I can still feel myself buzzing from the success of the play that I helped to put on. (More on that soon, promise!) I want to take that show and blow it up, make it bigger and better and do it again and again until I have reached out to so, so many more people.
I want to work with Rape Crisis Centers and find some way to educate men and women to the point where we all understand what rape is and how we can avoid it. (The only answer? Rapists need to stop raping.)
I want to be a sex therapist, I want to help women and men who struggle to accept their bodies and let themselves feel good.
I want to do family counseling, specifically I want to help families to accept their children, or siblings, or cousins, or partners who are different from them (maybe even queer, if you will, in some way.)
I want to work with eating disorder survivors, helping to broaden the definition of eating disorders to something that comfortable fits the experiences of everyone who suffers, and then find a way to end that suffering for them once and for all.
I want to work for a suicide prevention hotline.
I want to write novels for young teen girls that encourage them to be smart and bold and to love themselves just as they are while they never, never stop reaching for their impossible dreams.
I want to be an options counselor for Planned Parenthood and give women the information that will empower them to make a decision for themselves and their bodies.
I want to be a mother one day but I don’t want to stop helping people and doing the things I love, not for one second.
I want to be a teacher, maybe college or even middle school; English because I want to give people the writing skills to own their voice and get it out there.
I want to blog through my whole life.
I want power – enough power that I will have the opportunity to lift people up, and help others to thrive.
I want respect.
I want people to love me, to feel safe talking to me about anything and everything.
I want to take the whole world and wrap it up in a hug. I want that to seem more realistic than cheesy (we can’t always get what we want.)
I want and I want and I want… and the more I want, it seems, the more I get.
This is my love letter to feminism because this is what feminism has given me. Starting with my lucky break, stumbling into the Women’s Center at my college last year, I feel as if feminism, and all of the feminists that surround me, have scooped me up into their collective arms and opened my eyes over and over and over to all of the opportunities that surround me.
It seems so strange to think now that there was a time when I (president of my college’s Feminists United and avid feminist blogger) didn’t identify myself as a feminist; and yet, there was… and it wasn’t so long ago. I came to college, just last year, a completely different woman. A woman with a feminist partner, who did not feel as if feminism was necessary. I was loud, as I still am, and opinionated.
I believed that legalizing equal marriage was just common sense, and that women deserved equal opportunities in politics, the business world, everywhere. I believed that sex education should be readily available, as should safe and legal contraceptives and abortions. I believed that women and men should be free to express their sexuality, without being shamed, in whatever context that they saw fit; and that rape and sexual assault should always, always be taken seriously. I believed all of this and yet, I refused to call myself a feminist… until the day I met other feminist women and men, who welcomed me in and did not shame me for refusing the title. Instead, the educated me; talked with me; guided me towards the day where I could embrace my feminism.
I came to this place an apologetic, awkward girl who could only dream big quietly, in her own mind. I plan to leave here with fireworks following in my wake (metaphorically, of course) never apologizing for being me, voicing my opinion, taking up space… always growing, always learning, but never ever regretting who I am. But before that, in this in-between stretch of years that I have to learn and grow and discover myself, I will embrace every experience that comes my way, bounding forward with the energy and power and drive that I have found in my feminism.
I have a long way to go. I have a long way I’ve come. I have no reason to believe that I can’t achieve everything on that list above… or none of them, who knows? I don’t. All I know is this: feminism has given me the power to change the world, to change myself, for the better. Thank you hardly seems like enough.
[On a related note, I suggest you read this post on choice feminism. I pretty much sat in front of my computer, nodding my head enthusiastically in agreement the whole time… this is an example of my kind of feminism – one that makes room for everyone to live the life they dream of!]