When I started this blog, Gracefully Global, I meant it as an evolving study on how to be a traveler, gracefully. That is, to cherish and respect the cultures that we come upon as we learn about and interact with the world through our traveling ways. Somehow, the political turmoil of this month has felt like a big slap in the face for many of us who value other cultures and exploration, no matter what our political identity. In the face of the daily barrage of political news and the persistently changing landscape of our government, I almost feel like I should be cutting up my passport and never leaving my house again.
Luckily my passport is still intact, as, surprisingly, I’ve experienced some major positives as an outcome of the events over the last few weeks that I never would have seen coming. Two positives, in particular, are keeping me motivated and steadfast in my beliefs and in working to maintain my optimism for whats to come. So I’d like to share them with you.
I feel connected.
The fact that I am writing this post now is a testament to the higher engagement I’ve experienced online and in person over the last few weeks, connecting with friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. Not to say all of the connections have been positive, but they have all certainly been illuminating. Life somehow feels more interesting when you delve down a bit deeper to what makes each other tick, doesn’t it? And with connection, and a deeper understanding, it seems the sky is the limit on what could happen next.
The standout occasion for this connectedness was, of course, the women’s march, an incredible wash of positive energy, and a unique, historical moment of togetherness. Peaceful and optimistic, women of all shapes, sizes, ages, religions, politics, you name it. We were all there, and even better, we all seem to agree on the quality of this experience. I made a video about our experience at the San Diego march.
And the connectedness continues. I read a Vogue article about advocacy that I immediately trivialized as being too “beginner” in its advice. But really, it was perfect. It suggested that we organize groups of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances to work together on political advocacy goals. I don’t know why I originally thought of the article as overly simplistic. A few hours saturated with of frustrating political news later was all it took to change that thought, as I was fired up and the Vogue article suddenly seemed genius. I reached out to some friends, and we’ve already had our first meeting!
The friends that agreed to participate in these meetings are the women from each of my life’s major adventures that have stood out as the no-nonsense, powerful, empathetic, energetic, intelligent people that made life feel better. We met in a cozy, neighborhood café in San Diego. There were a few new faces, friends of friends, who I was thrilled to welcome. We enjoyed our food, and rolled up our sleeves and started writing Women’s March postcards to our political representatives. We cracked jokes and strategised. Laughed and shouted (the café staff were really patient with us, thankfully). It was exactly what we needed, after starting the evening feeling rather helpless and overwhelmed, politically, and each leaving that evening with a stack of postcards covered in the ink of our thoughts and concerns, and addressed to each of our political representatives. If meeting together these ten times for the 10 Actions/100 Days movement serves only to give me a bellyache from a good laugh and some updates from my favorite people, then so be it. That would still be a win in my book. And, ironically, the action for the current 10 Days is forming huddles, just as we have done, which we realized on the night of our meeting.
The other equally significant outcome of this rollercoaster of a month is something that I never saw coming:
I feel comfortable calling myself a feminist again.
As much as I’ve changed as a person over the last few decades, I’m realizing that I really haven’t changed that much. I’m still that gal that took gender studies my freshman year of college, and started making my own t-shirts in the first versions of Photoshop with whatever deep feminist theory was on my mind at the time. Which I wore to the annual feminist theatre production I produced at UCSD. As I’ve increased in age, I’ve learned to “tone in down.”
I can’t put my finger on exactly what caused my current change of heart. I surmise that Hillary, Pantsuit Nation, and our participation in the largest protest on American soil – a women’s march – has something to do with it. I hope that feminism can now achieve for politics what it once was criticized for not achieving for itself: bringing together women of every background, united in our quest for ethically minded government leadership.
That’s the lemonade I’ve managed to squeeze so far, and I’m expecting a lot more of it to come. So I hope to have many other positives to share, soon, as well as more reports from our meetings! In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Have you felt more connected, more feminist, or anything else that is personally positive? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
I wrote this piece to join others in the WordPress hosted conversation, Speak Out.