I took a deep breath and responded, “It’s okay. Everything is unfolding exactly as it will. Things are breaking and it’s hard, but things have to break to create something better. It’s uncomfortable, but the future is truly unknowable and full of possibility. More and more people are seeing that things aren’t working. And as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”
This very calm and genuine response, as my partner informs me about the leaked Supreme Court documents’ intention to overthrow Roe vs Wade is quite surprising to both of us.
My partner knows my emotional sensitivities. He knows my history with depression and anxiety, and knows that it’s helpful to ease me into heavy news because it can spiral me into pretty dark places.
“It’s just so frustrating. People don’t understand. This won’t stop abortion, it just makes them less safe. Women will die because of this. They don’t know what why are doing” My partner adds. He’s justifiably upset.
“That’s the point. They want women to be afraid and suffer. Wealthy people will never have to fear finding an abortion. It keeps people in place, and undermines the advancement of women–especially those of lower socioeconomic status and women of color.” I remind him.
He hasn’t seen the hate I have. ‘Women, Get your coat hangers ready!’ A savage meme posted by a ‘good Christian’ man on Facebook reminding everyone ‘They deserve to die painfully if they want to kill their babies.’ Hate is easiest when you dehumanize your perceived enemy.
Yet, I’m not angry. I’m not sad. And I’m not spiraling.
I would have expected me to be livid. Nearly yelling in frustration, not at my partner, but just at the world. Reiterating all the injustices women face. “This is the patriarchy trying to control women’s bodies! Pro-life people are actually just pro-birth. This is archaic antiquated misogyny and why the fuck are we not past this shit?! Why is everyone so terrified and distrustful of women? You don’t get it, honey! They are coming after us. Do you even realize how disproportionately dangerous pregnancy is for women of color? A raped 12 year is supposed to carry a child to term? If men could get pregnant I guarantee this would be here.”
But my heart rate doesn’t increase. I’m surprised by news of the leak, but not that surprised. The lingering fear that hate, misinformation, and self-righteousness would eventually sanctimonious strip away women’s healthcare rights has been confirmed. The increasing cultural division in our country, Trump’s popularity and blatant misogyny and history of sexual assault, Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court approval despite his questionable character along with the tragic passing of inspirational Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, feminists knew we were likely losing hard-fought reproductive progress. Demonized, misunderstood, and mistreated.
My calm isn’t an indication that I don’t care. I’m annoyingly hardcore about women’s reproductive rights. Like, oof. When the topic comes up, I have to actively repress the temptation to go into some form of impassioned 10 min pro-choice rant, recounting the insults of the creepy old men who would hatefully yell at me when I used to escort at an abortion clinic.
So, this is not the calm, nearly optimistic response was something that neither of us would have predicted. It’s not shock. It’s just that I’m different now. 2020 broke me. And a better, more whole me grew out of that immense grief over humanity. Through my loss of faith in people, I found a deep love, faith, and acceptance of self (that is a longer, messier story for another post). Once you return to self, align with love, find your sense of purpose with authenticity, your personal awareness expands with the phenomenal infinite beauty of humanity’s amazing interconnectedness. I’m different now, and at peace with the realization that everything just is.
The potential loss of Roe vs. Wade isn’t breaking me, because it already broke me. I’d accepted that I live in a world in which people in power fear women. When power structures feel threatened they act desperately. And they should feel threatened, because in so many ways love and acceptance is gaining ground. Oppression is a tool of fear. I don’t live in fear anymore, because I’d already accepted this as a possibility. Overturning Roe vs. Wade is an egregious affront against humans capable of conception, it’s a women’s health issue, and a human rights issue. But maybe this is part of a larger breaking. Maybe this is a breaking point for others to face the depth of their fears, and rise up, empowered, strong, and aligned with compassion.
If you are feeling angry, frustrated, sad, disheartened your feelings are valid. Your emotional response to these huge societal and cultural shifts are valid. Because we–as humanity continue to stumble forward through time, as we always have since we came into existence.
And we’ve always feared ‘others’. Portions of humanity have always feared and demonized women. We are in the midst of a culture war fed by fear, political power grabs and late-stage capitalism. We are breaking apart. As a nation, as a society, as a civilization, as a planet, our seams are ripping, but these seams hold together outdated systems.
We can’t go back. As individuals continue to grow into their personal authenticity and self-acceptance, they’ll continue to discover the freedom in living a life you love. Some people have committed wholeheartedly (even if to their own detriment) to a white cis-patriarchal l heteronormative narrative–and it’s losing power.
This fact is terrifying when you’ve bought-in so completely. Therefore, you cling to division. You restrict health options for women, you remove or avoid history that is incongruous with the narrative that best serves you, you limit vocabulary for medical professionals and educators to discuss race, gender, and sexuality. But that doesn’t make it go away. More and more people have a gay uncle, a sister who is trans, a college friend who had an abortion, a kind neighbor who is Muslim. Society is becoming more and more inclusive and accepting. We’re learning to embrace our own humanity as individuals and as a whole. Tension inevitably builds, conflicts arise. You can take our rights. But we will take them back. It might take a year or a decade, but I’m not angry, I’m motivated.
Because I know, eventually–love inevitably wins–because it can’t not win. To the core of my sense of self I know ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’ So, I am doing my best to meet each day and each challenge as it comes. All we can ever really do is meet the present moment as it endlessly unfolds.