My car acts as my panic room sometimes. I get in, shut the door, hands at ten and two, head on the wheel. Crying ensues. Or jamming to Chance depending on the day. Lately it has been the former. I don't know what it is about being in an enclosed space that makes me think I can just sob or scream or jam or belt alongside the music as loudly as I want without anyone seeing. There is this mighty translucent thing called a windshield that definitely keeps my panic room from being an actual panic room/safe house/please don't look at me this is my safe space room. Still, after a long day, hard conversation, or stellar day where I just want to jam, shutting the door gives permission to set the floodgates free.
I bring this up because this happened recently, and to my surprise what really made me upset wasn't the disrespect served to me by a man, but the response from women I turned to looking for support. It is such a tricky thing, navigating feminism as a woman who believes graciousness is the key to winning every war, and I'll be honest, I'm probably not the best at it. I get fired up. I get sassy. I have zero tolerance for disrespect, towards men or women. Full stop. On Monday, I would have torn the legs clean off Barbie in her mockery had I crossed her and her toxic plastic faux glory. After almost a week of thinking, praying, and seeking advice, I decided it was best to hit the issue straight on and talk about it with this person. There was this moment when I realized, when many women were telling me to let it go because "that's just how it is", and others were fiercely charging me to battle, that this particular battle was a small victory. It was a small step I had to take for myself, like a tiny droplet in the giant cloud that is rolling up out of this "new wave of feminism". We can do these things graciously, but we can't roll over. The cloud is moving forward. Add to it. Roll with it.
I believe God is always at work. Call it the universe or the stars or (God help us all) Mercury in retrograde; whatever you need to make sense of the coincidences in life. A small, sticky, hurtful situation(s) in my life turned into a few life giving, freeing conversations for some very special women I love whose battle with abuse is way deeper than I'll ever know.
If you have been offended, hurt, disrespected, or anything remotely demeaning you as a female, your feelings are valid. I feel like I need to affirm some of you. You weren't in the wrong. You are okay to be upset. You are a magnificent treasure, and if you have ever felt treated as less than, I'm so sorry. If you want to share your story or ask questions or just vent, never hesitate to send me a message.
In all of this I want to very clearly say one thing: I, in no way, have a vendetta against men. We are in this together. Men, I'm fighting for you too. There are double standards, norms, expectations, and boxes we are forced to fit on both sides. Coincidentally I am reading through a book right now by the magnificent Anne Lamott called Small Victories. She is so refreshingly honest about her pursuit for healing and truth, her faith and how that looks in her life, and how we are all people in the process and that alone is enough to celebrate life.
Here's to the small victories.