I have been following the Kavanaugh saga. I am not American. I am not a sexual assault survivor. I am simply a woman who wants to be validated as an important part of society. And yesterday confirmed that a lot of people in power in a powerful country (the majority of which are privileged white males) do not believe that I am. I feel super sad about this. Rage churns in my gut. I curled up in the fetal position in bed, watched Netflix for awhile, then I got up. I got up to prepare food for myself – if we’re going to fight we need fuel. I got up to order a t-shirt that says “the patriarchy kills my vibe.” I got up to rant/explain to my husband about how it feels to be a woman in this day and age. I got up to vent and cry and be comforted. I got up to voice my rage. I mainly talked (and paced and gestured wildly with my hands) about the amazing women I know, mothers and not, who are the strongest, smartest, kindest, most persevering people I know who live their lives quietly yet fiercely who I feel like this whole Kavanaugh mess slights. And it pisses me off! Especially for the women I mother beside who I see do an unimaginable number of sacrificial things for their children every single day, who weep with joy, sorrow, and exhaustion, and continue on the next day. These women are true examples of determination, authenticity, and selfless love and should be respected by all genders. But at the end of the day that rage is no good unless I channel it into action, so what am I going to do?
As a Parent:
- I am going to continue to raise my children to be kind, respectful humans.
- I am going to teach them consent. Thanks to my son with ASD who demands his own personal space but does not give it to others, especially not to his little sister, I started teaching consent before my daughter could talk. If anybody does something to my son without asking (hug, high five, shoulder tap) he reports back to us “I’m sad because that person didn’t ask me before they did that. They should have asked first!” Ya, they should!
- I am going to teach them to value all people no matter their culture or class. Thankfully we live in a diverse community and there are many daily teachable moments on this issue.
- I am going to surround them with empowered, inspiring women.
- I am going to surround them with men who respect women.
I am going to teach them the importance of community, of taking care of the place you live in and the people who live there with you. The importance of really digging in to life with people and not bailing when things get tricky.
As a Woman
- I am going to show other women that I value them by telling them they are awesome, worthy and ok as they are.
- I am going to be there for the women in my life when they need support. As the t-shirts say, there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support women.
- I am going to show myself that I am awesome, worthy, and ok by giving myself boundaries that protect my heart, allowing myself time to rest, and feeding myself well.
Even though choices made by people in power can make us feel frustrated, lesser-than, and like throwing in the towel, there are actually so many small ways in our daily life that we can make that burden lighter for ourselves and others.