Where do I Fit? I Don't Know.
I know. I have written sporadically. I actually do keep up on The Discombobulated Mommy Facebook page. It's not every day, but I still keep up and share pictures. These days, I rarely find the time to sit and write out full blog posts. I miss it. I miss writing regularly. I have so much I need to record and yet, life keeps me busy and I have so little to time reflect, ponder, and absorb. Maybe that's what I need to do more.
So what has prompted me to write this current post? I just found out via Facebook, that I am a bit of a unicorn. Yes. A unicorn. I find that I don't ever quite fit neatly into a label. I'm too liberal for my conservative friends and I am far too conservative for my liberal friends. Often I scroll through Facebook and I cringe and scroll on when I read such posts as: "All Christians believe..." "All Pro-lifers don't..." "All Republicans are..." Fill in the blank. Usually when posts lump you in with "all" it's not a good thing. Although I consider myself a writer, I don't feel that I am always articulate. Passionate, yes. Articulate, no. And therefore I rarely jump into the social media arguments.
So about 3 years ago, on Facebook, I posted a link to an inflammatory article about Planned Parenthood and those who support it. I posted the article because of the very last sentence, "We have to care." That was the one line that truly resonated with me. I was raked over the virtual coals by friends who were insulted and incensed by what I had chosen to post and I was asked to think very carefully about my audience and maybe I just shouldn't post those types of things. Most people didn't read the article because they were so ticked by headline. After 3 days of going back and forth on Facebook on this one particular post, a lot of good discussion came out of it though in the end we still agreed to disagree. Three years later, I am still hurt by what people said to me and how harshly they said it. My heart still pounds when I think of that article and my face still flushes with embarrassment. I never meant to insult anyone and fortunately one of my friends (who still disagreed with the article) pointed that out. I am frustrated with myself for not being as articulate as I wanted to be and having such a thin skin and not standing up for myself a little better.
So I bring you to today. In two days we will have a new President. There has been a lot of frustration and anger as what our country has done by electing Donal Trump as our new president. And speaking with friends, many didn't vote for him or for Hillary Clinton. I was frustrated that the candidates I wanted to vote for weren't around by the time it came for my state to put in their vote. So I was left with two people who I felt did not represent me. But I still voted. As per usual, I voted with an significant issue in mind. I voted for life. I voted for a possible third party candidate who had a pro-life platform. Alas, he did not win. But at least I tried. I voted.
The day after the Presidential Inauguration, there will be Women's March. Many of my friends started posting about it and how they wanted to be a part of it. I warily looked into. So many good reasons to go. So many voices to be heard. So many important topics to support and I would be proud to support them. But again, I watched the posts on Facebook from several friends and groups. I was invited, along with others, to walk with local women, many of them personal friends. And yet, I hesitated. I continued to watch, read, and listen. And more and more I felt like I didn't quite belong. You see, and what you have probably have already deduced is that I am a pro-life woman. And at the time that the beginning preparations for the march were happening, that probably didn't matter. So what? But you see, as a pro-life woman, it is often asked why wouldn't one support women's rights? How could I, as a woman, not support other women? But did you know that you can still be a feminist and be pro-life? And actually, I wasn't sure if you could. I knew that I was, but I knew others wouldn't consider me a feminist, so I doubted my existence. I allowed other people to label me and set me aside solidly into one camp. It didn't bother in the sense that I was still going to support women's rights, but I would also support the rights of the pre-born.
Over the last few months I have read personal heart-wrenching stories from women about why they are grateful abortion is legal and why late-term abortion should be legal. I wept. I wavered in my position. I wondered and still do if there can't be a better way to support these women so that they don't have to go through still-births, horrific miscarriages, and instances where they felt that abortion was the only possible choice for them. And I don't have an answer. It doesn't mean I've stopped looking for one. But it does mean that I am working harder at supporting women at all stages. Being pro-life means that we look at the whole and not just the birth of the baby. It means supporting the mamas who have made the decision to keep their babies even though their circumstances were less than ideal. Being pro-life means providing better and affordable health care for women and the men and families who support them. Being pro-life means, advocating for better mental health care. This one hits personally as I am who struggles, sometimes daily, with depression. A depression that can be so profound that it has tipped to the side of suicidal thoughts as recently as two years ago. How can I be pro-life while at the same time contemplating my own suicide. Paradoxical isn't it? It happens. Again, I don't fit into any one box.
We so often link pro-life advocacy and pro-choice advocacy as if they go hand in hand. But pro-life is more than just the birth of a baby. It is the support of life throughout various physical and mental challenges, and I am talking about the every day person, not just infants. And I believe that being pro-choice is more than just abortion. You may disagree with me. And that's okay. Which brings me to my point.
Women are angry and frustrated with the politics surround them. They want to march in Washington, Chicago, New York, and wherever a group of women can get together and support their ideals and values. We want you to HEAR us. But I unfortunately found out through social media that I don't exist because I can't be pro-life and a feminist, and because I don't exist, I don't have a voice. And that is frustrating to me. So I won't be marching. Organizers have decided to make a pro-choice platform a very big one and as a result have dissolved a partnership from one of the pro-life feminist groups who applied and was granted partnership for the march.. Oh, wait, you didn't know that there were pro-life feminists groups? Neither did I until recently and that is when I found out that I was unicorn. That there are others like me who feel strongly about women's issues AND the life of the pre-born. But I digress. I am sad and frustrated to know that we as women, have alienated one another at a time we should be walking in solidarity. That we are not allowing every voice to be heard in partnership with the march. Yes, the pro-life feminist groups will still march in solidarity. But they will not be considered a partner. And that is is to me a sad commentary of what this election has done to our country. It has divided us when we should be united. Let us be heard. Let all the voices carry weight. And let us do it with compassion, empathy, and grace.
As I struggled about what I could do and what I wanted to do and how I wanted to approach the post election days and years to come, I know that I wanted to still be a voice. So, I personally have decided to put my head down and work. Work to help others. I will choose to be kind, to support other people, and to work for social justice. I realize that I don't need to be loud. That's not necessarily my personality either. But I can still donate diapers and wipes to the pregnancy center. I can make baby blankets for new babies. Afghans for new mamas. I can provide meals for a homeless shelter. I can provide food for a food pantry. I can bring my children and teach them do the same. And we do it in solidarity. We do it to provide support in whatever way we can. Sometimes quiet servitude is all that it is needed. There will always be someone more articulate, louder, more knowledgeable than I am. So instead of being flustered or insulted or labeled, I will simply be Heather. A mother. A wife. A writer. A slow runner. A person who is often discombobulated and lacks organization or the ability to keep to a schedule. A person who will always struggle to know the value of her self-worth, but will work at it each and every day. A person with great passion. And I will try to remember to do small things with great love. And I humbly ask each of you: no matter what you believe in, please approach each day with great love and compassion. We are called to serve one another. I think we will find that when we serve one another, we will begin to unify and heal our hurting country.
As Always, very humbly yours,
Heather, The Discombobulated Mommy