I was the first one up this morning. I was able to exhale the breath I had been holding in all week.
Relief came over me as I smiled proudly in honor of our country that selected a candidate who embodies dignity, decency, and compassion.
The respite brought me down to my yoga mat. Deep breaths in and bigger exhales. Uniting my palms together in honor of all of us, citizens, who desire unity. Even those who may have voted differently than me, I reach my hands to the sky and breathe in for possibility.
It is possible that we can come together and be less divided. Less hate, more love, inclusion, and equality. Inhale to warrior II pose, holding up all my sisters and brothers of the world on my shoulders. I stand taller and more relaxed today, warriors.
A woman made history today. A black, strong, educated woman who will have a man stand behind her. A white man who chose to love a woman who is relentless in fighting for all of us. It’s uniquely magnificent to be a part of this time in our lives.
Sleepy-eyed, my four-year-old came out to greet me and said, “Mama, you have tears, but you’re not sad.” I scooped her up and asked if she remembered why I have been a little on edge and worried for our country this week.
She replied, “Yes, because we want a president who is kind and uses kind words?”
“Yes, baby, and guess who is our new president’s vice president?”
“It’s a girl, Mama.”
It does not seem to faze her, which is where the beauty in innocence lies. I hugged her so damn tight and reminded her that she can do anything in this precious life that she aims to do. We cheered and did a little celebration dance together with her baby sister.
I cannot remember a moment as a parent up until now when I have been so proud of being a girl mama. The idea that they can grow up in a community where no one can stop them from living the life they believe in. They can stand tall and not have the bar lowered for them. They do not have anything to prove and will be given the same opportunity as a male. They will not have to make themselves small in order to fit into someone else’s “box.”
We let daddy sleep on Saturdays when he can, after a long week with work stresses. He came out to our happy moods and sat in his chair with coffee. I danced my usual silly, happy dance until the silent music turned off. The party was over due to his negative comments of, “Well, you know who is going to try to contest, and the president elect isn’t perfect either, but, at least, he’s better than the current one.”
My shoulders dropped, my smile left, and my tears were not happy ones anymore. I do not expect him to share my ideas, thoughts, and excitement with everything, but his negativity broke me. Look at history being made: a father of two girls could be grateful for the progress that has been made before he finished a cup of coffee that was made for him.
My appalling response to his comment brought an apology, and I said, “Thank you.” That is a rule in our house—to thank the person who apologizes after they acknowledge the reason, whether they are right or not.
I do not expect him to understand what it is like to be a female or to know how our road has hills to climb—not a flat carpet rolled out because you’re a man. How many groping, manipulating, suppressing behaviors we have endured to not have a door slammed in our face. Staying quiet to not be told “no.” To live in an emotional world feeling “fine,” which is half dead, if you ask me. Being shamed, guilt-ridden for choosing to be a working mother, or not being a mother, or being two mothers—it has got to stop. That tending to ourselves with self-care and putting our oxygen mask on first is selfish.
When did being a mother mean we should be martyrs? Why are the waves still knocking me down in my own house? Have I enabled this behavior? Have I not shared my struggles enough to try to get you to cheer louder and bigger for us? I realized today that I have been suppressing myself to keep peace and quiet in my house.
When did I get so lost in my “wife and mother” moments? I let my strengths turn into weakness. Where is the woman I was proud to have become? My whole life was made up of “you cannot, not good enough, not man enough, and freedom is not all yours” because of being a woman.
After all that I have been through and fought against because I believed in equality and, more importantly, myself. I am back to feeling broken and lost but determined to find my way back. Where has my wild gone? Why would I let anyone tame me when I shattered the glass to fly above the clouds?
I am back to the deep breaths that grounded me just a few hours ago. The breaths bring me back to myself. This morning may not have stayed on the happiness track, but I can start my day over any time, and I choose to bring unity back to my little family.
I choose to channel this fire inside to get back to the girl who I am here to be. My girls need me, my country needs me, and the world needs all of us to be kinder to one another. Instead of choosing to build a wall between my husband and me for not sharing my enthusiasm, we chose to love each other and to say, “I do.” That day, we stood together; we were unified.
We grow, change, and transform while we are in life and relationships. I do not want to grow apart, so I choose to be open rather than harbor resentment. A house can be divided but does not need to live in misery, but in unity and love.
I feel our relationship needs more positivity, affirmation, and empathy—like the country we currently live in. Let this day catapult more conversations, apologies, and togetherness. We need a pivotal change and to continue breaking down the barriers.
The moment is here, and while there is still a lot of work to get done, I have hope that the road will be open big enough for us to reach out to a hand and help each other stand back up.