I voted for her because she’s the most qualified. Because representation is essential. Because I have little nephews I hope grow up believing that girls are badasses with whom they need to reckon. Because I want the fact that Hillary has shown up and done the work day in and day out for a lifetime to matter. Because with this precedent the work other women do will matter. The women I have learned from and been mentored by will matter. The women who are girls today will grow up knowing they matter. I will matter.

I voted for Hillary because she embodies what women can be: complex, multi-faceted, difficult, wicked smart, driven, powerful. I voted for Hillary because she has lived all those things together consistently, in the face of heinous sexism and misogyny, her entire life. And I find that really fucking inspiring.

And now, the most intelligent, accomplished, driven woman I have seen in my lifetime lost the job to a man who …where to even start? The list is long and horrific. So I am currently feeling the kind of devastation I’ve felt maybe twice before in my life.

As a woman, among the lessons I take from yesterday are these: half the country is fine with sexual assault, and half the country thinks that skin color, sexual orientation, physical abilities, gender, and religion are things that should automatically disqualify one from being seen and treated as fully human.

This is not new, of course. Just newly stark, in a relief it was privileged to hope wasn’t possible.

And the glass ceiling is still intact. Not one woman has succeeded in breaking it and the odds are so against us since women comprise a mere 1% of our government throughout history. There were small, encouraging gains yesterday, yes, especially for women of color (!). But how far will they get? When the overwhelming message is that no matter how hard we work, how much energy we put in, how much time it takes, or how smart we work to become it just won’t matter because someone else (white, male) will still tell us how far we are allowed to go? It will be much less far, now, for those who aren’t 10s, or white, or who can’t control their gag reflex at the smell of tic tacs.

I want, as Hillary said so beautifully today with every ounce of the composure that has made her such a formidable woman, to “never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams,” but I am fully doubting. We have not seen it, it has not happened, not yet.

There come now well-meaning men saying things like “it was about the system, not the candidate” and “sure, sexism played a part, but…” If you are one of these men, please stop talking for a moment. Consider that perhaps, yes, deeply entrenched sexism is at the root of so much of what is wrong right now and work to recognize it. Look to the women around you who are devastated, acknowledge our heartbreak and give us space to mourn what might have been.

Listen when we tell you what it is like to be a woman in the world. To be professional. To be single. To be a wife. To be a mother. To be childless. To be all the things women can be, but mostly what it is to not be a man. How particularly cruel and unfair and heavy it feels at this moment in time.

It’s exhausting to unlearn the misogyny we internalize from girlhood. It’s exhausting to catalogue all the conversations where eyes can’t seem to focus on your face, all the ‘no offense, but’ comments involving gender, all the conversations that happen around instead of including you, to always wonder if you’re being paid, treated, acknowledged the way a man would be were he in your position. It’s exhausting to live with vivid recall of all the instances you’ve thrown up a practiced half-smile-deflector-shield and tried to let all the above go. It’s exhausting to do all this over and over in so many different ways, and tonight that exhaustion is bone-deep, soul-deep. Tonight I grieve.

Tomorrow, I know it is incumbent upon me, as one who has been given much, to give much in return and to fight for those who cannot.

I can. I will.