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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Dilemma

I am a feminist. 

A feminist with a dilemma.

I want to be liked. I always have. It’s a disease, really. Being a “people pleaser.” Sitting around feeling as though everything you say and do requires approval from the masses. Sit there and look pretty, right? Don’t have an opinion on anything substantial, because your voice isn’t important. It doesn’t count.

I’ve had it.

No more.

This election has given me a new lease on life in many ways.

It has tested my patience.

It has destroyed friendships.

It has left me a little wounded, but stronger in the end.

I have been privy to a few different groups of like-minded thinkers. A group of both sexes, united in thought and ideas.

A separate group of women who are also united in thought, but we also exchange ideas, laugh and empower one another. 

These are people I want to know. People, who want what I want, and see what I see.

It’s fantastic and comforting.

What often happens is that folks say “Never talk religion or politics.” Keep it safe, keep it simple. Right? You know you’ve heard this bullshit your whole life.

But what happens when we don’t talk about these very important subjects?

The status quo remains. And that’s just what the Patriarchy wants. The status quo where women stay quiet and certainly don’t discuss issues like religion and politics.

Furthermore, how about sex? Our bodies, right? Well, some argue, not so much.

Feathers are ruffled.
Beyond ruffled.

Every day that goes by, I'm reminded of my strength. I tell myself that I live my truth. Blemished and scarred, but still strong. I’m lucky because most of my people get me. They accept me and know this is who I am.

Sadly, others want me to shut up. 

Sit down and look pretty.

I remind them that I am inherently flawed, so far from perfect, and I won't shut up. 

Nope. I do not sit down and look pretty. Not anymore, those days are over.

I will continue to say what I think. 
Share what I believe. 
Have conversations and exchange ideas.

My hope is that others whose opinions differ from my own, might be willing to have a dialogue where respect is at the fundamental core. 
Where we are not reduced to name-calling and bitter words. 
Where we might walk away from that dialogue with a greater understanding of the other person’s experience.

Listen, I know we all get riled up. We all feel passionate about particular issues. And that's not a bad thing.

The reaction and our passion is based on experiences, that and what we’ve been taught.

Taught to be quiet. Taught to believe in a religion where women are subservient to men. Told that girls are meant to defer, to sit back and watch, to be silent.

Well, this girl is silent no more…

Let’s face it, I’ve not been silent for a while. But, I will continue to share my voice. I do this in the hope that I can connect and inspire others who feel like they can’t be heard. I do this to empower myself and others. I do this because I feel it’s my obligation.

I am a feminist.

That doesn’t mean I hate men.

It means I believe in this silly notion that women and men are equals in every way.

It means that I am taking ownership of my future.

It means that I respect, support, love and cherish all the women and men in my life, to the best of my ability.

As a mother, I want my son to see how important it is to be a feminist. To hold women in high regard. To understand we are EQUALS. 
I want my daughter to believe that she can do and be anything she wants. To understand we are EQUALS. 
As a wife, I want my husband to see me and be proud of a woman who stands up for her convictions, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. 
Who understands we are EQUALS.

Most days, I feel like I’m succeeding.

The thing is, the “dilemma” I’m in, it’s my own fault.

I’m getting better at realizing that I don’t need to be everyone’s best pal. I can’t make everyone happy. 

And, guess what? Neither can you.

What I’m striving toward is living my truth every day. Walking the walk and being a person with integrity, with ferocity, with passion…that’s who I am.

If in any small way, I’ve inspired another person to feel the same, then I’ve accomplished something.

So, I guess more than being liked, I want to be respected. 

Maybe the dilemma has resolution.

Maybe this piece has given me clarity and peace of mind.

Maybe I’m inching closer to accepting myself, flaws and all.

Whoever you are, whatever you believe, stick with it, even if we don’t agree on things, it doesn’t mean I don’t respect you.

I urge everyone to spend just a minute, looking in the mirror. 

Would you say the things you say to others, would you smirk, laugh, shrug and roll your eyes at the reflection looking back at you?

We are all human.
We react.
We say things we don’t mean.

Then, hopefully…we forgive.

Keep searching for the grace you need to accept yourself and others.

Keep searching for the light.

Keep imagining a space where we are one.

This is my practice.

This is my hope.

This is my grace.