Another week, another shockwave rippling through what's left of 2016.
I don't think many people outside the US expected Trump to take the presidency on Tuesday night, but here we are. I know I certainly didn't. I also know none of my friends or social media circle expected it.
And therein lies the problem, I think.
We live in little bubbles, safe havens constructed by carefully curated social media feeds. This became increasingly obvious following Brexit, where I was not the only person utterly flummoxed as to how Leave triumphed, when 90% of the people I engaged with on a daily basis were firmly pro-Remain. It's happened again in the US election and I've read countless posts from people who just didn't see it coming, because they're not exposed to "the other side".
How are we supposed to see the other side? It's easy to dismiss them as racist bigots, but in doing so aren't we perpetuating this sense of "the other" - the same way they like to blame groups or minorities for all ills in the world?
I grew up in a fairly liberally-minded family - we were encouraged to think for ourselves and form our own opinions. As a mixed-race child it never occurred to me to judge anyone by their skin colour; surrounded by women to look up to, I never felt the need to degrade other women based on their gender or looks. I was raised a Catholic but we were taught to accept other religions as equals, and when I think back to the decade I spent going to church the biggest lesson I took away from that was to treat people the way you'd like to be treated - i.e with respect, kindness and compassion.
I'm not religious anymore, but I think that message still stands.
Look, I'm not perfect and will never claim to be. I can be selfish, blind, stupid and prejudiced all at once. I know I can be a snob and I know that I can view the world from a relatively privileged position, and not understand why other people don't think the way I do. That's how I've lived for the past 28 years.
I think it's time to change. It's naive to think "why can't we just all get along?" but I do wonder if maybe we need to communicate more. I'd actually like to engage with people who hold opposing views, I'd like to hear where people come from and why they see the world the way they do. I want to understand their viewpoint. I can't promise I will agree, because my core values are to accept people as they are without discrimination based on faith, sexuality, race or any of the other defining qualities that seem to arouse such hatred throughout the world. This is how I try to live my life. But I'm aware that fear and uncertainty can breed all manner of unpleasant opinions, and unfortunately, for the moment it feels like they are gaining momentum across the world.
It's hard to figure out where we go from here. I personally think more governments should be held accountable for creating a sense of division, and our politicians need to show more willingness to work alongside one another. People of influence will continue to speak out against issues they disagree with, but what about us regular people? All we can do really is try to understand one another, and try to respect one another. The world might feel particularly dark this week but as Barack Obama said, the sun will keep rising, day after day - and people will continue to do good in spite of what the polls might tell you. In the 24 hours that have passed since the US vote, I've witnessed a man donating the coat off his back to Wrap Up London. I saw a woman run across a busy road to give a homeless man some food. I've seen hundreds of people online, sending messages of love and compassion. Let's keep a positive momentum going, and see where it takes us.