Friday, February 4, 2011

The Easy Way Out

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.


  1. Oh my gosh, thank you. I've been feeling like this the past few weeks about my activism. I didn't know how to describe the depression I was feeling, or the plain exhaustion. You hit the nail right on the head.
    I was actually talking to my boyfriend about this last night, and he suggested taking a step back for a few days and reminding myself WHY I started doing this stuff.

  2. Damn, PCG, I had just come out of deep thought and sleep was starting to sound good but I promised myself I would check out your new blog post and return my bro-in-laws' email before I crashed. Think I could do a copy/paste job and add his name to these comments, lol? Actually, this might work out:

    Dear [Name],

    Sometimes I feel hurt, confused, and even despondent when you fail to recognize that I feel about women's issues the same way you do about UNC basketball. Plus, we both love my sister just slightly less than we love those things, right?! ;)

    Back on point: I'm glad you mentioned King b/c the entire blog post I was thinking of this: "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Notice how King keeps saying "must." Is he giving advice to others or to himself?

    I can only speak for myself but when activism ONLY flat-out sucks ass on occasion than you know you're living the American dream, probably w/in its borders. I "get" you, however; it can be a painful, lonely place to be and ironically, I've felt a lot of both of those emotions this past week.

    I don't do what I do b/c I'm such a wonderful, compassionate, nurturing person. I am prone to perceive the world from a sense of justice and when that sense is assaulted I feel intrinsically compelled to act. That's just who I am. I bet it's just who you are and I'll double that bet on the fact that we're not the only two out there! :)


  3. Hi, Pro-Choice Gal! I've recently realized exactly how deep my passion for reproductive rights for women really runs, and I want to know, how do I get more involved? Being a poor college student, I can't really donate, but I'd like to maybe volunteer! What institutions do you think would be best to volunteer for? Or, basically, how can I get more involved?

  4. Hey, thanks for the comment :)

    I know what you mean about being a poor college student, lol. There are quite a few ways you can be an activist without donating though.

    As far as online activism goes, I think starting a blog and keeping a twitter account for repro rights are both great ideas. As far as changing anti-choicers' minds, that probably isn't going to happen. However, a blog is a great way to raise awareness/have discussions within the pro-choice community, and a twitter account is a great way to connect with other activists, which may also open up more opportunities for in person activism.

    As for in person activism, this is a lot more broad, I think. One amazing thing that you can do is become a clinic escort. If you don't know already, a clinic escort is someone who volunteers at an abortion clinic and helps to be a buffer between the anti-choice protesters and the patients. If you're interested in that, I'd recommend calling a nearby clinic and asking them if they need an escort.

    I'd also recommend in participating in (counter)protests and marches. These come and go (which is why I recommend social media to help keep up), but one that is coming up is the walk for choice there are many different walks in many different areas, so try to find out if there's one in your area that you can attend. It's coming up fast, though.

    The National Abortion Federation has quite a few ideas and organizations listed here: really, you can call any one of your favorite pro-choice organizations and ask if they need a volunteer. They'll appreciate it, I'm sure :)

    If you want to talk more, feel free to keep commenting for email me at

    Good luck :)



Due to constant spam and derailing coming from a few antis, I am now making this blog a "safe place". This does not mean that I won't allow opposing views. It means that I'm not longer going to allow hateful or unrelated/spammy comments. This will continue on until the anti-choice spammers get bored with harassing me and the people who post here, and is especially relevant when it comes to the topic of rape. I hope this doesn't deter any respectful people from commenting. :)