“being oppressed means the absence of choice.” – bell hooks
the title of this was going to be “surviving a tr**p era” but i’m done saying his name. i have recognized the power in my voice and i am done feeding my power into his name. i found a very dictionary definition of patriarchy and it simply is: a system of society and government in which men hold the power and women are excluded from it. you could even add "women and people who are considered the minority are excluded from." although there has been a rise in women and people of color across the board within government positions and positions where the "minority" were once before not welcome, patriarchy is like a metastasizing cancer; it is still very much present and very much alive. we are living and existing in a “new era.” america has proven to us that it has no intentions of laying this ugly monster to rest rather they pumped this monster with steroids of power and elected him as our 45th president.
my husband, my mother, my 15-year-old sister and i attended the women’s march on denver today. if i’m being honest, i wasn’t going to attend. i continued finding excuse after excuse to not attend. at midnight, we made a decision to go. i am so happy that we did. the energy in that space was overwhelmingly inspiring. we chanted in unison. we walked in unison. we smiled. we laughed. it was incredible. it was necessary to be surrounded by this energy of hope and promise and love after feeling incredibly disappointed from the results of the election and the inauguration.
the question then becomes: how do we survive within an era, rather, in a society where this monster will not die?
1. use your voice
allow your prescribed silence to be loud. allow your voice to break out. allow your voice to roar. allow your voice to scream. give your voice permission to be free. i believe in the power of our voices. and our voices together? talk about really shaking up the universe and truly awakening worlds. it has been within the last year or so that i even realized the power in my own voice. being raised in such a patriarchal household, a learned behavior becomes losing the grasp of your voice. the journey later becomes trying to find it again. i’ve found it and i don’t plan on ever letting it go.
2. lean on your support.
your sister friends. your legal lovers. your partners. your gentleman friends. your family. lean on them. use them and allow them to use you. i was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the friend zone, and they had an episode about being used and if being used is a good thing. there are times when it can be awful and when you can be completely taken advantage of as a result. but, this is different. allow people to use you, and use them, as a shoulder to lean on, as someone to cry with, to create with, to band together and get through this “era” together. use them and be used.
i have never been vocal about this but i used to be… i don’t want to say ashamed but the negative perceptions and projections that people had about black people, well, i used to be… ashamed may be the word that i have to use. i was never ashamed about being black but i was ashamed that we could never seem to “get it together.” i ignored issues of race and sexism for as long as i could. it was not until my experience at the university of colorado, boulder as an undergraduate and the last couple of years working and being a part of a predominantly white work culture that i began to truly value my position as a black woman in america and in the world. it was not until the last couple of years that i had to understand and talk about and write about black masculinity and feminism and black love and mental health issues within the black community and the criminal justice system and its impact on our communities. it was not until the last few years that i began to value and truly appreciate black culture, my black culture, our black culture. therefore, i vow to always and in all ways show up unapologetically as myself: a woman of color.
4. read. listen. stay woke.
we have to keep reading and paying attention to what is happening around us. we cannot be blind to what our experience in this society is going to be. we have to “stay woke.” we have to. there are amazing books being published and phenomenal music being produced and articles being released that can and will help us through this “era.” a few of my favorites, as far as blogs and podcasts go are:
- the read
- the root
***please share any blogs and podcasts that you love and that help you through these times.
quick announcement alert! i will be posting a book list in conjunction with my husband creating a music playlist! i will be posting them on my blog every month. we are super excited about keeping you guys in the loop with feel good music and feel good reads.
5. never give up.
it will be hard. there will be days when fighting and using your voice will not feel like it’s worth it. there will be days when it doesn’t seem like it’s enough. remember: what you’re doing is enough. even the smallest change can have the biggest impact. in those moments when you are ready to give up, lean on your support and your resources. and, always remember, you are not alone. that is what i was reminded of today at the women’s march and seeing people march around the country: we are not alone in this fight and we should never feel like we are or that we have to be alone.
we are stronger together. today, i was reminded of that.
“we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.” – angela davis
- anisah amat
photos: roderick henderson