I graduated from high school in 2016 at the age of 17, and I was so excited to start fresh in Moscow Idaho. When I first got here, I didn’t realize how much I would be changing in just a short period of time.
When you look forward at what you believe and hope is a long life for yourself, 4 years is like “4 pages” in your 80 or so page “life” book. I find it’s easy to feel like these pages could last forever, and when it’s over it feels like they barely happened. But, these 4 years are for you. They aren’t for your parents, your boss, your future or present husband, wife, or kids. Entering at 17 means I will be exiting at 21, and I can only imagine who I will be, by then.
There are things I wish I had known when I arrived at this stage of my life, but there are some things one cannot explain. I wanted to write this post to initially help the future young women attending U of I, or any other university, because although there are lessons that must be learned, some can at least come with a warning.
I have learned a lot since beginning my stint this semester as Editor of the Women’s Center Blog. This position has put me in contact with many strong, intelligent, kind, and patient, Feminist women.
I place extra emphasis on patient.
Because, I have been on a learning curve, so to speak. I have been getting an education about Feminism and how to interact and exist in this world. I have also been proven wrong. A bunch. Consequently, I have done and said things that were offensive to my feminine colleagues and friends. Patience, on their part, has been valuable to me as I stumbled along.
I spent some time trying to muddle through things on my own. Eventually, I decided to reach out and ask some of these women for their opinions/input regarding two areas:
“What does a Feminist need from a male ally?”
“How can males help in the struggle against Rape Culture?”
These are words from a South African protest song written in the 1950’s. Throughout history individuals have been struck physically and emotionally, but society never focuses on the strength it takes these survivors to get back on their feet and become “the rock.” Survivors of sexual assault (women or men) have plenty of horror stories to tell. But, they also have a lot of inspiring, hopeful stories highlighting how one copes and comes through to the other side of these events. I am here to share some of their stories.
My mom is one of my biggest heroes. For my sisters and I, she has been one of the most amazing women to emulate growing up. She is courageous, warm hearted, intelligent, and has a presence that can brighten any room. She has one of those souls that you feel lucky to know. Our relationship has changed a lot over the years, but one thing has always held true: she has given me the support and advice that has made me into who I am today. My mom is the reason why I am a feminist, and her support is what helped me navigate womanhood.
The morning after the election, I called my mom knowing that she would know just what to say to comfort my fears for what lies ahead. Having four daughters, she knew the weight that her words would carry. She spoke calmly as she reassured me that our future is not as bleak as it seems. My mother comforted me with her promises to keep hope and to fight for what is right. She reasoned that the pendulum swings both ways, and that we may go through a period of feeling helpless, but that we will get back to working together to help protect people who are threatened. She helped me see the platform that this can be to engage in the deepest changes we need to make in our nation. My mom has always given me valuable advice on how to get by in this world. That morning she told me something that I don’t think women and girls hear enough: that I am strong.