early and get on a bus to Washington D.C. to attend the Women’s March with my mom and community members.

Looking back, I had no idea how to feel as a Black lesbian. I was feeling and processing a lot of emotions that I’m still grappling with today four years later. I had been preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. That he’d take away my right to marry a future same-sex partner, or to get an abortion. That he would have a short and uneventful term. 

I don’t think I could have predicted the state of the country that we are living in now; through two impeachments, multiple Supreme Court appointments, a pandemic, an administration who constantly shows a lack of regard for its minority citizens, specifically Black people and now, the inauguration of former Vice President Joe Biden and the first ever female vice president, former Senator Kamala Harris. She also happens to be the first Black and first South Asian person elected to the position.

For the past four years, I’ve been living in anger, disbelief, resentment, fear, frustration and denial. Having prepared for the worst, I tried to remain optimistic. I saw people fighting for their rights, fighting for my rights and I saw people unite in a way that I’ve never seen before. At the same time, I saw divisions that had always existed, but were made more pronounced. 

“It could have been worse,” became a mantra.

Today, I can say, “it can be better.”

I’m not sure what the next four years may bring. I’m still preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, but I’m not sure what that means anymore. I don’t want to be disappointed by expectations. Change isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not immediate. However, knowing that a man, who has become the face of so much hate and hardships myself and my community has faced, will no longer be president, I can certainly say I’m relieved.

I’ve always had hope, but now I can start to feel less delusional for holding on so tightly to it.

The Public’s Radio is sharing essays from local students on the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.