Honestly, I’m not celebrating Independence Day when I don’t have constitutional equality to men (or guns) as an American citizen. In fact, I’d LOVE if my existence and autonomy were protected anywhere near as vehemently as guns.
I’m patriotic because I know the United States can, in fact, do better. I refuse to settle into my own oppression, grateful I’m allowed to even exist and take up space, as an elder millennial snowflake, non-mom, military-spouse divorcée, queer, feminist, atheist artist and empath with mental health issues.
Because if I can’t be a mom, my existence serves no purpose.
But my existence actually means a lot, especially to me. I know my value because, unlike Christian Nationalists, I refuse to be afraid of myself.
Keep hope. These desperate acts of oppression are rooted in fear. This is intended to throw you off balance to make (and ideally keep) you docile due to fear, defeat, and despair. (And it’s okay if you do feel like that, because–who do they think they are to try to move women’s progress back a half of a century?!) Ultimately, Evangelical Christians want to provoke the violence they’d gleefully insight, if this type of government led mass disenfranchisement were happening to them. The biggest fear of Christian Nationals is that they will be treated the same way they’ve treated others with hate, vitriol, and violence (not super Christ-y, but no judgment, we are all on our own journeys. I just feel that blatant hypocrisy is so commonly overlooked that it’s worth reiterating. And yes, how fun is it that I can be atheist and still think Jesus is bitchin’).
Their reality is driven by fear to the point each person has sacrificed their individuality and sense of self by defining it externally to provide an illusion of safety in a changing world.
And to the Supreme Court, oh, you sweet self-righteous beautiful dummies. I’m grateful for your blatant act of oppression and dehumanization. Thank you, for making publicly clear the underlying truth many of us knew-you fear women. We have far more allies now than we did 1973–across religions, gender, and race. You’ve galvanized and awoken the beast of ‘others’ you’ve always feared–people of color, LGBTQ+, women–and we’ve already had to learn to overcome oppression without violence, because we know burning everything to the ground in an indignant rage doesn’t help anyone.
It’s okay if you feel off-balance. It’s okay if you need to take some quiet time to be alone, process, think and grieve. For the first time in my life as an American Citizen, my government has denied my innate humanity and biology to align with how they ‘believe things should be’.
That. Is. Fucking. Terrifying.
We’re experiencing the collective trauma of injustice (again). Take time to rest, connect with people who understand you. But, please, don’t quit, you are so valuable and needed. You matter, even if your thoughts are telling you otherwise.
If all you can do right now is just get through the day, I see you. This is hard. Your feelings are valid. And you are valued. The fact you are shaken means you are capable of love and compassion. You *are* what this world needs. If you don’t feel hopeful, I’m happy to hold the light, while you rest. Because the future is always unknown, hope is, technically, always a possibility. Rest on hope as a technicality. Hope you can feel hopeful again. If that is too much, just allow yourself to be open to hoping you feel hope again.
The patriarchy and white supremacy are starting to crumble, and those in positions of power, or those who feel [justifiably, due to their lived experiences and understanding of the world] disenfranchised and ignored within their own country–their entire personal sense of value has been derived from a collective perpetuation of victimhood, entitlement, and an innate belief in their own superiority and righteousness.
Love, compassion, and empathy are the way through all this. Humanity is one team.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,Excerpt “The Hill We Climb” by National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
Mix Tape: Hope on a Technicality
- Bloc Party – Flux
- Doomtree – The Grand Experiment
- Javier Dunn – Animal
- Florence + The Machine – Hunger
- The Mountain Goats – Beautiful gas Mask
- Neko Case – Hold On, Hold On
- Ingrid Michaelson – Keep Breathing
- Stars – Hold On When You Get Love
- Defiance, Ohio – You Are Loved
- Ben Folds – Do It Anyway
- Orla Gartland – You’re Not Special, Babe
- Florence + The Machine – Free
- The National – Baby We’ll Be Fine
- Dessa – Good Grief
- The New Pornographers – Go Places
- Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
- The Avett Brothers – Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise
- The Big Moon – Your Light
- Nico Vega – I Believe (Get Over Yourself)
- Feed Me, Crystal Fighters – Love Is All I Got
If you are feeling motivated enough to learn more, donate, or otherwise get involved, here are some sites to check out:
Midwest Access Coalition: The Midwest has some of the most restrictive abortion policies in the country. This forces many people across the Midwest to travel out of state for their procedure.
