Running a bit behind on my way to work means I’m stuck in I4 traffic. I hate the radio talk shows so I usually listen to DJ sets of House music or long jam band sets from JamCruise. But if I’m in traffic after 8:30, I make calls to each of Senator Rubio and Senator Nelson’s DC, Orlando, and Tallahassee offices to leave a comment on current US Congressional actions – This is my life now.
My weekends used to be drinking, relaxing, yard work, dinner with friends. Lately they’ve been meeting at Panera with fellow Seminole Democrats to have post card parties or track bills in the Florida Congress that would limit a woman’s right to choose.
My Friday nights lately? Assembling massive Google documents to track bills, subcommittees, the contact information of all Central Florida Members of Congress, and a shared calendar called The Resistance to keep track of all the events going on in my area – This is my life now.
My evenings after work used to be “grab dinner and tell Vince about my day.” Now it’s “fill up my gas tank so I can make it to local legislative speaking events around Central Florida to voice my concern to my representatives.” – This is my life now.
Extra hours made available on days I work from home and don’t have to suffer the long commute used to be spent doing yoga or hitting the gym. Now? I’m going on a supply run for material to make signs at protests I’m going to attend over the weekend – This is my life now.
Instead of chatting on Facebook Messenger with friends who want to grab dinner or share memes, I’m on Slack organizing groups of women and asking for time off to attend weekday protests, symposiums, and even trips to Tallahassee.
The ACLUCF’s Women’s Rights Task Force has 31 members and is the largest task force they have; on the only Florida chapter that has task forces. I’ve agreed to become the co-chair and am LOVING it – This is my life now.
I used to read news from whatever source happened to be linked on Facebook, or whatever article I clicked on Twitter. Because it’s The Internet and nothing will be 100% true and I should be able to do my own research, right?
But then “Fake News” came along and the less educated / most gullible constituents in this country actually fell for it all.
And then a man was elected president who is literally threatening the freedom of our press.
And that man has declared valid, credible, 3rd party news sources to be “the enemy” but has said NOTHING about Russia being our enemy despite being biggest political foe with a horrible history of partnership, led by one of the world’s most sketchy dictators… so now I pay for not only The New York Times but The Washington Post – This is my life now.
I used to run my errands in whatever outfit I happened to grab and put on. Now I have a selection of feminist t-shirts to choose from! I have a crop top that says “Don’t tell us to smile.” A comfy t-shirt that rocks “The Future is Female,” and a fitted t-shirt that says “Nasty Women Unite.”
I can pair that with a necklace that says “Smash the Patriarchy” and my jean jacket covered in pins that say “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” “Still We Rise,” and a symbol for The Iron Front, an anti-fascism group that fought the Nazi’s in WWII.
In case that wasn’t enough, Vince AND my sister got shirts that say “Feminist As Fuck” for their Christmas gifts – This is my life now.
I used to take for granted my right as a woman to make a choice about my body with the private consultation of my doctor.
I assumed that because the country had made progress, we could move on and keep making progress.
I appreciated the fact that my family immigrated from Austria two generations ago with 7 kids to live in a 2-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. And I assumed that if any other family from any other country were brave enough to leave everything they knew for just the hope and a prayer that they could make something of themselves, well, that America would be cool with that, like they were cool with my family doing so.
I was wrong to take those rights for granted, to make those assumptions, to appreciate the opportunities granted to my family without doubting those opportunities would be taken from others merely for the sake of religion.
I was wrong but fool me once, shame on you. America and the Radical Right Wing Extremists will NOT fool me twice.
I always wondered what kind of woman I would have been during the Suffrage movement, or during the times of Roe v. Wade, or during The Civil Rights era or Jim Crow laws and segregation.
Well, now I know.
It turns out I’m a fighter, an organizer, a protester, an activist willing to use any and every skill set I have to make my voice heard. I will call and show up and march wherever and however I can.
This is my life now.