The What Happened Book Club

image of Hillary Clinton's book 'What Happened' sitting on my dining room table, with my Hillary action figure standing on top of the book, her arms raised over her head

This is the second installment of the What Happened Book Club, where we are doing a chapter a week.

That pace will hopefully allow people who need time to procure the book a better chance to catch up, and let us deal with the book in manageable pieces: I figured we will have a lot to talk about, and one thread for the entire book would quickly get overwhelming.

So! Let us continue our discussion with Chapter Two: Grit and Gratitude.

* * *

So, this chapter is a strong argument for why we're taking this one chapter at a time, because I was absolutely overwhelmed by it. I started crying as I read Hillary describing her choice to wear purple to her post-election speech, and how she had hoped to wear Suffragette white in triumph.

And I didn't stop crying throughout the entire chapter.

I haven't thoroughly mourned the 2016 election: I had to keep working, frantically working, here and at Shareblue in the days after the election. I just wanted to lie on the floor and cry; I have never felt so spent, or so reverberatingly gutted. But I didn't have that opportunity — and reading Hillary's recollections of the aftermath of that time, all the emotions I haven't fully processed asserted themselves forcefully.

Still, I laughed too: "It wasn't all yoga and breathing: I also drank my share of chardonnay." Oh the great burst of laughter mixed with a heaving sob!

Hillary titled this chapter "Grit and Gratitude," but a more accurate title would have been: "Woman Experiences Devastating Loss; Takes Care of Everyone Around Her; Writes Chapter with Suggestions on How to Feel Better Because She Never Stops Doing Emotional Labor, Even Though She's Totally History's Greatest Monster."

Sure, that's wordy, but it's accurate.

Part of the reason I cried through this chapter is because Hillary is still offering to lead us. Through our grief, into the future. She is still leading with compassion, with profound reservoirs of empathy and care for the people of this nation.

Every word — every fucking word — of this chapter stands in stark contrast to the person who won the presidency, a lesser human being than Hillary Clinton in every conceivable way.

We could have had a president who loves people, hard and abundantly. And that will never stop hurting.

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