I went to the Women’s March on Seattle, with my nine and a half year old daughter. I marched because I want her to look back and remember being a part of the history this country is laying down, right now. Freedom of speech matters. Democracy matters. How we choose to live, as a family, with intention toward others, the animals, the earth, and ourselves, matters. Kindness matters, to me, and so does fighting for what I believe in, efficiently and effectively.
About two hours after the march, my daughter looked at me, smiled, and said, “Mom? Isn’t it cool that all those people showed up to support women?” I said, “Yes, it is really cool.” Inside, I managed my unrest. I focused, with intention, on the beauty of the day. I knew there would be detractors. Nothing is ever done right or well enough for everyone, and that is a bit of our problem, isn’t it? We cannot appreciate things not for us. But nothing will take that precious bit of time away from me, where I was bathed in the freedom of speech and expression, and the kindness of so many strangers.
On the bus ride home, I wrote this next part. It’s been sitting on my heart for a long time, protected. There’s no good time to release it, because the turmoil of the ages will rip apart what it needs to, to survive. It is the nature of people with a horrid history, though I haven’t yet met a people without a horrid history. Today, I am setting it free. Have your way with it, for I have no time to prove myself. There is work to do, and I am doing my part.
I do not have time for your judgment. If I wait for your approval, we will fail, while I try to hurdle the castigation of: Tanya, but you are too opinionated, too serious, not radical enough, too moderate, too peace-loving, too insincere, too harsh, too embracing, too soft, too hysterical, too abrupt, too self-absorbed, too feminist, too fanatical, you are a great ally, you are a weak ally. My God, I tell you, I have no time.
I have time to listen, to strive to understand, and to keep myself distinct and separate from, and yet adjacent to you. I have time to honor our differences, hear you, and complement your strategies. I have time to disregard your assumptions, and yet keep working to support you, as I have precious little time to correct them. I am not you. You are not me. Remove your hand from my mouth, it is making me gag.
Together, with my story in your hands, and your story in mine, and with a clear understanding that we are working together, we will lean into the circle of all who’ve gathered here. We will collect concerns, priorities, and assets; we will inventory our tools. We will find out, together, what we need, that we do not already have, and find solutions. I have time for that.
There is no cookie cutter ally. I am here to get things done, inoculate my kids into this resistance, and to serve. Unless you think you can do it alone, stop telling me to quit before we’ve even started. In the end, the story will be written, regardless of the time we waste, and by then, your judgments and assumptions won’t really have mattered much anyway. I’m here. I’m listening. I’m always learning, and I’m raising my kids to understand that they, too, someday, will have to know how to stand secure in their ability to get shit done, despite their detractors.