Part One- Exhaustion.
I was so ready.
Ready to stop fighting those who want LGBT rights taken away or prevented.
Ready to stop fighting for reproductive rights for myself, for all women, for my daughters.
Ready to stop fighting misogyny, racism, xenophobia.
Ready to just take a breath and feel we have finally turned a corner.
But our nation isn’t ready, so we keep going. We keep fighting for our brothers and sisters who need us to fight with them.
We stand strong, even when we are ready to crumble from the exhaustion of that fight.
At least we know, we fight the GOOD fight. We stand on the right side of history. We are here for a reason.
My social feeds, my city, and my life are full of people ready to keep fighting for right. This is how I have hope in my heart today.
Surround yourself with warriors of hope, love, equality, and acceptance. Lift each other up, so we can keep standing, keep marching. Progress can’t be stopped for long, and love always wins.
Part Two- Realization.
Loving America is a lot like loving an alcoholic.
You want to help them, want to fix them, want to give them this great, happy life, but you can’t, because they have to want to fix themselves.
As we learn in Alanon- you can’t have someone’s miracle for them.
So, all you can do is accept this, and do your best to protect yourself and your loved ones from the damage and chaos the alcoholic inevitably brings to those around them.
Until they are ready to heal and be better people, nothing will change.
So you live YOUR life, focused not on helping them, but on helping the people in the world who WANT your help, and appreciate it, and use it.
But, damn, if that alcoholic can’t break your heart, time and time again, no matter how you try to harden it.
They give you hope, they get sober, you start to imagine a bright new future! Then you find out they’ve secretly been drinking the whole time.
When you’re ready to be brave and make amends and do better, I’m here for you, America.
Until then, focusing on protecting the vulnerable and living a beautiful life in spite of the ugly madness.
Yes, the alcoholic is probably scared, or in pain, or feeling weak, and that leads them to do bad, selfish things. We can understand that and feel empathy, but we should never, ever enable it.
Part Three- Motivation.
I’ve been told to “sit down and shut up”, in so many words, my entire life.
When I had serious reserves about some of the Bible’s “logistics” in Sunday School.
When my parents’ friends told racist jokes, and did NOT like being called out by a child.
When we took a class trip to the circus in third grade, and I cried over the mistreatment of the animals.
When my teachers spewed non-scientific nonsense and I raised my hand with questions.
When I stood up for my gay friends when they were being bullied.
When I tried to express how bad things had gotten at home, before people in my life were ready to hear it.
When my 7th grade science teacher smacked my butt, and I tried to complain to the principal- but instead of any punishment, he followed me into high school, and adopted a girl my age. Despite a history of complaints.
When I saw major problems with how some students were being treated, or how unfair certain rules were, and chose to contribute to my high school’s paper with my thoughts.
When I dealt with sexual assault, multiple times, and made to feel it was my fault, or part of life.
When I wanted to have a logical, reasonable discussion about politics or issues with someone-usually a man- who wasn’t interested in facts or numbers, or, basically, my opinion. Even though they started the conversation.
When I was ready to fight for people I loved dealing with horrific situations, but they wanted me to be quiet, so it could just “go away.”
When our agency mistreated us, putting us in unsafe positions, neglecting to pay us for months, but I was told not to speak up lest they just stop booking me.
When people didn’t want to hear or read about the things I’m passionate about over social media, because “political posts are so annoying,” and caring about the world around you is so nerdy, after all.
I’ve been blown off, shouted over, insulted, screamed at, intimidated, gossiped about, and ignored.
Over and over, especially when I was a young woman living in a small town in the midwest, I’ve been told to sit down and shut up about it.
I guess, after all this time, I still haven’t learned “my place.”
I just keep stumbling across my voice instead, and, hey, since it’s right here, I might as well keep using it.
If that bothers you a lot, best of luck to you.
Never stop fighting for what’s right, my friends. I know I can’t.