I could already envision Hillary Clinton at the inauguration, sporting an American flag pantsuit, with President Obama sitting behind her, in support of transferring power to the first woman president of the United States. And I wasn't alone in believing this.
I believed the polls, I believed Americans would cast their ballots to defeat xenophobia, homophobia, racism, misogyny, and other forms of bigotry. I thought, like everyone, America is better than this.
But it wasn't.
What I saw on TV was not a reflection of that reality. As each state kept going from red to red to red to red, the map stopped representing the America I thought I was living in. But that's why I believed in Hillary Clinton -- I believed she was with us, she was with me.
I wore a lime-green blazer to work yesterday, jokingly. Some colleagues and I decided we would ring in Hillary's victory by supporting her with a physical manifestation of one of her most iconic symbols: the pantsuit.
Then Trump became the president-elect.
I couldn't fall asleep last night. I kept scrolling and scrolling on Twitter, looking for answers. Today I woke up devastated. Thinking about what this Trump win means for women, for people of color, for immigrants, for LGBT people.
"This is not the outcome we wanted or we worked so hard for and I'm sorry that we did not win this election," Hillary said during her concession speech from New York. It's exactly what was running through the minds of many Americans.
"Being your candidate has been one of the greatest honors of my life," she said, as Bill Clinton and Tim Kaine stood red-eyed behind her. Some supporters in the crowd were crying, others sullen, while some cheered to try to bring light to a dark end of a strong campaign.
What Hillary supporters needed to hear was a message of hope, and Clinton, despite feeling the same disappointment as her believers, delivered it. It's a service she would have provided as president -- empathy, a key quality of human decency that Clinton has, and one that Trump has yet to show the American people.
"I have spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in," said Secretary Clinton. But even that wasn't enough. Instead we have a man with zero experience in public office and zero military experience running America.
"The American Dream is big enough for everyone," Clinton said. But it was when she zeroed in on young people and particularly women in her speech that she seemed at her least guarded.
She was being real for all the young people and all the women who felt devastated by her loss.
"I've had successes and setbacks and sometimes painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional, public, and political careers -- you will have successes and setbacks too."
"This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it," said Clinton.
"It is," she said, interrupted by applause from the crowd, "it is worth it."
Clinton has been accused by everyone -- right, left, center -- of being "a robot." Of sounding like a nagging mother. Of not smiling enough. Of laughing too loud. Of not being feminine enough. Of not being enough.
What woman hasn't been at the other end of criticisms against her own womanhood? Society and patriarchal culture pin expectations on every woman as soon as she comes into this world of what a "real woman" is, and if you don't live up to those expectations, you are a feminine failure. LGBT women, more than anyone, understand this. LGBT women are accused of not being "real women" or of "not really" being gay or of being too butch or of not being feminine enough. Nothing is ever enough.
When Clinton spoke directly to women, her message hit hard.
"And to all the women and especially the young women,who put their faith in this campaign and in me: I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion," said Secretary Clinton, holding back tears.
"Now, I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday someone will -- and hopefully sooner than we might think right now."
Clinton's voice cracked as she addressed her youngest supporters. "And to all of the little girls who are watching this, 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 Clinton's message which was intended for little girls spoke to an anxiety all women feel -- teenagers, 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and on and on. To think that a man who has been accused of sexually assaulting more than 10 women, a man who was accused of rape by his wife, is now president of the United States.
"Finally, finally, I am so grateful for our country and for all it has given to me," Clinton said as she ended her speech.
"I believe we are stronger together and we will go forward together. And you should never, ever regret fighting for that," she said passionately.
This wasn't how it was supposed to end, but if Hillary continues to believe, then we should believe too.