The news isn't officially banned in our household, but it might as well be. There are very few sources that offer bipartisan information, so I choose to leave it turned off. I only visit my Twitter account these days to share something impactful I've heard or read lately (via a book, song lyrics or on a podcast) to give the author / artist a shout out that the art they have painstakingly put out into the world has found its way to a soul that appreciates the work.
The moments that my resolve cracks momentarily and I find myself scrolling through the 160 character spew fests, I immediately feel my heart beat faster and I know my blood pressure is rising. I can tell, because of my physical reaction, but yet I hold my phone, and continue to scroll, with my left hand thumb flicking upwards.
Attacking. Spewing. Anger flying. Hurting feelings. Speaking too quickly.
No fact checking. No regard for the other's opinions.
Maybe they aren't opinions at all, but simply words they heard someone else say?
Name calling. Hashtagging.
Judging because they marched. Judging because they didn't march.
Changing their minds. Wavering between stated positions. Retreating, then lashing.
How dare you? Who are you? Why are you even here? Did you even vote?
Go back where you came from. You don't deserve a passport. You disgust me.
Keyboard warriors. Laptop Activists. Movement obsessed.
I've removed the Facebook app from my phone, and have long utilized the Newsfeed Eradicator Chrome Extension (which literally means I cannot see my news feed when I log onto Facebook from my laptop). I didn't want to unfriend those who view life differently than me, but I needed to slow down the speed at which their opinions entered my psyche.
When someone near me is talking about politics, I set my jaw hard on the left side. I tap my tongue against the inside of my mouth ... on the smooth part of my teeth and listen. I listen to whether they have something new for me to learn. I want to use every opportunity to add value to the time we are given together. It isn't easy. My blood sometimes boils and my the hair on the back of my neck stands up often ... but we must first listen.
Our staunch beliefs are rooted in so many things. Our opinions are the culmination of how you were raised and how you were not raised. Whether you spoke openly at the dinner table about the White House or barely knew what a voting precinct meant. What we think about the climate of our world is colored by where we've lived and how you view government's control over a place. It is determined by whether you were bullied or supported, loved or abandoned. We even allow our experiences with religion, cultural events and education eek into the way we feel about those running our countries.
I have maintained a "head down" and "stay in my lane" mantra since well before the election. I grew increasingly saddened by the campaigns from both parties as we went into the election -- and that feeling hasn't changed since. Not because he won and she lost, but because the behavior I am witnessing amongst my fellow human race is defeating and disheartening.
It's a weird place to be, this in the middle lane that I find myself in. It's a location I sit squarely in on matters of race, and on matters of feminism and religion as well. I bite my tongue more than I speak, which is slightly ironic because otherwise, my mouth rants and rages on most topics.
What happens when the silent majority of those in the middle isn't loud enough? I recently watched the remake of Beaches with our 10 year old daughter and one of the recurring themes, said by CC to Hillary, is:
Not all strength is loud.
I have given myself permission to live in a "not all strength is loud" way of being.
By checking out of social media, you are not irresponsible
By refusing to watch the news, you are not ignorant
By choosing to get a pedicure and watch The Voice recordings in the afternoons, you are not anti-feminist
By marching or by NOT marching, you are likely still not doing enough
By reading personal or business development books instead of the latest op-ed or Medium article on the most recent EO, you are not turning a blind eye
By asking someone a question on why they believe the way they do, you are dropping a small ripple of goodness on its way towards change
By listening to that person while they answer your question, you are furthering the cause of progression
By insisting that kindness and hopefulness still reign supreme, you are not being ridiculous
By reminding each other that we can impact our local climate, we are supporting each other in healthy ways.
I wrote all of those words a few weeks ago, but was reminded today, on International Women's Day, as I'm being asked from my friends - the world over - if I'm participating in the #ADayWithoutAWoman movement, that I never hit submit.
We cannot continue to -- in a sweeping manner -- call people out on their privilege as IF it automatically negates their activism, waters down their voice, their power or their truth.
... reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities." - United Nations website
Do not engage in paid and unpaid work. Wear red in solidarity. Avoid spending money (unless it's at an establishment owned by women or minorities).
I am not wearing red today.
I am showing up and getting work done.
I am spending money that I earned today.
- Wear a color that is any hue you choose, but be sure it's BOLD (and then when someone sees that boldness, own it and say "thank you!" with the same fervor our male counterpart would).
- Go to work and teach someone else a new skill or talent that will empower their future paid and recognized work.
- Spend your hard earned money in a way that empowers the true progress of women in this world, whether philanthropically, buying to support local makers, etc. or in any other manner of empowering and lifting up.
Worth a ponder, don't you think?
On another similar, but separate topic. I have a question (a real question, that I'm looking for the answers to): What IS the feminist movement, as it's currently being used in 2017?
In terms of leadership, I'm not that interested in someone's gender. I'm interested in their wholeness. Just because someone identifies as a female doesn't mean they're working on behalf of the "Divine Feminine." If more females move into positions of so-called power, but they're operating on the patriarchal mindset, then it's hardly progress. It's only adding to the illusions and confusion around what power and equality really mean. (Side Note: used on its own, the term patriarchy can trigger brushstroke judgments that anyone with a penis is a patriarchal asshole. The patriarchal mindset is not gender-specific, it's a paradigm that can corrupt anyone, at any age, from almost any culture. There are MANY men out there who are "heart-led, with spines of direction and ambition, and with profoundly tender attentiveness, who embody wholeness."
I am going to spend my money today and do something that makes a difference in the lives of those around me (my "do something good" scale heavily leans towards things like Ripple Effect Images or my continuing Kiva contribution or by simply adding some of my hard earned money to my Ellevest investment account.)
It is not enough to wear pink pussy hats or red tshirts with a raised fist in the air. It is not enough to watch important documentaries, but fail to discuss them after you leave the theater. It's also not enough to open your checkbook and give $200 to the refugees. It's not enough to pen thought provoking blog posts or share the most recent Upworthy video all over your social.
Perhaps you'll want to say I'm not "feminist enough", or am naive to today's world, but but I simply support the fight to -- every single day -- be a better person than you were when you went to sleep last night. Show up for people who are creating opportunities for themselves and their families. Stand behind those who see their leadership quotient and raise the bar for those they were called to lead. Share and elevate of the stories and goals of those who strive to learn and expand their consciousness and awareness.
I will however, bolster my strong spine, clear my throat, work my ass off today to be better than I was yesterday, give some of my hard earned money to impact someone else's life, and will do my part to raise children who are empowered to do the same.
The Divine Feminine sure ain't about being the first female president, dean or CEO of anything. Ranking high in a broken system doesn't necessarily make you a heroine of feminism - tho' it very well could, and women's history is abundant with those true pioneers. The Divine Feminine is the warrior and the healer ... it is justice and mercy, carried out with grace. It's economics and the arts ... that nurture the entire community. Being direct and loving the hunt of opportunities - these are characteristically masculine qualities. I am deeply intuitive and nurturing -- innately feminine qualities. When I'm at my best, I express all of these qualities in my ALL-WOMAN ways. My delivery is compassionate and often softly spoken; my business operates on a triple bottom line, so that we can ALL be well fed, even if it means I share my own food. I am BEING the Divine Feminine. - Danielle LaPorte