I am a Feminist

It may come as a surprise to you. I am a twenty-something, single, short-haired, bold, and independent female, and yes, I am a feminist. I am studying worship arts/theology and toy with the idea of going to seminary someday. I am a leader within my community both at school and at church. I care deeply about the people I encounter, or at least I try to. I struggle with my self-worth and body-image just like any other twenty-something woman does. I have my own fair share of doubts. I have so many questions about myself, others, and the world. And I am a feminist.

I am a feminist because when I was sixteen, one of my peers in high school thought it was appropriate to grab my inner thigh without my consent and whisper inappropriate song lyrics in my ear.

I am a feminist because when I was in a media class with all boys, the teacher had different standards for me and my abilities because I was a female.

I am a feminist because when I chose to donate eight inches of my hair, people I was once close with told others the real reason why I cut my hair was because I was a lesbian.

I am a feminist because Mother’s Day of 2013, several members of my home church didn’t attend the service because the guest preacher was a woman.

I am a feminist because when I worked at a TV station in St. Paul, I had to work ridiculously hard to show the young female students that their stories were just as important as their male classmates’.

I am a feminist because when my ex-boyfriend put threats on the internet, people asked me what I had been saying to him instead of confronting him on what he was doing.

I am a feminist because after a dear friend of mine was raped, people would say to me “Well, I’ve seen the clothes she wears, so she led him on.”

I am a feminist because when I told a friend I might want to become a pastor someday, she responded “You could just marry someone who wants to be a pastor. That’s pretty much the same thing.”

I am a feminist, and I do not hate men.

I am a feminist, and I support women who choose to stay at home to support their families.

I am a feminist, and I support men who choose to stay at home to support their families.

I am a feminist, and I am not without my faults. I can’t love people perfectly. I don’t always act according to my beliefs. I can still be judgmental, sexist, rude, and hateful. “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” I know that I am in the wrong when I act this way.

It is my hope, my prayer, and my dream that someday I won’t have to explain why I’m a feminist. That someday, my daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters will be respected for who they are. Their passions, hobbies, hopes and dreams will be respected and deemed credible because it is what they care about . . . that they won’t be restricted to what they can and can’t do just because they are a woman. I hope that someday the word “feminism” won’t be necessary because it will already be understood and implemented into society.

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Dear October (Part II)

Dear October,

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we last saw each other; last time I wrote you, you were making your exchange with November, and we said our goodbyes. But now here we are, once again, reunited with stories to tell.

I’m sure I look very much the same and very much different. I’m the same me that you remember. Here I am, once again, on my back patio at home drinking coffee and reading Donald Miller listening to Vance Joy and Ed Sheeran . . . a predictable move, I’m sure. I still have that short, choppy, haircut. And yes, I’m still behind in my reading – I’m getting better, but I don’t think I’ll ever be “up-to-date” with my assignments.

But things are quite different since we last talked. When your sister May melted the last drop of winter and completed the transaction that launched us into summer, she took several other things with her besides the snow and ice. Many of the people we knew and loved together last year are living and loving in different places now. Some of the stories are sad, yes, but most of them are just a case of time moving forward. We stopped having movie nights every Friday, they moved to new places, they went abroad for a few months. None of them are bad; it’s just how life happens. Our stories changed us into different and better people; we’re still doing good things, just not together anymore.

If you remember, October, I used to look at you with disgust. Your arrival meant the soon, sharp coming of your harsh and icy siblings November, December, January and February (who I am still trying my very best to be kind and show love to.) You coming back to town meant it gets darker sooner, I need to start wearing socks again, and I need to start coordinating my outfits with my coats (which I inevitably give up on.)

But, my dear October, I think you’ve taught me more about renewal than Spring ever has. You’ve taught me that it’s healthy to shake off the things in your life that weigh you down. When everything around you is brown, turning a bright color like red or yellow brings hope to those around you. And maybe you make it colder and darker because you want to remind us that it’s okay to curl up and rest.

After being re-introduced for the twenty-first time, you seem less like a distant relation and more like an old friend. I can’t wait to see how you change the leaves, the air, and my story this year. The changing of the seasons reminds me that I , too, must keep changing.

Welcome, October. I’m glad you’re here.

Sincerely,
Marta Ann

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