Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why I Marched...

I love to read.  It is probably my greatest joy second to my family.  I will happily read anything, books, articles, lists, blogs, recipes and product reviews (all about the reviews!).  So, in the couple of days that have passed since the Women's March, I have read quite a few articles and "think pieces" on the event.  Some for it and some against, some that made me well up in pride for taking part and some that made me question myself and my own intentions.  Now that I have had a few days to digest, reflect and ask myself some serious questions, I wanted to share why I, personally marched alongside my family, my friends and a sea of perfect strangers. 

In the days leading up to the March, I was torn.  I supported the causes (it wasn't just for WOMEN), and I wanted to stand up for what I believe in and to show my three daughters that even if we feel beat down, to keep fighting and doing what we feel is right.  Sure they might not remember it, but I would never let them forget we were there.  But I also have a very fearful side of me, one riddled with anxiety over WHAT IF'S???  What if there was a stampede?  What if there was, God forbid, a terrorist attack or a mass shooting?  What if one of my kids got sick or hurt?  The reasons not to go were stacking up, but two of my best friends in the world who inspire me to no end were going and bringing their kids, and my amazing husband was all for it.  If they could be brave, so could I.
As soon as we got there, the energy was palpable.  I felt so exhilarated, emotional, inspired, hopeful, proud and AMERICAN.  There were women and men from all ethnicity's, all ages and all walks of life.  There were people advocating for a huge array of causes, such as Climate Change, Planned Parenthood, Women's Workplace Rights, Ending Sexual Assault, Protecting Immigrants, LGBT Rights, Black Lives Matter, Domestic Abuse and Women's Rights.  The vibe was inclusive to all and the basic message was that we are all humans who deserve to be treated equally and have the same rights as the next person.

This is where I needed to question myself and think about why I was there.  Do I feel like a second class citizen?  Do I feel like my voice isn't heard?  Do I feel powerless or scared for my personal future?  Not necessarily.  But guess what?  I am a 36 year old, white, stay at home mom in a happy marriage, living a comfortable middle class life in suburbia.  So, no I wasn't really marching for MYSELF. I was marching for the women whose skin is a different color, whose name doesn't sound like mine, who has been getting paid less than their male counterpart while doing the exact same job.  For the women whose husband wouldn't let her attend, for the women who wanted to be there but had no car or money for bus fare to make it.  For the men and women who feel marginalized and worry for their own basic, human rights and just want to be themselves and live their own lives without fear.  Do I realize that just the mere fact we all live in America makes us so much more fortunate than a good percentage of the world?  Absolutely, and my heart bleeds for the suffering of men, women and children in oppressed and war torn countries, which is why I donate to the American Red Cross and Save the Children when I can and try to stay as informed as possible.  But those terrible atrocities do not negate the struggles of the people right here in our own country.  Do I fully understand all of these trials, tribulations and hardships other people go through on a daily basis?  Of course not, but I am trying to be more aware and look outside my personal bubble and realize that maybe even though I am OK, my neighbor may not be.  To me, the greatest gift we can give each other is empathy.  Maybe we don't understand or agree with each other, hell, maybe we don't even sympathize with each other, but if we can empathize and try to put ourselves into each others shoes for just a minute, there could be a whole lot more acceptance, peace and unity.

So the million dollar question now is what next??  For me, it means practicing what I preach and continuing to learn and grow from others.  Teaching my daughters to always stand up for what they believe in and to be a voice for someone or something who may not have one.  To take pride in yourself and believe that even a small act of kindness can go a long way and most importantly, no matter what, we are all human and deserve respect. 

Check out the Womens March website for the 10 Actions for the First 100 Days if you are so inclined.

OK, back to cooking!!  Furiously working on next recipe blog post!!!  Thanks for reading! xoxo