If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that over the 40 days of Lent, rather than giving something up as a mode of fasting, my friend Jess and I came up with the idea to spend our 40 Days of reflection sharing things that encourage and inspire us, people we love, art, music… Just all around good things. The thought we had behind this was to take this time that’s set aside to get back into focus with what’s important to us, so that we can let the old Us die, and be reborn into the people we’re meant to be.
For a lot of people (including myself), Lent is a religious devotion. Most of the time, I identify myself as a Christian. I’m not currently involved with a church community, but I have surrounded myself with people (of faith, and not) who challenge me, and facilitate and encourage my growth. People who sacrifice their time and energy in order to cultivate our friendship, which as you know if you’ve been following the blog for a while, is probably one of the most important things to me. I have also been blessed with a family that is on my side. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve been able to hold onto my faith throughout the last few years, in spite of a great deal of tension that I feel on a daily basis.
There is so much terrible, horrible, unthinkable, awful stuff in this world. It’s so much. As a person of faith and someone who feels very deeply, I feel so heavy under the need to make a change for the better, and so helpless in the pursuit of making a difference. And unfortunately, much of my personal convictions don’t align with the standard Church viewpoints; and when I say much, I mean pretty much all of them. It’s hard for me to feel comfortable identifying myself with a group that is so out of sync with how I feel about so many things. This was one of the reasons that I really couldn’t settle on anything that I wanted to “give up” for Lent. Nothing felt “right” or “real” enough. My mum has always encouraged me to focus on the positive and being grateful; with so many bad things happening, why not try to alleviate it, even if only a little.
And so, 40 Days of Good and Gratitude was born.
I’ve had the most bollocks case of writer’s block lately. So, I’ve felt really sad about not having posted in a while.
Also, I do have to point out that I got this post title from VeggieTales. So ten points for Emma for nostalgia.
Today, I’m grateful. Why? Because it’s International Women’s Day.
I am so thankful for how far we have come; and so hopeful about the journey yet to be. The world is scary right now… Really scary. And I’m so grateful that I live here in Canada, where my daily struggles as a woman could be comparatively described as more manageable. I have a place to sleep. Clean, easily accessible water. (Mostly) easily accessible menstrual supplies. Easily accessible education and (mostly) easily accessible healthcare. Warm clothes. Freedom to express my faith; and freedom to not express it. Freedom of protest. Loving and protective parents. I have multiple terminals through which I can easily access the Internet. The luxury of starting arguments with strangers over the internet. You know, the essentials… and it’s by no means an exhaustive list of the freedoms I enjoy here in the True North Strong and (Mostly) Free.
As I’ve grown up and become a more respectable and *~*~*~*woke*~*~*~* individual, I’ve been able to have a look at that extensive and not exhaustive list of privileges, and realize that I AM PRIVILEGED. I am White. I am a Cis Girl. I identify as Straight. I am (mostly) Able Bodied. I am Educated. I am a person of Christian faith.
Say it with me kids – White Privilege Exists; White Supremacy Exists; anti-POC rhetoric is not uncommon in daily conversation; anti-Islam rhetoric is not uncommon in daily conversation. And don’t even get me started on internalized misogyny and trans misogyny, and the exclusion/silencing of queer and disabled and WOC voices when it comes to protest and discourse. Ableism is a sneaky one, but ever present just like the others. Every day is rank with the nastiness of this kind of garbage. And sometimes (i.e. often) we as privileged people contribute to the flaming trash heap.
Being a woman is rough. The risks are high, and the dismissiveness is real. Every time I think to myself, “Wow! Things are really starting to change for the better! It’s not so terrible to be a girl as it was yesterday!”, something awful happens and I’m left sitting in a puddle of questions, staring at myself in the mirror like, “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!?!?”. And let me tell you, the answer is not always a comfortable one to hear. It’s never comfortable to hear that you’ve been racist or transphobic; and no one comes out of the womb perfectly unproblematic… We just don’t. What we can and must do, is listen and grow.
Advancement for White Feminism is not an advancement for women. Benefits for only White Women, that’s not a win. ScarJo being cast as the lead in the live-action film adaptation of Ghost in the Shell is not a win. Ignoring feminist issues that don’t necessarily apply to you personally, is detrimental to the cause. If an issue affects a woman, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects a Muslim woman, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects a woman on the ASD Spectrum, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects a Black woman, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects a trans woman, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects anyone, as a result of misogyny, its a feminist issue. If an issue affects ANY KIND OF WOMAN, its a feminist issue. It’s gotta be intersectional, or its crap. Feminism that excludes any type of woman is not appropriate if we are going to grow together. We don’t win, unless we all do.
I’m so thankful that I have the privilege to be able to post this without fear of persecution. And it’s only so, because women who came before me fought for it.
Okay, so this is a little late. The last few weeks have been a lot. I’ll be on a more regular posting schedule, soon!
All of that being said, I would love to have anyone who wants to participate, join myself and Jessica in the 40 Days of Good and Gratitude. I think it’s time we all brought a little bit of the good in ourselves out into the world.
Tag any of your posts with #40DGG and #40DaysofGoodandGratitude, or #the20somethingblog, so that we can share the love.
What good do you have to give? Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter/Instagram with the tags!
Love (and Gratitude) Always,