Every Story Deserves to Be Told | #WhyIMarch
“Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story…”
The reason #WhyIMarch is intertwined with my origin story. You all know my professional origins but do you know the heart behind that struggle? The fire in my fight?
I became a fempreneur in August 2015 -- I had spent almost a decade ghostwriting the digital destinies of others while leaving mine to the feather pen of fate. It was truly only this year, after the election that rattled my world, that I decided to treat myself like a client and it has already made a huge difference in my business and life (more on that later).
I’ve been telling stories my whole life. My brother didn’t speak till he was 5 and I watched my mother step into the role of advocate for her son. It was a role she wore like an old college sweatshirt; she’s an attorney by trade. But watching her fight this way? It was inspiring. Even at 5 years only, I recognized that being a woman meant having a quiet ferocity to your strength, that fighting was something we’d always have to do.
I told his story… and by that, I mean I translated for him. I spoke for him for the first five years of his life. We created a language, something we knew intuitively to be right. I kept writing my stories, kept creating characters in the hurricane of my brain… kept reading books in my textbooks because I felt the subjects I learned in those books were infinitely more important than what my teachers had to say.
We moved a lot. All in the city of New York, but I went to 8 different elementary schools. EIGHT. I got really good at telling my story, at being the one who could spin a tale out of thin air for amusement or protection, for attention, for friends.
I went to school with people of all shapes, sizes, colors and whose parents did all sorts of different jobs. Some of my friends had grandparents and parents who were first-generation, others could count their roots all the way back to the Mayflower.
History fascinated me. Female figures in history inspired me. Men who respected women in history fueled me.
The first day my bubble burst was a cloudless day in September. I watched my beloved City burn and bleed, watched parents bury their children, watched stories burn like the paper that seemed to fly around the City for months after the devastation was cleared.
I helped the rescue workers and actually got on local TV for our fundraising drive for the dogs at Ground Zero. I didn’t realize it until years later but it was the first time I used my voice to tell the story of someone I didn’t have any connection to. To make sure that those stories survived long after the supporters, parades and memories faded away into the history books.
Proudly, triumphantly, gracefully, I voted for Barack Obama as the President of the United States. It was the first election I was able to vote, I changed my address to walk into a ballot box in Connecticut, where I was living at the time. I triple checked that government scantron more closely than I had checked any other scantron in my entire academic career.
And I watched him win, surrounded by would-be journalists who, quite literally, had the world in the palm of their hands.
I watched him place his hand on the Lincoln Bible and swear to protect us, our rights, our lives, our hopes and dreams.
I watched the moment “Yes we can” became “Yes we did.”
And then we went off, much like my new obsession “Hamilton” says, we went off and watched the afterbirth of what seemed to be a new nation. A nation that seemed a little kinder, a little more progressive, a little more open to change, to bootstrappers, to those who want to reach higher than their station and BE something.
And on Saturday, I march to tell the story of the woman who is egged because of the color of her skin. To tell the story of the immigrants who found a fierce, quiet strength to fight for their children. To the brave, so damn brave, women who risked their lives to give us the right to vote. To tell the story of any woman who has ever been abused, mistreated, underestimated.
I march to give voice to our fears, our hopes and our dreams.
We must have hope and I march to show the darkness that the light is alive and well and, mad as hell. And that we will not stop until every story is told and every, single person is given the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
If you're heading to the march, don't forget to check out their website (and donate!).