There is something inside of me that has purred since I began to learn of awareness. Awareness of others surrounding me. Awareness of the influence others held on me. Awareness of my own influence on others.
The latter has always been misunderstood (by myself). Never did I think I possessed the power over others or ever could. And it’s not magical powers gifted by Gods we’ve been forced to forget as mythical creatures, but the power of my presence, of simply being and being my true self in the presence of others.
Maybe it started long ago, when a friend came to elementary school saying she wasn’t allowed to be near me. Her mother said so. I was baffled. I never met this friend’s family, nor did I even hang out very much with her, though she was part of our group. I asked what happened, and she explained she talked back to her grandmother. What her grandmother said to her, I don’t know. I can’t recall if she even told me what was said. But her actions of standing up for herself rippled back to me. (I was quite proud of her for speaking up for herself because she had been the quiet one for so long.)
I’ve practiced speeches in my head since I was a teenager. Grand speeches of freedom and peace, never lacking in the fierceness that I always possessed. My speeches were bold and dared others to join me, to stand up and believe in something worth the passion.
One day in my adolescence, somewhere between ages 8 and 11, I spoke to my father about what I could be. Probably provoked by school since these institutions that raise children have put a lesson in classes throughout elementary to high school that ask us what we will be when we grow up. An absurd notion, in my opinion, letting children dream of their wildest thoughts of success and then kick us out into the world to be expected to obey, shut up, and take the back seat.
I asked my father if I could be president. He looked at me, and I waited for the absurdity to be pointed out. I wonder if he saw me waiting for the shut down, the gentle let down to coddle me back into my closet filled with my stuffed animals and Bratz dolls. But, for whatever reason (some would dare whisper God), he couldn’t let himself say it.
He said I could be. That I could do it. I could be president.
That is power, and so many parents don’t realize the power they possess. I was lucky to have a father tell me that to my face as a young girl. I never realized how lucky I was for it until much later. I took that idea and talked myself out of the possibility because society told me it was absurd. Only male presidents have reigned over this land, and I had no evidence to support the idea that I could be a president of the United States.
Maybe that conversation started my awareness of the purring that began back when my friend was told she couldn’t be near me. The incessant inner grumble deep within me that clawed so deep I swear I transformed into something powerful. Something of importance and worldliness.
As I developed a love for reading and writing, I focused that purring and growling towards my dreams of being an author. A published author whose books were as timeless as Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, and so many more.
With the ruling dished out on a platter of patriarchy this bleak June 24th, I felt the purring inside of me clawing out of its dormant state. Perhaps my terror awoke it, or that long forgotten ferocity that I pushed aside because I didn’t want to influence anyone and worry of the consequences, or the low self-esteem we all share that tells us we can’t possibly be those dreams we thought up as kids in grade school.
It roars inside of me today, begging me to act. I think it is a gift from my mother and our ancestral mothers before us. And I wonder if it’s in you, too. If it’s in all the women who have been stomped down to believe that we had no place for power, for freedom, in society. I wonder if it’s in the men who are too afraid to free themselves of the bonds of toxic masculinity and be sensitive because society will tell them they are less than what they are (which is the exact opposite of the truth).
They don’t teach us enough of the matriarchies that once ruled the lands of our ancestors. We’re so warped by colonialism and patriarchy that they left out the lessons in history where women were deities among men. We are the bearers of life. We are the ones who deem if a man who raped us gets to have his DNA walk this Earth. We are the sensible ones who consider the financial stability, the mental stability, and the sole responsibility of creating a life to birth it and raise it in this world. And God forbid we have a nonviable fetus inside of us that will never get the chance to see its mother’s face no matter how desperately she wanted it to.
Yet a bunch of robed monsters who know nothing of empathy and worldliness ripped that choice out of the Constitution of these United States.
These states are not united. No, but the people can be. There is a chance for us, as the people of this nation, to see freedom for what it is. It is a choice. Without choice, there is no freedom, and this land is not free.
Indigenous children threatened to be taken from their families (keep your eye on the Indian Children Welfare Act) are not free. Descendants of slaves who never received that plot of land and mule after centuries of servitude (keep your eye on slavery laws) are not free. LGBTQIA+ individuals are not free (they’re coming for you next, maybe even next week). Women are not free (thanks Trump and that utterly un-supreme court).
I have sat idly by for my twenty-four years because that is what so much of society has engrained in us to do. No more. And to you, I say, stand up for those who are being raped, murdered, and cheated out of their choice, their culture, their legacy.
Open your eyes and see that we all are more alike than we are different, yet our differences are what makes us magnificent. Magnificently beautiful are we: the land of the LGBTQIA+, the land of the indigenous, the land of the immigrants (from which we all, unless indigenous, descended from), the land of the Muslim, Buddhist, and the plethora of other religions that guide each of us on our unique path.
Stand up for each other or sit on broken dreams, broken American dreams. One religion does not define all of us, one perspective does not live for all of us. The only God controlling this country is a false one, festering in fear and hate and spreading it rampant amongst those Republican “Christians” who have only just begun their quest of destroying our democracy.
And yes, I pray, you hypocritical Christians out there writhing in your fear and your loathing of the world that you will never chain down. I pray every single day for a revolution (tribute to the 4 Non Blondes).