We Must Find The Words
Roe v. Wade is a wake-up call for us all...
How did we get here? How have we arrived at a time in our lives when we witness such a huge step back in time?
I think my grandmothers (pictured) would be livid. After all they struggled through and fought for, they must be spinning in their graves. I’m not going to go back over the details of what has happened this week, it’s plastered wall to wall on social media, news outlets, papers and conversations throughout the land. We are all appalled, and yet it still happened. We thought Handmaid’s Tale was just a work of dystopian fiction, and yet we’ve just taken a giant step closer. How is that?
I have to admit, years ago, I was pro-life, back when my thinking was still young and naïve and when I assumed the world was black and white. I have learned since that it is many more shades of grey than fifty. We are surrounded by nuances in life that lead us to make choices that, otherwise at a glance, we may not have made. Little is as it seems, and most things are far more complicated than they look from the outside.
But beyond feelings of life and abortion, what matters more here, is autonomy over our bodies, as women, to choose for ourselves. I’m not convinced that it’s been about life and babies at all. If it were, the social care, financial provision and maternal support in the early years would be far more superior than what is currently available, on both sides of the Atlantic! So opinions may vary as to how we define right and wrong, but they are, in this case, not relevant. This is an issue of women’s rights, it has been decided that women are not and should not be allowed to make this decision about, and for themselves. This is about power; let us not be so foolish as to think it will stop here.
We must find the words!
So, when we consider the ramifications of this vote, it’s easy to throw our hands in the air, say we are rendered speechless, or that we can’t believe this happened in 2022. But you know what? We cannot afford to be speechless. We cannot afford not to believe it. At a time like this, we must find the words.
I don’t believe Socrates was merely referring to self-reflection here. An unexamined life takes not only the psyche for granted, but the world around it also. To keep hunger at bay, we examine our provisions to ensure we have what we need. To keep peace in our homes, we work on and examine areas where disagreement and unrest rise. So, to protect our freedom, we must examine where it is challenged and guard it at all costs. There are many issues at bay, women’s rights, refugees, climate change, the cost of living crisis, and corruption in Westminster….take your pick!
As women, we can be guilty of feeling inadequate and keeping quiet to keep the peace or maintain the status quo. This stops now, we must not dismiss ourselves any longer. When we have something to say, it’s time to say it – and I don’t mean start complaining, I mean just say it, whatever the IT is. If it’s asking a question, or offering a service, giving a compliment or querying a mistake – don’t let insecurity or inferiority hold you back. Say IT. And then say some more!
Everything must change
Once we become used to using our voices and filling our spaces, we start to realise and believe in our own strength, rather than waiting for someone else to stand in the gap - and then we might begin to see change. We must not let fear swamp freedom. Freedom is vital for everyone, and that way, the abusive construct of power as we know it, may just begin to lose its grip. It will take time and intention, but we have to collectively stand and say that enough is enough, not just with sexual violence, but with the smaller (and easier to turn a blind eye to) offence of disregard.
Politics isn’t just for the elite or those in the know, it affects us all. Vittorio Bufacchi writes in “Everything Must Change”
If there’s one thing that Covid taught us, it’s that politics matter and that in times of crisis, political skills can make the difference between life and death.
We have stumbled into a society where the fear of offence is in danger of trumping free speech on every corner. We are slowly becoming shackled by invisible unwritten rules powered by fear. Say it. Get involved. Roll your sleeves up and find the words to speak. You matter. We matter.
And I know it’s hard to find the balance; we want to live in peace and enjoy the lives we’ve worked hard to build. But that is the very reason why we mustn’t be complacent. So in every situation where we feel overlooked, dismissed, or insignificant, we must find the words.
No more turning a blind eye, no more keeping the peace. We need to wake up to what is happening in the world around us, at all of the issues at hand, and rather than throw our hands in the air, let’s throw them to the wheel. Together we can make a difference. We must find the words.
I hope you have a great week ahead, I think we’ve got more sunshine heading our way, which always makes things feel that little bit better doesn’t it? For those of you wiping your brow now that exam season is over, I share your joy! Our kids live in a changing world, and it’s easy for them to feel overwhelmed, let’s help them find their words too! So until next time…