This week has me feeling all kinds of feelings. The cries of frustration and fear and anger are so loud I feel a bit like I’m drowning in the midst of them. I’m confused, I’m overwhelmed, and I’m exhausted. And more than that, I feel powerless to help the people in my life who are suffering. That distinct and resounding feeling of helplessness might be the scariest notion of all.
My run this morning, like many mornings as of late, felt something like a prayer. I’m not religious, nor do I have any great faith in a higher power, but I do know for certain that the act of movement is a spiritual thing. Surrounded by noise that blocks out the ability to process or reason, sometimes it is all I can do to get outside, move my feet forward, and wonder what all this outcry means. For myself, my community, my country, my world. What gives here? How can we heal?
The reality is that this election was not an encouraging one for many women in this country. If you voted for Donald Trump, this is not intended to feel like an accusation. And I’m proud that you used your vote to speak up for issues more significant than a candidate’s gender. But for others of us, this outcome is painful. I will admit that I’m scared of the thought of having a president who dismisses assault as “locker room talk” and compares a woman’s ability to “satisfy her husband” to her political aptitude. I am lucky to live in a time when being female is so much easier than it used to be, and I can humbly acknowledge the privilege afforded to me by my sexuality, birthplace, education, and the color of my skin. I cannot claim to understand the perspectives of my minority and LGBTQ+ friends, nor should I try to relate. The best I can do is listen and love and pray and hurt with them. Yet what this week has shown me, what I can relate to distinctly and personally, is that women still have such a long way to go.
In the midst of anger and uncertainty, however, opportunities arise. Trees grow and flowers bloom in the most unlikely of places. And if there is anything that makes me thankful in this time of confusion, it is seeing the fiery resolution in people to work for change. I hope there is a woman out there, one who has dreamed her whole life about shattering that glass ceiling, watching this week’s events. She’s inspired and she’s impassioned and she’s motivated. She’ll stop at nothing until she becomes the change she’s fighting for. And I, for one, cannot wait to be her cheerleader.
At the end of the day, I believe to the core of my being that love will always win and that people are stronger when we are united. I also know that our work for women’s equality is nowhere near finished. But I feel more confident than ever that the future has momentum. It looks like the working single mother who stays up late to study after her children go to sleep. It looks like the female CEO who has endured countless “she’s a bitch” allegations for her commitment to her job. It looks like the marathon runner who gets faster every day despite cat calls and threatening remarks made on the street corner. The future looks like progress, and I have this sneaking suspicion it goes by ‘she.’