Like a Girl Blog Post

hero

“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” Hercules

 

 

Maybe you don’t know how strong girls can be.

 

Let me tell you a story about what I know.

 

I know what it’s like to grow up a girl in a house full of boys in the 80s. I know what it’s like to hear the rumor that you can do anything while simultaneously watching how that actually plays out.

 

Take dodgeball for example.

 

Dodgeball. That game with the hand held rubber balls you throw at each other as hard as you can. Why as hard as you can? Because you don’t want the person to catch the ball, you want the person to get hit by the ball. If they get hit with the ball, they’re out. If they catch the ball, you’re out. Simple.

 

When I was in elementary school I went to a summer day camp. In the morning, after drop off but before camp officially began, the kids would all play dodgeball. Mostly the older teens, but because camp had not yet started for the day, the younger children could mix in with them, too.

 

Normally, the younger children choose to mix in with the older children to showcase their amazing, advanced, dodgeball skills. Not me. On that day, I joined in because I thought it would be fun. I believed that the older children would take into account how small I was even for the lowest age group.

 

In the 80s, you learn lessons the hard way.

 

The few minutes I spent on the field, to this day I can conjure up how it felt like a battlefield. The expressions, the sounds of satisfied triumph and stinging, shameful defeat, dodgeballs flying so fast, you can barely see them. I was lost out there, unable to catch or capture a ball to throw, startled by how hard the kids around me were getting hit.

 

WHAP!!!

 

The biggest kid on the field took aim. I saw it. I saw the whole thing. I saw his expression change from glory to terror right as the ball left his hand, as he realized too late that he had used too much force for such a small target.

 

That’s all I saw because when the dodgeball hit me in the face, the force of it brought me up off my feet, into the air and slammed my whole body onto the ground. Never before has anyone thrown a dodgeball that hard, and probably not since.

 

What happens next, the memory of it, brings me to tears.

 

While there is an outburst of accusations ranging from, ‘you’re in deep shit’ to ‘who let her on the field,’ only one person reacts appropriately. The strongest kid in the group ran to me, picked me up like a baby and RAN me over to the nurse. She was my hero.

 

I always wanted to thank her. But I was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that even to this day, I don’t have the right words to convey the emotions in my heart. It’s not just that she picked me up when I was down, it’s the way she did the right thing without hesitation. Alone. Truly, a hero.

 

That’s a role model.

 

Years later, that beautiful strong girl went on to play football for our high school, the first girl ever. I used to watch the football games and feel this enormous sense of pride, like that’s the girl who carried me, look at her, she can do anything. She can do things I’ve never even seen before. She matters.

 

I’ve had my moments. I’ve picked up many people who were down and cradled them to my chest. I have held the hands of countless emergency room victims of violence and advocated on their behalf. I have argued in Court pro bono to make children and families safe from violence. I have empathized with every soul who has looked to me for advice and counsel. But I have not yet been able to pay that one forward, I have not physically carried a stranger to safety.

 

I am so ready for that moment. That moment when objects are flying, people are screaming and pointing blame at each other. In that moment, I am ready to, without hesitation, physically remove the person in need of protection to carry them to safety. Alone. I am prepared to do the right thing because I know what a hero looks like, Luana Halftown showed me.

 

hero

Dr. Maya Angelou was a hero

 

Thank you for showing me strength. Because of you, I know that strength involves care, kindness, empathy, bravery, compassion, self sacrifice, faith and intuition. Strength is about having heart.

 

XO,

Rachel

hero

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by example.” Maya Angelou

Come As You Are

Come as you are…

 

I have a dream.

 

I dream of a world where human beings are not defined by their gender.

 

There I said it.

 

Feels good to get that out. I get in trouble a lot for saying these things. I actually have been randomly receiving a lot of hate for BEING a feminist. There is this “anti-feminist” movement online that has been following me pretty aggressively and, as you can see by their title, they are “anti-ME.”

 

That hurts.

 

I know it shouldn’t but…

 

I mean come on! It’s not ok to be a part of a group that is anti or against a group of human beings. As a feminist, I am a human being and I am not against a group of other human beings. Contrary to “anti-feminist” rhetoric, feminists don’t hate men. That’s absurd. I am married to a man and I made a son. I love these men. I would give my life up for them without hesitation. It wouldn’t even occur to me to pile up men into a group and then express hatred toward that group; that has a very nazi prison camp feel to me. Nazis hate a big group of people, too. The KKK hates a big group of people. Anti-feminists hate a big group of people. That’s unsettling.

