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March 8, 2017

Why I’m not Walking Out on International Women’s Day.

 

I’ve been an editor with elephant journal for almost a year and a half.

In that time, I’ve become more vocal about my political beliefs and my views on injustice, freedom, and equality. I’ve always had strong feelings about these topics, but I didn’t share them because “who cares what I think?”

Well, it turns out a lot of people do. And not necessarily because they’re my feelings, but because they’re honest feelings.

Back in January, when the Women’s March was held, I vowed to get more involved. To do more and say more and start walking my talk more. I felt inspired to participate and to make a difference. I joined Planned Parenthood, after years of using them as my sole female health care provider. I donated to women-centric organizations. I supported friends who were physically active in protests. I read more and started expanding my list of social justice tools.

But I still found myself feeling like a lazy, half-ass warrior.

So when I heard about the #DayWithoutAWoman, I thought to myself, “Yes, that’s it! I won’t go to work. I’ll drive to D.C. and make my voice heard.”

After psyching myself up and making grand plans for my activism, I had a startling thought: I need to pay rent next month.

And my credit card bill is due.

And I just took two days off of work to visit my sister and newborn nephew. If I take anymore time off, I won’t be able to handle my responsibilities as an independent woman.

This is a reality so many of us face. And for those who can afford to go on strike, or make the hard choice to do so, I commend you. I have the utmost respect for your part in fighting the good fight.

But for those of us who can’t, it’s important to find what we can do, and then do it.

As I snuggled under my blankets this morning, I realized that every day I wake up and use my talents to give a voice to women all over the world. I read and edit and share stories from women who long to make a difference.

Some of them are funny and some are sad.

Some make me angry and some break my heart.

Some teach me things I never knew and some feel familiar, like coming home.

Some leave me with more questions than answers.

And my favorites are usually the ones that leave me questioning myself and reevaluating my own truths.

So no, I can’t march today. I can’t take the day off work to show how my absence can impact our country. So instead, I will show how my presence can impact our world.

I will spend my day making sure women’s voices are heard. I will share stories of love and hope and family and hard work. I will let a woman know that her voice is worth listening to, and I will give another the push she needs to become more vulnerable, more open.

I will take the opportunity I’ve been given and make it my activism.

I challenge everyone today to take a few moments and listen to a woman’s story.

Let her know her voice matters.

Let her know her presence matters.

Let her know she matters.

 

Author: Nicole Cameron

Image: Twitter screenshot

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