If you're an activist and at all like me, you probably get tired sometimes. Not tired of being an activist, but tired of how far behind the world seems to be at times. It can be painful to realize how much further we must go and how much work we have to do until all women are treated as persons. It is exhausting to hear people vehemently supporting hatred and violence against women. At times I am tormented by the thought of these people; how can anyone be like that? How can anyone do this? I'm going to be honest; it hurts me.
For much of my life I have been a musician first and foremost. I never thought I could be as or more passionate about anything else until I found pro-choice activism. When I found activism, I found my home. I found my place in this world. Activism, however, is not easy. Being an activist means being very closely involved in what is wrong in this world. Otherwise, we wouldn't change anything. Being involved in all that is nasty, unequal, wrong, screwed up, and depressing is not always fun. It can make you uneasy and, for some, it may be damaging. Still, even in all of this, activism is beautiful. In all of its imperfections, pain, and sometimes even hopelessness, there is something inside of me that is telling me that I am doing the right thing, that I can make a difference. Even though activism is not and never will be easy, I will not die without having done something in this world. I refuse to.
Activism requires a good deal of sacrifice. It means standing up for all people, instead of just your own. It means recognizing the fact that you have privilege and, instead of trampling over those who have less privilege, uplifting their voices. It means being a bit of a rebel and thinking of someone other than yourself. If it were all about me, I'd give up all of my human and animal rights activism right now. After all, if it's all about me, why expend so much energy on this? Why go through these phases of despondency and hopelessness? Why even bother? If it were all about me, I'd give up the pro-choice movement right this second and become an anti-choicer. That way, I wouldn't have to worry about anyone who I might be hurting. I wouldn't have to worry about inadvertently trampling over those who are less privileged than I. I wouldn't have to worry about human rights or animal rights or anyone's rights except for the all mighty white cis men's rights, and hey, that's easy because they already rule the whole damn world. All I would ever have to worry about was power and how to get more of it. That is exactly what I will do if I decide that the whole world is about me.
The thing is, I know it's not all about me. I am just one person among billions; if I died right now the world wouldn't even bat an eyelash. I refuse to make the time I have all about me, because then it would all be futile. This requires so much energy, but I pray that I might make some difference in the whole scheme of things. I think back to other activists: Martin Luther King Jr., for example. How easy was it for him? Not very, I would imagine. Hatred is easy and love can be hard. There is no love in the anti-choice movement. Being an anti-choice activist is easy, but I sure as hell am not going to take the easy way out.