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.
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.
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.