On Thursday evening, 19 January, a thousand of the most enthusiastic supporters of Donald Trump put on their finest suits and gowns to head to the DeploraBall at the National Press Club to celebrate our new president.
Though a beautiful gala awaited inside, attendees were forced to dodge eggs, thrown batteries, and torment from protesters who had gathered outside.
I arrived with friends who had graciously offered to walk in with myself and several other ladies who had been placed on a "target list" put out by the protest organisers.
Due to my previous support of Bernie Sanders, and my ultimately voting for Trump, I was labelled a "traitor" and they had vowed to throw paint on me as retaliation.
A plot to release butyric acid stink bombs into the ventilation system was also foiled by Project Veritas, and ended in an arrest.
As we made our way through the protesters to the entrance, one attempted to intimidate us while taunting Gavin McInnes. Unfortunately for the demonstrator, McInnes did not cower and a scuffle ensued.
Another man was injured after being hit with a projectile launched at him from the crowd.
The crowd was tear gassed and pepper sprayed. Once inside, however, the protesters who were lighting fires in the street outside were quickly forgotten as attendees shared their hopes for Trump's presidency – and enjoyed the open bar.
Speakers included several members of the LGBTQ community, such as Jim Hoft of the Gateway Pundit, ball organiser Jeff Giesea, and "Twinks for Trump" photographer Lucian Wintrich – who is about to join the White House Press Pool.
"I'm going to be the youngest, gayest correspondent in the White House in history!" Wintrich exclaimed to massive applause. Many at the event noted that Trump is the first president to take office already supporting gay marriage.
In another speech, Giesea announced that we were all there to celebrate "a new type of Republican, and a new movement".
"You know what he thinks of gays? He doesn't. He doesn't really care...It doesn't come up in our day-to-day," McInnes said in his speech about Trump. "You know what comes up in our day-to-day? A little three-letter acronym that goes like this: U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
The crowd booed at the mention of Speaker Paul Ryan by author and DeploraBall organiser Mike Cernovich, and it was clear that Trump's biggest supporters are not the stuffy Republicans who scoff at gay rights or cheer for the interventionist war-mongering of the Lindsey Grahams and John McCains of the old right.
No, this new group, many of whom, like me, were previously liberal, do not seem to prioritise social issues. The vast majority does not really care who anyone marries or sleeps with. Instead, these "deplorables" share a common hope for rebuilding our infrastructure through focusing here at home, rather than intervening in other nations' affairs. They hope to tackle terrorism, while avoiding unnecessary war.
Even many members of the press lamented to me later that they had an unexpectedly great time at the ball, and that they found they had more in common with the "deplorables" than they had imagined they would. Maybe, I thought, people are finally starting to unite and have reasonable discussions.
The next day, Trump was to be inaugurated at noon.
As I made my way from my office to the entrance of the swearing in ceremony, I received word that a riot was breaking out a few blocks away. As I rerouted to head in that direction to see what was going on, I watched a sea of protesters covered from head to toe in black clothing and masks running as police began to launch flash-bang grenades.
The ground was sparkling with broken glass below the windows of Starbucks and Bank of America. I took some photos of the damage and began to walk towards where the culprits were being chased by police.
I was quickly disoriented as a flash grenade landed about a foot from my shoes. For the next four hours I could barely hear out of my left ear.
A group of men with their faces covered approached me, and one lifted his bandana just enough to spit at me. I calmly walked away and went to a restroom to clean up — and turn my Wikileaks tote bag inside out as I realised maybe that had given away that I supported our soon-to-be president.
Eventually, I met with a couple of reporter friends at 12th and K Street, where the police had kettled the group of anarchists in Black Bloc. A police car had been spray-painted with anarchist symbols.
After being noticed by several anarchists outside the kettle as the "traitor" who voted for Trump, a group began shouting at me "f**k you Cassandra Fairbanks", and later elbowed one of my friends.
We decided to leave for our own safety, minutes after the clock struck noon and Trump became our new president.
Once we were safely outside the area of the protest, or so we thought, we split up. I was going back to my office to get ready for the official inaugural ball, and my friends needed to clean off pepper spray that they had inadvertently been hit with while trying to film the events.
As I made my way back, I was confronted by another group of anti-Trump protesters who asserted that I am "fascist scum". I attempted to pretend I was not intimidated, despite being alone and outnumbered.
As someone who had been on the left for much of my life, I found myself disgusted by the protesters, even if we did agree on issues such as gay rights, rebuilding our infrastructure, and not wanting to send our brothers and sisters off to needless wars. I supported their right to peacefully protest, but it seemed that they did not support my right to vote.
The protests felt like attacks on Trump supporters, rather than against the government.
Later that day, the white nationalist Richard Spencer was assaulted during an interview and Twitter exploded with commentary about how it is acceptable to hit "Nazis". While my politics do not align with Spencer's, I could not help but think about how many media outlets had painted all Trump supporters as Nazis throughout the election. Were they advocating violence on all of us, or just him? Where is the line drawn?
People continuously made the case that it is different because he is an "actual Nazi", which it must be noted that he disputes, but there were an awful lot of protesters holding signs indicating that all Trump supporters are "actual Nazis" at these marches.
During the massive Women's March the next day, Madonna announced that she had been fantasising about blowing up the White House. Ashley Judd suggested that her chosen candidate losing is worse than child rape. The whole day focused on hopes that our new president would fail, because their preferred party did not win.
What they are really rooting for, it seems, is our nation to fail.
Meanwhile, many are overlooking the fact that much of what he has already done is in line with what Bernie Sanders campaigned on. The TPP has been scrapped, he is resisting calls for war with Russia, and jobs are coming back home. These are issues that should be applauded by both sides, but they are not, because it is the wrong person making it happen.
Over the weekend, a friend of mine pointed to a comment he had seen, where someone compared wishing for Trump to be a disaster to being on a ship heading for an iceberg — and hoping that the captain doesn't have a plan or know what he is doing. They forget that if the ship goes down, us and our children will go with it.
We are on this ship together and it is time everyone starts acting like it.