 

Took my son to the park this weekend and posted this picture of us on Instagram:

 

come as you are

 

This is the comment I provoke:

 

IMG_6139

 

“Feminism is a sign of being weak. Your weakness will be used against you. You have been selected to be on trial of committing acts of treason if found guilty your instagram account will be band {ha ha} by reports of over 300 jurors in our internet trial court.”

 

I added the “ha ha” to the quote above because I think nafu_1st_ar meant to say “banned” instead of “band.”  Not because I am in any way laughing at the person who uses a nazi flag for their profile pic. That’s not funny.

 

I am going to be me no matter what. Even if your end game is to line up all feminists into a gas chamber, I won’t betray who I am. I am GRATEFUL to the feminists (men and women) who fought for my RIGHT to vote from 1777-1920. I will continue to express gratitude for that. Many lives were lost so that women could vote and I am grateful. If you think that I should die for that, bring it. Until then, as a sociologist and lawyer, I will use all my resources to undo the legal mess that took place between 1777-2014 as a result of REAL OPPRESSION. If you want to stop me, good luck. I don’t hate you. I’m not against human beings.

 

Come as you are.

 

come as you are

 

But don’t bring me your hate, I won’t carry that weight.

 

come as you are

 

SERIOUSLY.

 

Instead of coming onto my page and muddying up beautiful family time park pictures, explaining how I am “weak,” just keep moving along, you don’t have to bother with me.  Obviously, if I’m so “weak,” right?  What’s the point?

 

LOVE always wins.

 

XO

~Rachel

The Net Epiphany

I had an epiphany on my drive from Las Vegas to San Diego. I was upset. Husband, Mother In Law, you name it. Too upset even for music in the car, I was driving to the rhythm of my own hurt stories repeating in a loop inside my head. Then I saw it, barely, a flicker of blurry movement in the top right hand corner of my view of the clear blue sky. What is that…but I already knew. True deja vu. I actually smiled.

 

Why are you smiling?!

 

It’s not real.

 

What’s not real?

 

Anything. That flicker in the sky, you know what it means: this is a test, this whole thing, it’s all made up for you. You see, but what will you do?

 

I will tell everyone.

 

And so it began.

 

When I arrived in San Diego, I had a lot of girl talk for my dear friend, Libby, but nothing more important than what I was about to say out loud for the first time.

 

Listen to me very closely: we are slaves. I saw it in the sky, it ‘s not a glass ceiling; it’s an illusion that changes all the time so we don’t figure it out.

 

“Like a net,” Libby knew, she didn’t ask.

 

Yes it’s a net, a trap. We are stuck in it all the time, all women. The evidence is right there in our history books but we are not allowed to draw the conclusion. Decades after black men won the right to vote, women were begrudgingly included in that same right. Women went from being property to being able to own property in our law books. Our bodies are always at risk of eminent domain with the prevalence of rape and the lack of resources. Make a baby, but don’t feed it from your breast in front of us. We are slaves. Right now. We will never emancipate if we don’t know we are slaves.

 

That night Libby and I went to see a world premier play at La Jolla Playhouse, written by the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for drama. Nothing could have described the net better than this play and the reaction of the people in the audience. The misogyny was palpable. The recurring theme of the heroine’s sister submitting to a decade of anal sex in an effort to preserve her virginity and religious integrity repeatedly caused the audience to group belly laugh. I thought about jumping from the top row of the risers to the floor below so that I could escape the theatre as quickly as possible.

 

Once you see, you can’t unsee. Every single day that has gone by since discovering the net on 2-16-14, it has become more evident to me. My friend Libby suffers from the same anguish the realization has caused me, but she has used her talents to spread the word to another young woman and my heart tells me soon we will all know and be able to see.

 

I’m going to write a play of my own. About the net. About female slavery. About love. I will shine my light on this darkness until the whole world sees it and then I will continue to shine my light on it until the darkness is gone forever. This blog is my first step and I am grateful to anyone who accepts the planting of this seed.

 

XO

~Rachel

Heal your Self, heal the world

epiphany