Facebook is pointedly asking me whats on my mind, as usual. A small and expected prompt on a platform I use daily. On twitter, less frequently used, but similarly followed, I am being suggested to “follow” the new president, and other political figures that both stand with him, and oppose him. I am grateful to see that I am not boxed into a “side”. I have been silencing myself during alot of the conflict and arguments that I am reading daily via social media, and have been silent, not just during this most recent US election, but during the Brexit vote, the Scottish Independence vote, and the previous US election. Out of fear of conflict. So I didn’t speak up. I didn’t use my voice. My oldest daughter had her first voting privilege during the election when Obama became president. A right I wanted her to be aware, was fought hard for her, and something that women in some countries were still fighting for up till 2015 (Saudi Arabia), and even today, women in the Vatican City cannot vote. (It is my understanding that some men cannot vote there also.) I make both of my children aware that they are from two vastly different cultures, but are incredibly lucky that both a free countries, and have wonderful diversities (usually) that many other countries do not have.
So, I have remained silent during everything Im seeing, and during times where I am seeing friends being mocked, attacked verbally by both “friends” and strangers simply for having an opinion that is different, or not popular. For my silence, I am sorry. I feel like it almost leant an opinion that I wasn’t interested, or compassionate or acknowledging. I was. I was silent when I feel slighted myself as a woman, when I hear people cry and hurting from policies and agendas that hurt them, and even though I am in agreement with those hurting, and have empathy towards pain, I am silent, because being called names hurts, because somehow this is the fault of people “like” me. My silence is deafening to me now. “People like me” is such a shallow sentence that holds no truth to what my heart actually feels. I feel my silence has people not actually KNOW who I am, so I cant be silent, I want you to know that there are many people like me, who are not like you, but who stand with you.
Yes, I am white, and Christian, and raising two blonde haired daughters, and gratefully realize these girls will never personally feel the hurt that many of my friends feel. Nor the persecution, nor have to ask permissions to do things or marry someone they love, or have trouble getting in and out of this country. Or worry what will happen during a roadside stop for speeding. I have amazing friends of colour, and different races, or mixed races, and I wont personally go through the same kind of pain and worry they do, but I KNOW how they feel. I am HURTING for them. I do NOT feel they are treated fairly, or that their lives are somehow less valuable than my own. I am aware there is much mistreatment, bullying and segregation even to this day of people who do not look like me, act like me, or believe like me. I cry with them. I know many people who are gay, some transgender, some even closer to me than other people know, and I hurt when I see them struggle, with insurance, with adoption or being made to feel unworthy, or evil. I see may injustices towards women, and their equality in this supposedly free land. There is hate and divisiveness all around me and PEOPLE LIKE ME see it. I see it, I feel it and I detest it with all of my heart.
Im Christian, like I said. This faith has helped me get through some of the roughest pain and times in my life, and given me hope when I had none. I am Christian, yet most of my family are not. Many of my friends are not. Yet I do not hold those differences in faith in any way against who they are or how much they mean to me, or how I love them. There are many assumptions of what being Christian must mean I am, but I do not think you truly know my heart then, if you feel that being who I AM, means I despise certain people, or groups, that I am intolerant, ignorant, against your rights and freedoms, “holier than thou” in my actions or deeds. That Im submissive and backwards and against the feminist marches or “liberals”, and perhaps even marching against some of you myself, in protest and/or calling you “sinners”. THAT IS NOT ME. It DOES mean that I am struggling, learning, open minded and tolerant. That I am TRYING to understand, and support you where I can. I am growing, and still have room to grow. I am open to listening to you also. It means reaching out, it means helping, it means doing the right thing, it means loving all others like I am loved. The God I know is the example of loving. Loving and just, and spent time with people NOT like Him, not the perfect people, not only the Christians, not the wealthy, not the able bodied, not the religious only, not the people you think Jesus should have spent time with. Jesus died for ALL of us, even the ones you don’t like, even the ones I don’t like, even the ones who DO NOT LIKE ME. One of my favourite quotes from the bible is found in 1 Peter, 4:8-9 ~ “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
I cant think of a BETTER passage to lean on, especially with all of the immigration and refugee fear that is casting so much HATE and un-acceptance into this world.
