This world we live in feels a little different today. I woke up in a terrible mood and didn’t want to get out of bed. Twitter brought on a mini rage stroke, so I deleted the app and decided to take some time to pull myself together. Knowing that doing something makes me feel better than doing nothing, I came into work in my pajamas. A small protest against business as usual, I suppose.
As I drove to the office, I thought about the 30+ years I’ve spent alongside my female counterparts. On a day where the future seems unsettlingly ambiguous, my fear has given way beneath an unshakable hope– a hope reminiscent of what I felt on this day eight years ago. This hope exists; It’s right here, between you and me, a light sparked by a common ground that unites our different interests, backgrounds, experiences, religion and political party. Our experiences as women– as human beings, no matter how different or similar, unite us. It is no longer about our paving our own way and fighting for the life we want. We know the stronger our relationships are with one another, the better our chances for success.
When you start paying attention, you’ll notice how many cultural touchpoints are rooted in women vs. women dialogue. Telling each other they’re not marriage material, or that being married makes them more qualified for a job. We think it’s in our best interest to tell each other what not to wear, what not to watch, and how we should behave. I’m tired of women looking down on each other because they’re into pop culture or they want to stay home with their kids. I’m equally intolerant of the shade thrown at “coastal elitism.” I’m tired of the slut-shaming and the name calling and the backhanded compliments we throw at one another because it makes us feel better about ourselves. I’ve been here. I did these things. They only made my problems worse. I see this moment as a time when this dialogue changes.
2016 reminded me how influential blind distrust can be. When our collective experiences begin to narrow and the truth is debatable, it is up to each of us to not let intolerance for hate fall to rhetoric and complacency. As the owner of a website with a large female readership, I have the responsibility to promise you a safe space to examine our differences free from scrutiny. Should we encounter a comment that threatens this dialogue (not to be confused with presenting a counter argument or healthy debate), I will remove it without notification or response. This rule applies to not only my own writing, but to our contributors.
Activism will take many forms in the coming years ahead, and while small acts of kindness and empathy may seem weak in the wake of such monumental threats, they change people. And if they change people, then they can change a community. We can do more united than one man or a government. You get the idea.
So, my friends. It is a new era, but it is far from the end of hope and change. It’s the beginning of a time when our individual actions matter more than ever before. Only so many of these posts can be written before they become tired and their words less powerful. Let our action reflect the change we want to see in the world. One small connection at a time.
BY Kate Arends - January 20, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.