I have a bug and a chickadee for valentines this year. My bug has a sweet heart and usually a sunny disposition. My chickadee is happy and playful. Both are curious. Both give fantastic kisses. Both fill my heart.
“Nasty woman” never sat well with me. It’s not the origination or appropriation of the phrase; it’s the fact that I don’t identify as nasty. I’m a lot of things, but nasty, even in an ironic sense, does not work for me.
What does work for me is persisting. I have persisted my entire life. In fact, I’ve defined myself by persistence. As a teenager, I was an endurance athlete. I ran the 3 mile cross-country race and the 3200 and 4×800 relay in track. I played mental games with myself to keep going to the next tree, the next curve, the next baton hand off. I played the long game to work my way into a career that I find worthwhile and fulfilling. I read difficult books, start long-term projects, and accept that the intangible goals I have for myself will take time and work to accomplish. I am stubborn. I am persistent.
I am a feminist because I believe that men and women are equal and deserve equal treatment under the law and by society. There are movements within feminism; it is a complex philosophy with champions and critics within and outside. Feminist philosophy has political, social and creative outlets. There are people who love to talk in depth about what it is and isn’t. I prefer to spend my mental energies elsewhere.
Nevertheless, I am a feminist who persists. I always have been.
A lot of life has happened since I wrote last. My immobile baby is a powerhouse crawler who turns one next month. My inquisitive son is still questioning the world and has added doing construction on pieces of leftover drywall to his long list of pastimes. My husband passed the test he studied so hard to pass. I officially took on the full time position at the museum that I wanted so badly to fill.
I cycled through a months-long bout of not being able to read outside of work, and I started to learn hand embroidery to fill those nights when I cannot read because my hands cannot be still. I have tried to learn how to be still. It’s a work in progress. I started doing basic yoga. It’s a work in progress too.
These past months have been full of life within my family, and I am mentally balancing that everyday joy with other emotions. These other emotions include fear over what our larger national conversations are becoming. I struggle to balance saying what I believe with not being baited into pointless arguments that change no one’s mind. I am trying to conquer my personal fear of not offending anyone. I called my senator for the first time ever. I’ve written postcards; I’ve sent emails. I smile at my neighbors. I remember that we are more than our politics. I remember that words matter and that there is such a thing as objective truth.
And then I mentally walk it back and play with “pludo” (Play-Doh) and crawl on the floor and get covered in open-mouth toddler kisses and endure toddler “tickles” which are really jabs in the neck. And I find balance. And I practice being still.