I am an immigrant. I came over legally from Scotland, in my twenties, not as a refugee, not seeking asylum, but as a married women and young mum, doing what I had to do for my new family. 14 years after that day, I got divorced and I stayed. Labeled a “legal alien” with a green card because I paid taxes, worked hard, and raised my family dutifully as a military spouse, yet I understandably kept immense love and devotion for my birth land. Sadly I have not had the chance to return home to Scotland, and am homesick every day. Many things have changed since I last lived there, many things have changed here. I have changed too! I am not naive to that. Both are home, yet in many ways I feel like an outcast in both. I have since lost my ability to vote overseas absentee, and as a non-citizen here, cannot yet vote. Now I am at the point where either renewing my passport is my choice, or applying for citizenship. I love America, I love the United Kingdom. I am unpopular Im sure amongst many when I say I love the monarchy. I love the history of my country of birth. I cherish every square sausage eating inch of my Scottish life. Clearly there is much more to my amazing country than a different shaped sausage, and I was very lucky to grow up into womanhood in a place so culture filled and diverse, where women stood out as leaders despite odds, and successfully ruled and even had entire eras named after them. Ive seen castles and heather covered hills, beautiful fog covered lochs and even glimpsed Nessie. (Aye, I have 🙂 ), and yet I am also very lucky to be living in America, where I started a business and see beautiful landscapes, and have lived on the Hawaiian islands and visited the Alamo, and Tombstone, The White House, and seen the beauty of the desert, and the great lakes. I believe this world came ALIVE with immigrants, and the beauty of the lands, and the arts, and the inventions we take for granted, and the families we have or know or are inspired by are all due to acceptance, inclusion, welcoming hands and friendships. Not divisiveness, prejudice, hate or disrespect.
I am so lucky to have been inspired my whole life by women, wether we love them or not, I have grown up seeing and hearing about inspiring go-getters who overcame odds and challenges and made HUGE differences that would have seriously changed the world negatively had they not been the fierce and bold women they were. Women in the past like Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, Florence Nightingale, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Mirabai, Sojourner Truth, Jackie Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt and more. I grew up seeing Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth II, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Hodgekin, Indira Gandhi, Laura Bush, Oprah, J.K. Rowling, Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Malala Yousafzai, Ivanka Trump, Cindy McCain and MORE continue those types of legacies. All of these ladies, fearless and unique, are women and leaders who make me want to raise women just like them. Yet, now the rights of my daughters, concerning their heath and choices, and the ability to be paid for their greatness, are potentially under attack, and just because I, and PEOPLE LIKE ME, have traditional values in how I treat people, and want men to treat me, does NOT mean I stand against the empowerment of my daughters, myself, my female friends or the millions of women I do not know but have a heart filled with hope for.
I even, have hope for the president. Why? I choose to. In no way do I endorse either of the final two candidates wholeheartedly, however I am a believer in hope. I stand for hope. I stand for the power of prayer. I stand for the ability to get up and make a difference. I stand for the rights to grow, and be forgiven. I stand for our differences and our similarities, and I stand with YOU, reading this, even if you stand against me. I stand for the men and women around the world giving up their daily lives FIGHTING AND DYING for us to continue to have these beautiful people in our past, our midst now, and our future. Even if those future leaders are, like my own 15 and 22 year olds, are currently struggling over crushes, studying, eyebrow perfection and what to wear, and where to go with their lives, and how to have a voice themselves. I do all of this, not as silently any more, because I do NOT want to lose the voice I have, the passion I contain, and the love I want to give to others. Therefore I chose to hope for the new leader too. I do not take freedom and personal liberties for granted in ANY way, nor do I ever, or have I ever, thought that MY rights and desires were more important than yours, you who are not JUST LIKE ME. I care about you for YOU. Exactly because you are different from me. That is who I am, that is how I am raising my girls, and that is what my heart and God and plain old (well, not THAT old) conscience tells me to do. We are ALL destined for greatness, and I feel it has to be done holding hands and raising awareness and increasing tolerance and acceptance, and reaching out to our neighbours, even when we are different. Even when we are scared. Even when we face opposition.
Posting this may see me have backlash and a few less friendships, or it may make me seem silly and “rant” like. I may find myself with comments that are hurtful or negative. Im okay with whatever happens with this post, because I am fearlessly going to be myself, and wether I will now stand alone or surrounded, will always want to fight and SHOUT about fairness, peace, love, God, joy, hope and acceptance.