The hardships and costs of travel vary, as does the cost of an abortion itself. So if a person is struggling to come up with enough money to pay the bare minimum for their procedure, how will they be able to pay for travel, hotel stays, childcare, food, and other costs? That’s where we come in.
NARAL Pro-Choice America: The 2.5 million members of NARAL Pro-Choice America fight for reproductive freedom for every body. Each day, we organize and mobilize to protect that freedom by fighting for access to abortion care, birth control, paid parental leave, and protections from pregnancy discrimination. Like 77% of Americans, we believe in the legal right to abortion. We are the foot soldiers who work to ensure that abortion access is not only protected but expanded. Since 1969, our member-driven campaigns have propelled political and cultural change at every level, from the statehouse to the White House.
Women’s March: The mission of Women’s March is to harness the political power of diverse women and their communities to create transformative social change. Women’s March is a women-led movement providing intersectional education on a diverse range of issues and creating entry points for new grassroots activists & organizers to engage in their local communities through trainings, outreach programs and events. Women’s March is committed to dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures guided by self-determination, dignity and respect.
If you are feeling raw, vulnerable, heavy, sad, or just need to take a moment to process how you are feeling. That’s allowed. Do it. You deserve a moment of calm, because this world is bonkers. You can’t wait for the world to not be bonkers before you are willing to rest:
If you are really struggling emotionally right now, that’s normal. So am I. I’m self medicating with lots of naps, painting, and weed. I’m not proud of that, nor am I advocating for it. I’m just being honest that struggling mentally or emotionally right now is normal. We are each just doing our best. Be gentle to yourself. You don’t need to layer on guilt or added shame by comparing yourself to some imagined version of self–who you think you are supposed to be/think/feel/act in times of crisis.
I invite you to take a moment to slow down and acknowledge how well you’ve done–just to make it to here is phenomenal. Your existence is miraculous in the grand scheme of things, and you’ve had to ultimately figure out how to get to this moment on your own though learning, losing, getting helped, getting hurt, being desired and being deceived. And doing all of that while also balancing literally staying alive, adulting, and attempting to build a life with purpose all with the overshadowing awareness of your own mortality. That’s a lot. You are allowed to step back and rest.
It might be difficult to even process the depths of how unnerving this truly is. I get it, see you, be gentle with yourself. It’s okay to acknowledge you feel fragile, rough, vulnerable. Things are really weird right now. And you are doing so much better than you give yourself credit for because you are still here. Times are hard, and you are showing up as best as you can for every single moment, just like you always have since birth, and you’ve made it through some fucking hard stuff. You are so strong, you’ve risen above other challenges that you thought were insurmountable. Remember you are worthy of your own admiration and appreciation, even when your mind makes you think you’re useless and helpless because the world just feels too heavy.
Life has always been an ebb and flow, things build up and break down. Each moment is a new opportunity for change. And maybe, the absolute best you can do, is just make an effort to intentionally remind yourself “Hey, I love you. This is really hard. You are trying. You are worthy of love, and in this moment, it’s the best you can do, and that’s okay. You are doing enough. Rest.” Take the time and space you need to have absolutely no expectations even if it’s only a couple of minutes each day. You deserve your own intentional love and compassion, even if it feels silly or sounds lame, or even if you can’t imagine how something so minimal and stupid could actually help you not feel so endlessly empty–you owe it to yourself to at least try. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you’d like to support this type of content, please consider pledging to my kickstarter project, Mindfully Unapologetic (where I’m also giving away a BUNCH of art at the various reward pledge tiers $10-$500).