I believe when things happen that are seemingly beyond our control, we have a choice to make. We can be victims, we can be survivors, or we can be fighters.
When my virginity was taken from me at the age of 16, against my choice, I chose to be a fighter.
When I was attacked and brutally beaten on the street in Chicago at the age of 19, because I was a vulnerable woman walking alone, I chose to be a fighter.
When I was wrongfully arrested at the age of 28 for protesting in New York City and detained for over 50 hours without arraignment, 16 of those hours penned in with chain link fencing in an old, abandoned bus depot, I still chose to be a fighter.
And right now, at age 36 after welcoming my daughter into this world, as they whittle away at my reproductive rights and spew misogynistic vitriol, I choose to be a fighter.
Becoming a mother changed everything for me. Becoming the mother of a daughter pushed me even further into new realms. It has made things that much more immediate for me, that much more threatening. It has jump started my activist heart into hyperdrive, and the little girl that marched with her mother for reproductive rights 26 years ago is passing along the gift of action.
Because my daughter should not have to grow up in a world where she is disrespected and violated. Not physically, not sexually, not emotionally, not intellectually, and most certainly not legislatively.
The gift that was given to me will be passed on to the next generation. I remember one night, many years ago, I was having dinner with my own wise mother and her beautiful, strong woman friend who used to smuggle guns under her skirts for the Algerian revolution. This friend happened to be married to an accidental misogynist, the kind who would never want to be, but lives as such without even being aware of it. After dinner, my father and the accidental misogynist went upstairs to play pool and we women stayed downstairs and began the important work that happens when women get together and talk around tables, in kitchens, and on playgrounds. We talked of everything and nothing all at once. We spoke for distant nations and next door neighbors. We talked and talked and that magical energy that happens when women get together and share ideas lifted us higher and higher and we felt we were doing important work just by releasing these ideas and this energy into the world! We were empowered by our togetherness, by our concern for the world, and our knowledge of the responsibility of our place in it, as women, as bearers of such strength and wisdom!
And then the men came downstairs.
And the accidental misogynist, true to form, said "So what have you little ladies been up to?"
And without skipping a beat, my wonderful wise revolutionary friend replied "Holding up the world, how about you?"
As women and as mothers, we have unparalleled strength. We are tapped into the generational stream, and from it we are infused with the strength of all the women that have come before us and all those who will follow. It is our responsibility to take that strength and build the world we want to live in.
It is our responsibility to hold up the world.