I get different reactions when I say I'm a feminist.
"Not extreme enough."
"Not into that."
"So do you hate men then?"
Feminists get a bad rap. We are man-hating, non-shaving, masculine, God-defying, pro-choice, family-snubbing crazies who are all exactly the same.
I love my boyfriend dearly, enjoy clean pits, have more ruffles in my closet than a pack of parakeets, proclaim God as my father and saviour, am completely pro-life, want at least four children, and also am proudly my own person.
And I believe in equality. I believe that women have the right to express themselves, make decisions and act on them, be leaders, hold positions of power, live into their calling, be creators, get paid based on position and performance and not on gender, dream big, be moms, teachers, pastors, scientists, engineers, writers, artists. We have the right to say yes, say no, say maybe. Women have the right to live.
The video above puts the idea of living into perspective. As important as they are, equal pay checks, rights to vote, and careers become secondary when millions of women are being denied the right to breath. They are being denied the right to see the world, explore personality, exercise their ears and eyes and hands and feet, think. They are denied the right to be people.
I don't deny that women are called to serve. But we are called to serve in the way that humanity, men and women are called to serve - we are called to serve each other, and a bigger picture that far exceeds our little slot of time here on this earth. We serve with what we are given - our gifts, talents, backgrounds, money, abilities, and time - and if 50 percent of the population is silenced, that's 50 percent of humanity's minds and creativity gone.
We are not commodities to be bartered with. The permission to live - and live fully - is not one that any person, gender, or culture has the right to grant. I am a feminist because I believe we are called to serve, and with my voice and with every ability in me, I want to serve those women who cannot speak for themselves - whether they're being oppressed into silence, cowed by circumstance and stigmas, or simply have never been given the opportunity. I am a feminist because equality, worth, and life are not things that should be gifted or bestowed, but need to be recognized as is, and acted upon. We have a duty to speak and make it so.
A couple weekends ago, the Crissy, Allen and I hopped into Al's little green car and rode into the sunset - literally - all the way down to the Oregon coast to pay a visit to this girl.
We miss her rather excessively because she's currently doing wonderful things at a camp at Twin Rocks down by Cannon Beach. Then she's packing up to go get a masters at American University in Washington D.C. All that said, it was time for some reunion action - beach time was a plus.
And so we went on a wetland walk....
Spirits were high.
And through cool tunnels...
And journeyed to the beach...
And were blown away by sea side beauty...
And frolicked a great deal...
And perused old bookstores. Can't forget the old bookstores. In fact, I found a book that I've wanted for about two years. It was a glorious moment during which the book lady and I had a bonding moment, I almost wept tears of happiness, and I'm pretty sure the birds began to chirp.
This is the not the afore talked about book, but a wonderful little volume regardless.
And we took so many breaths of fresh air.
We laughed alot, talked about where we were and where we are going, what we are excited about, what we are scared about - and it was good to remember why these women are so dear to me.
Kelsey sent me a card the next week that had blazoned accross the front:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
- Mary Oliver
We're doing alot of things with our precious lives. Alot of things that are exciting and nerve wracking and new and wild. There are things we haven't done yet, things we plan to do and things we're too afraid to plan yet. But it's a comforting and beautiful thing to know that whatever I have done, am doing, and plan to do, I will be supported, challenged, and loved. And what a gift it is to be able to do that in return.