A Broken Promise

Around the time of the U.S. November 2012 election, congressional districts were rezoned. When I voted, it was for the congressman who had been my representative for as long as I could remember – and who seemed to do a decent job of representing my views and interests in the House.

But now I am being “represented” in the legislative branch of the federal government by a man I never voted for and didn’t have the opportunity to vote against. Last year, he was one of the people who blocked the Violence Against Women Act from being reauthorized for the first time since it passed in 1994. I’ve already written him an email expressing my disappointment that the bill isn’t even on the House agenda (two days after it passed 78-22 in the Senate) and urging him to support it.

Find and send an email to your Representative in the House.
AND/OR
Sign a petition urging House Republicans to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.

I was overjoyed when I saw that one of today’s One Billion Rising events – scheduled for a time when I could make it! – was a protest outside my representative’s local office (a 45 minute drive – not bad). I RSVPed and was planning to go! I would add my voice – my actual voice, not just an email – to the demand that my representative co-sponsor and vote for the Violence Against Women Act. I might even help influence a powerful politician who doesn’t already agree with me!

But then my intestines revolted. I’ve gotten used to my bowel movements being loose, often even watery (the thought occurs that perhaps I should get that checked out, it’s been going on for a while. oh joys, another doctor visit! my insurance is going to hate me …) But I was surprised and overwhelmed by the intense fatigue I felt. It was close to the time I needed to leave to get to the protest on time, but I just had to lie down.

By the time I awoke, it was far too late for me to get to the protest on time. I might have been able to get there late, but I wasn’t sure how much I would have missed or whether being late would outright prevent me from participating. I was concerned about being arrested and/or injured. I still had homework hanging over my head, and felt guilty about the fact that I’ve been procrastinating – some things for a couple of days, others for weeks. Once I started doing some of my homework, I felt the anxiety melt away …

So, I was going to Rise, but I broke my promise. Was it legitimately because of a physical health constraint/need? Or was it because of anxiety? Is the latter any less of a legitimate reason? I certainly didn’t break my promise because I don’t care – I care about this issue very strongly. Still, I feel like a hypocrite when I speak out about these things, trying to encourage others to participate, then back out of participating myself at the last minute. It’s become a bad habit, to be honest.

I feel constrained, limited. powerless.

worthless …

I think the thing keeping me from Rising is my anxiety, my insecurity. I could overcome the physical symptoms if I really wanted to. But the emotional? If I worked really hard, I could probably overcome them too. Maybe I need to push myself more. I could have found out more information about the event, so I would have had a better idea of what to expect; that would have eased some of the anxiety.

And maybe I also need to be a little more forgiving of myself. In this case, there are other ways to Rise that don’t require one to be physically present in a particular location. The One Billion Rising website offers ways to participate online, for people who can’t join the physical/in-person events for some reason. I can utilize them.

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Love for Women Everywhere

This is an ode
To women around the world
Who have chosen this day
To Rise

My sisters who refuse to be seen and treated
As a commodity
Who demand that their rights
To their own bodies
Be Respected

Who have suffered abuse
Raped, beaten
Underpaid, hidden away
Their sexuality and their lives
Taken

NO MORE!!!

This is an ode
To the Women who Rise
And those who are afraid to

Women bound by the chains
Of mental illness:
Depression, anxiety, eating disorders
Borderline personality disorder, codependency, substance abuse
And too many others to name

Women forced into the sex trade
Constrained to motherhood
Kept out of the public sphere
Their voices silenced

NO MORE!!!

This is an ode
To the Women who Rise
And the men who stand with them

Love for women is not
Chocolate, roses, romance
Respect is not a pedestal
Or poetry

Love for women is Rising
Against violence
Hypersexualization
Devaluation
Forced conformity

Love for women is having courage and strength
To question society
And talk about the things
That scare us into complacency

NO MORE!!!

This is an ode
To Women Around the World
Those who Rise
Those too afraid to
And the men who stand with them

onebillionrising.org

in response to today’s prompt from The Daily Post:

It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!