There are occasional moments in my life where I find myself feeling so small, and helpless.
They don’t happen often, but when they do, they like to linger for at least a few days, humming in my head, and constricting my heart.
And more often than not, it’s a result of reading or watching the news, even just for five minutes; which is why I have learned not to surround myself with that toxic energy. This is perhaps what’s real, I cannot argue with that; but at the same time, I do believe the news thrives on building fear, and scarcity within us as people.
And what about everything that doesn’t get reported? There’s so much we’re still restricted from seeing, and knowing. We accept only what they choose to feed us.
I digress. Last night was one of those moments. Helplessness hit, and I’m struggling to find my way back this morning.
I’m thinking of all the girls and women around the world, who were born into a country where they do not have the freedom to express their opinions; and risk punishment if they do.
All the women who are not as fortunate as I am.
The women who demand to be educated; in a country that does not believe women deserve to know how to read or write.
The women who demand to be able to drive, in a country that doesn’t want women to have that freedom.
The women who write and paint and sing, about the injustices and inequalities that plague their gender; in countries that want to hide these away in the shadows, because they do not see women as equals.
The women who dress how they want, and walk the streets alone when they choose; in countries that teach women their body and sexuality are shameful, and perpetuate rape culture.
The women who want to choose who they date, who they sleep with, and who they marry—if marriage is want they want. But they live in a country where those choices belong to their parents; extended family; males who believe they own the women they are related to.
The women who are locked up, beaten, tortured, and raped; because they didn’t do what they’re supposed to do, they chose to do what felt right in their heart.
What do we do to help these women, and right the wrongs that continue to be dealt?
Do we sign a petition, or march in the streets with make-shift placards?
Do we speak, share and shout about it online, to make sure the world knows that this is not okay?
Or do we boycott the countries that continue to wage this war against us as women?
All good ideas.
But there’s only so much we can do and change when we do not live in those villages, towns, and countries. There’s only so much we can do if we are not one of those women who has lived through censorship and oppression her whole life.
I will do my part, by showing up and writing every day; empowering women to rise. I know you will do your part, in whatever way you feel most called to.
And for the women who are living this today, I pray they do not scare you into silence. Now is not the time to retreat into your shell, or resign yourself to living a half life. Now is not the time to delete your writing, or put down your microphone, or censor your truth.
Because this is what they want. They want you to be scared. They want you to be quiet. And they want you to remain small.
Now is the time to raise your voice. To speak louder. To make sure the world hears your roar. Because the louder we get, the harder we will be to ignore.