enough

Not enough.

I am learning to

take care of my body,

my mind,

my soul,

but

I am still made to feel

not enough—

one-half

of a whole,

my empty hands

grasping at air.

(another post about) the march

I know that many people are tired of hearing about the Women’s March that happened on Saturday, January 21, but I’m going to add my two cents because I am that kind of person.

First, I did not march. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was exhausted and am not good about planning ahead, so the logistics didn’t work out. I was keeping up with things throughout the day – from checking my friends’ posts on social media to looking at statistics on various news sites. Yesterday was a beautiful demonstration of peaceful protest. Yes, many of the women were angry, and harsh words were plastered on posterboards, but it was still a peaceful event; there were no violent, hateful acts committed, and it was a beautiful display of unity in an extremely broken and divided world.

march on washington, racial discrimination, civil rights, civil rights legislation, congress, August 28, 1963, martin luther king jr., the freedom march, the Mall, washington d.c.

This is one of many historic photos from the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963. So many people put this event upon a pedestal (as we should) because of the awareness it brought to the suffering and victimization of so many people. But even today, I can hear the criticism they got:

“Black people still have jobs.”

“They still have restrooms.”

“They still make their own choices.”

People were justifying racism just fifty years ago. The Civil Rights March did so much good. It was a peaceful event that allowed history to move forward in love and acceptance of people who were viewed as different.

That’s what the Women’s March was (and is) all about. It’s about people taking charge of their own voices and saying, “This isn’t right.” Today I have heard so much criticism as people have processed the event:

“Women still get paid.”

“They can vote.”

“No one is stopping them from __________.”

In 2017, people are justifying sexism. If women didn’t feel oppressed, the march would not have been organized on such a large scale. Something that so many people seem unable to understand that this isn’t just a bunch of entitled, white, middle-class women (one post I read today claimed that this was a “vacation” for entitled white women) – this is a group of diverse, oppressed, frustrated women who are tired of feeling like they are something less because of the way so many men (and even women) speak and behave.

Personally, I am tired. I am tired of being reduced to certain body parts or certain roles in life. I am tired of hearing that I can’t do x or y in the church because of my gender. I am tired of feeling like I have to justify myself for being angry, when the same is not expected of men. I am tired for being judged more harshly for the words I use or the things I choose to accept. But yesterday proved I am not alone.

I know there are so many people who still think (and will continue to think) yesterday was worthless, but look what the Civil Rights March did. Why can’t this be the newest manifestation of what was started in 1963?

Picture via: http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/march-on-washington/pictures/march-on-washington/protestors-beside-reflecting-pond-at-march-on-washington

Ald Lang Syne

2016. This year was quite a beast. There were lots of great moments, and lots of terrible ones. Mostly for myself, I’m compiling a list of momentous things that happened in 2016 and a list of things I want to happen in 2017. Not binding myself to them, but reminding myself of who I want to be and where I want to be this upcoming year. I’m not constricting myself to any sort of time frame; I simply want to have a plan for how I want to live my life this year.

2016

  • I taught a high-school English class for the first time.
  • I started writing poetry.
  • My dog died.
  • I wrote and defended my senior symposium.
  • I was a youth intern for the second time.
  • I had a Christmas party with my friend group.
  • I found a good church home.
  • My Granddad died.
  • I presented poems at a conference.
  • I took a class that changed my life.
  • I got Netflix.
  • I went to therapy for the first time.
  • I discovered Hamilton.
  • I made it through the most difficult season of life thus far.
  • I got to work in the English department.
  • I read so many books.

2017

  • I want to become a teacher.
  • I want to live on my own.
  • I want to travel.
  • Read more.
  • Listen more, talk less.
  • Apologize less.
  • Learn to grieve in a healthy way.
  • Tell people how I really feel.

Christmas Eve

This is the first Christmas Eve that he hasn’t been here.

For every single one of my 21 Christmases, my family has packed up the car and driven to my Ganny and Granddad’s house for Christmas Eve. Whether it was a two-day drive or a twenty-minute one, we were always there to celebrate. When my Granddad died in October, I knew this night would be especially difficult, but the reality doesn’t hit until certain moments come.

We shed a few (okay, I shed many) tears as my uncle prayed. This is the first Christmas that my Granddad’s strong, but shaky voice hasn’t been the one to thank God for all of the blessings we’ve received over the past year. For me, it was difficult to be thankful when I feel like one of the biggest blessings in my life was taken from this world.

My Ganny made sure to tell us it was okay, even really good, to sit in my Granddad’s chair – where he sat to watch sports, to open presents, to tell us stories, to doze as the days got harder for him to handle. I’d planted myself in his chair for a few minutes as soon as I came in the door, just trying to remember him and his love, trying to see the world from his eyes. My Ganny thanked me for that.

The evening was fun, but still sad. My family shared knowing glances when we knew something in particular triggered a special memory, and I’m sure there will be more of that tomorrow as we celebrate Christmas Day. It’s difficult to talk about this loss with my family, and it’s too easy for me to feel like I can’t talk to them about how sad I am, but it’s the few unspoken moments that create a sense of solidarity between us, and I’m eternally grateful for that.

I know this time is difficult for a lot of people. I was in constant contact with two of my best friends today because both of them have suffered loss this year, too. I know I’m not alone, but each person deals with this extreme grief in a very different way. Me, I’m a little angrier than usual, and I have to apologize more often than I used to. If you’re reading this, and you’re in a place of grief, please know you’re not alone and that you’re going to be okay. Not the same, but okay. I know that words don’t offer the kind of comfort I’d like, but I’m still grateful to those that try.

In this season of peace and joy, it’s okay to not feel those sentiments as deeply as I usually do. I’m thankful for the people who continue to surround me with their love.

Happy Christmas.