I’ll tell you how I made Hillary Rodham Clinton lose the election: I was so thoroughly pleased about the prospect of electing a woman as president of the United States that I jinxed the election. I’m sorry.

You thought it was the Russians, or the FBI, or David Duke of the Klan (who did tweet right after Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, “Our people have played a huge role in electing Trump”), but I’m to blame.

One friend warned me that if I didn’t cool down my enthusiasm, I might hex the whole business. Did I listen? No. I kept flaunting my excitement at the prospect of a capable woman leading our country. I showed too much hubris the way you might show a little too much thigh – you get in trouble for that kind of thing.

I was uppity, outspoken and confident. I should have waited until the votes were in before I permitted myself any semblance of joy.

God forbid we’re allowed to be happy about something in advance.

So I ruined it. I am the ruiner. It meant too much to me, and I had to be punished for it.

That was a lesson I learned as a girl: Set your heart on a goal, reach for the brightest star, make your wishes known, and have the world respond by sneering, “Are you kidding? Who do you think you are?” It’s tough to shake that feeling when it’s still embedded right in the soft part of your flesh, like an infected root canal.

So, you see, it was a dream to cast a vote for a great woman running on the ticket of a major party for the office of the president. I would, however, only have voted for a woman I admired. In other words, this election was not merely a political version of “The X Factor”: I wasn’t voting just by chromosome.

I wouldn’t have voted for Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann, for example. Nor would I have voted for Trump cheerleader Ann Coulter, who, in a tweet even more egregious than white supremacist David Duke’s (admittedly a tough act to follow), argued that “If only people with at least 4 grandparents born in America were voting, Trump would win in a 50-state landslide.”

Under Coulter’s ruling, not only would I not be able to vote, but my husband wouldn’t be able to vote, Melania Trump wouldn’t be able to vote and, in fact, neither would the new president-elect. So, no, I wouldn’t have voted for Palin, Bachmann or Coulter because no sense of female solidarity could overcome my allergic reaction to their ideologies. A shared love of lipstick does not outweigh logic.

But I was eager to vote for Clinton. I asked my husband to take a picture of me with my shiny “I Voted” sticker before I headed off to teach the way a kindergartner might smile for the camera on her first day of school.

And yet, I’m not giddy anymore. I’m worried, deeply disheartened by the decisions made by my countrymen and women. Women voted for Trump and against Hillary in startling numbers, perhaps because of their own self-loathing or their resentment at another woman’s success (“Who does she think she is?”).

I acknowledge that my narcissistic and neurotic sense of responsibility is simply better than collapsing into a maw of feeling utterly helpless. If I’d kept my head down, my mouth shut and not let the universe know how much this meant to me, could I have changed the world? No, of course not. In reality, I made my mark when I made my vote. But how else could the whole country have lost this election otherwise? I don’t want to feel it’s all chaos because I fear I’d lose my courage.

“The best protection any woman can have is courage,” said Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who knew what it meant to speak up.

We can’t keep our heads down when we need to look the world in the eye and say “This election wasn’t a finish line: It was a starting line. It took us 240 years to make it to the ballot. Next time we are making it to the White House.” And I won’t feel guilty about making that declaration at all.