I was born and raised in a conservative Christian home, deeply rooted in the southern paradigms of traditional gender roles and loyalty to our country and our church.
Sometime in my late teen years, at the home of a well-respected church goer, I heard people questioning ideas, beliefs, songs, thoughts…all in the spirit of respectful discussion and “agreeing to disagree.” I was blown away. I had never experienced something like this. It was my gateway to self-inquiry, to questioning that perhaps what was dished out from the pulpit or the Oval Office weren’t absolute truths to follow blindly.
Over the last few weeks…months…years…I’ve watched myself shift. I ask questions. I challenge my thoughts. I challenge the loudest voice, because I’ve come to learn that perhaps the loudest voice isn’t the rightest voice. I’m learning to listen to the tension in my body, because it’s here to tell me a story. It’s asking me to listen to what doesn’t align with my values.
Recently, as millions of women crossed their fingers and desperately prayed and obsessively checked the news for a glimmer of hope, my ability to support the antics from the White House, and congress, and the FBI and the whole fucking patriarchal process, dissolved even more. I’m so beyond outraged that a man accused of sexual assault was given a lifetime appointment on our nation’s highest court I can hardly see straight. I want more for my daughters. I want to tell them that their bodies are their own, and that they get to experience that in every way throughout their lives. I want to see the patriarchy crumble, I want to see the system come down to its knees.
But I also have to check myself. What’s beneath the anger? I hear the message that anger can be channeled and used for good, but when it surpasses the compassion that I can put out in the world, I don’t know what to do with the anger. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel right for the angst I feel towards the systems and processes to spill out to my girls, my partner, my closest relationships.
So here’s the reality: I’m scared. I’m scared of reversing the progress made for women’s rights, for LGBTQ rights, for any marginalized community. I’m fucking scared and so sad. And my sadness teeters right on the edge of rage, and the big Mama Bear comes out to protect my kids. My daughters. But the sadness and tears that overflow feel more accurate to my experience.
And this this weekend, our country experienced another act of violence. They were just praying. Jewish brothers and sisters. Praying. PRAYING!!! And here I find my sadness, fear and desperation for a change in the system teetering again on the edge of rage.
We’re coming up on the mid-term elections. Never have I been a more conscious voter than at this time in history. I educate myself on issues that matter to me. I want more representation from women, people of color, LGBTQ community — this is the way we take down the white + male driven society that is no longer serving me….and I don’t think it’s just me.
Question everything. Get pissed. Check what’s underneath. Make changes that start within. I often wonder how I can be more of an advocate, where I can find my voice in the social justice movement. I’m still in the question, but I know I can vote. I can educate myself. I can nurture the seed in my soul, and honor the voices of truth. I can follow the women of color who have seen the patriarchy for what it is there entire life. I can keep learning.
You can too.