I start off by saying that I am okay. I am fine. But I know many people who are not fine today, and so, I take my space and use my words to speak to this. Because it's important that I do.
I am emotionally drained from a situation I have watched unfold from pretty close to the front lines - one that impacted someone I care about very much - many someones, in fact - and because of that I felt a need to address others who might be feeling the same way that I do. That I have.
I am so so tired. In the small window of a few days so much has happened in the world I surround myself in, and I, me, a white woman who is not truly 100% impacted by what has happened? I am tired.
But this is not about me. Not in many many ways. But when you're a mom and a woman and a volunteer, and you see so much happening around you and you want to take a stand and support the women you love, and your heart is torn in two different directions and you don't know what to say or do? You hurt. You hurt for those you love. And for those who you may not even know.
So, while I've already said my peace to the people who I believe need to hear it, I also want to say something to the rest of you. The ones who weren't fully impacted by what was said. You. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to feel hurt. You are allowed to feel torn. And you don't have to make an immediate decision on what you're going to do if you're simply unsure of what you want to do. You can ask questions. You can hold people accountable. You can raise your voices without walking away. But should you decide to walk away? Your voice is still important. Your work is still important.
Postpartum mental health support is not monopolized by any organization. Resources do not come from one place. When I have a mom ask for help? I direct her to several places. I say so so many things. And I use my own experiences, along with the people I think will be incredible supports for the mom in need. You can do this, too. YOU can do the same. You can BE the resource these women need. You do not have to rely on one organization to do so.
That said, should you decide to stay, to stick around, to support the cause through the organization you find yourself questioning? SPEAK UP. Say what needs to be said. Request, as it were, receipts.
And if you want to leave? Walk away? Do it. Do not worry about the bridges you think you are burning. Do not worry about the steps you are taking and the ones you have taken. Do not worry that you won't find a place where you fit in the way you do, thought you did - because you will. The women you have met and meshed with and connected with? You will not lose these women. You. Will. Not. These women love you for being you. It is wonderful that an organization has brought you together. But what an organization brings together, let no one person, place or thing come between.
Friendship is important.
As a white woman I stand with women across the cultural rainbow. So cheesy sounding, I know. So white. Sure. But I am, so, yeah.
More often than not? I stand with ALL women. Whether they look like me, sound like me, believe like I do. Whether they observe the same holidays I do, whether they love the same kinds of people I do. I stand with them. No matter what they look like, whether their hair is the same as mine, or completely different. Whether they wear cultural attire on the regular, whether their heritage matches mine or not.
I stand with mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters, cousins, friends.
And as a white woman I find it important to express that I stand with women of color. I take a stand and stand with them and beside them and for them. And so, for me, I watch this unfold and it is the women of color on my list of friends I worry about most.
That they should have to feel that it is only their sisters in color that support them? No.
That they should sit quietly by as microaggressions repeatedly get tossed their way? No.
That they should feel that we are not listening? Not hearing? Not learning? No. No. No.
And so, for me, when I see apologies come way too late, and when I hear more from women who have been hurt and are aching? No. That's what I sit here and think. I think. No.
And when I see repeated behaviors, and a lack of learning? I think no again.
And when more is shared, things I don't know about? I stand with my sisters of color, because it is not my place to question what it is they have experienced. It is not yours, either. It is our place to listen. To believe. To support.
Today I took a break from the online world to go sell Girl Scout cookies with my daughter's troop. And it got me thinking. About the oath our girls take pretty much every meeting. Or - fine - it should be every meeting - and sometimes we lose track of that, okay? But still.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do.
respect myself and others,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.
So. What do you see here?
The most important lines that jump out at me:
*Be a sister to every Girl Scout.*
*I will do my best to be responsible for what I say and do.*
I end this here. As I'm tired. And I want to go to sleep early tonight and wake up refreshed and ready to do so much work. And if you need me? You - over there - crying yourself to sleep. Or you, on the sidelines, confused, hurt, angry, sad? Or you, my friend, my sister in arms - I am here for you.
I stand with all women. But when there are the women who lack the core values of a Girl Scout. The ones who don't take responsibility for their actions or their statements? The ones who don't stand beside me with and for all women, too? You. I don't quite stand for you. I can't.
So I ask you. Any of you who are confused. Any of you who feel overwhelmed and unsure. Any of you who may have hurt others without intent to do so, and yet have not acknowledged the hurt that took place. Stand. Stand and admit you have questions. Stand and admit your mistakes. Stand.
And then I will stand for you, too.