Today is the March for Life.
Today is the goddamn March for Life.
Tomorrow marks 1 week since the first march that I participated in. Only, the march that I participated in was the Women’s March.
A march that stood for so many things. Women’s rights. Standing up to a terrifying time in our country’s history. A march that stood for finding your community and grabbing onto it for dear life in order to find your voice in a time when you feel that at any moment, you could be shunned on twitter by the leader of the free world.
On this day…the day of the March for Life, I would like to reflect on a few realizations I’ve had only recently.
I was recently scrolling through Instagram, and came across a Vera Wang wedding dress collection.
I wasn’t the type of girl who dreamed of my wedding day growing up.
The extent of my wedding fantasies included an elaborate setup that included the groom shouting, “We must hurry! They’re coming!” Followed by a downpour over the crowd about to witness our nuptials, as people with fiery stakes came running down the aisle. Immediately after, a group of T-Rex dancers graced everyone’s presence, followed by me…the drenched and delighted bridge.
But other than that, no. I haven’t fantasized about my wedding day. But back to the dress. A black wedding dress.
My brain had never even taken into consideration that black was an option. It was stunning. I felt like my world had changed.
I never realized that I had a choice. I thought white was the only option. And trust me, I look hideous in white. White makes me sad. It’s not me. But this daring vibrant piece…it was art.
After I had this realization, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate other choices that I assumed I had to make.
I was never a fan of the typical engagement ring. You know the one.
Silver band, perfectly cut stone. That’s not me. That style is screaming for me to lose it down the sink. Or better yet, drop it down the toilet when I’m fumbling with my cell because I love catching up with friends on the toilet.
I love gold bands and gaudy stones. Something that looks like it was dug out of a treasure chest in a grandma’s yard sale.
And under $50 please! I would be truly hateful if someone spent over $50 on my engagement ring. I’d be like, “We could’ve spent that on a fancy delivery order! You know I’ve been craving sushi!”
After I had this realization, I felt like I had to share the info with my boyfriend. To any stranger on the street, me pointing at $3 vintage rings at the local antique shop would appear like I am nudging my boyfriend to propose. But it’s not the case! First of all, I don’t nudge. It’s passive aggressive, and also, an engagement wouldn’t just be his decision. It would be ours. Something we would talk about. Like, a grownup decision between two consenting adults, you know?
I was just excited to share a new thing with him that I had learned about myself. All of a sudden, I was having all of these new options that didn’t have to be dictated by tradition. One last thing before I jump away from the wedding topic, I would love both my parents to walk me down the aisle. And they wouldn’t be giving me away. They’d be like, “You kids are a good fit. We’re proud of both of you.”
Here’s another realization I’ve had. I don’t enjoy wearing makeup 24/7. And I frickin’ hate even bringing up this topic, because no, this isn’t me going on a #makeupfree rant. I think it’s insanely ridiculous that there has to be movements that pat women on the back telling them that it’s ok that they don’t want to wear makeup. I don’t want a movement. I don’t want goddamn debates over what I choose to wear on my face. It’s my face. Me not wearing foundation doesn’t mean that I don’t care about my appearance or how I’m perceived. Me not wearing foundation also doesn’t mean that I need to be celebrated. I wish I lived in a day and age where it was a non-issue. Where me not wearing makeup isn’t remotely a thing because people are paying attention to other things that I have to offer this world. On the same note, I truly appreciate women who love wearing makeup. We genuinely love it. Women who treat it like art. Women who are full of life sporting red lipstick.
Women who express themselves with blush. I applaud all of you. Because it was your choice. And it is my choice.
Another realization I’ve had falls under the realm of success. Success is in the eyes of the beholder. My personal idea of success isn’t a corner office or even a 9-5 job. In fact, both of those sound like my personal version of hell. If you want to quickly swipe my soul, feel free to put me in either of those predicaments. My idea of success is a creative life.
But that’s crazy! ‘Creative’ and ‘Success’ reside on two different planets. You truly are a moron.
For me, personal success is being free to be creative and not tied down by what I’ve been told I’m supposed to do.
Personal success is doing what makes me happy, rather than implementing a work plan that makes others comfortable. Personal success is staying true to yourself, not living in the shadows of other people’s fears. I always have a choice.
I’m turning 32 this year. I don’t want children right now. When I was a teenager, I thought that I would be married and on my 2nd kid by the time I was 28. Now, at the age of 31, I know that I don’t want kids in this very moment. Someday, yes. But not in this moment.
And this choice of mine freaks people out.
But aren’t you listening to your biological clock? You need to shape your life to fit the idea of having a child into it if that’s what you want someday. You might regret not having had a kid sooner. You will be an older mom. You really want to wait a few years??
Let’s be clear about ‘biological clocks’-I’m aware of my age and your concerns because you haven’t wasted a moment in expressing either to me. My ‘biological clock’ is telling me that I’m doing the right thing for me. I’m listening to my clock, and my clock is telling me, Girl, you will be a kick-ass mom someday. You will take your kids to Disneyland and setup the best pillow forts and you will stand up to bullies who mess with your kids and you will always fight for them. But again, it is my choice to wait. My clock is telling me that I have to get my life together, and someday will be the right day to make a family. Not when my life is perfect, because I’m a realist, but someday when it is the best choice.
Today is the March for Life. Here is the final thing I’ll say. I’m very much in support of Planned Parenthood. I’m very much in support of establishments that give women a choice.
Have you ever had the following question go through your head:
What would I do if I got pregnant? Abortion? Have the baby? Adoption? What would I do…
Everyone thinks that the answer to this is black and white. That you know in your heart of hearts what your choice would be. Either you would have the baby or you wouldn’t. Here’s the point I would like to make. No one can possibly know what decision they would make until they are actually in that situation.
I don’t know what emotions would suddenly pour through me if I suddenly found out I was pregnant.
An episode of “Friends” once explained this perfectly. You know the episode. Rachel thinks she’s pregnant. She takes a pregnancy test. Phoebe looks at the test and reveals the results to Rachel by telling her that she’s not pregnant. Rachel, who thought that she didn’t want a baby, starts to cry. Phoebe tells her, “Just kidding, your pregnant! But now you know how you really feel.”
My thoughts exactly, Phoebe. You don’t actually know until you are there. I’m not in that situation. But there are women who are in that situation. And those women deserve to be able to make the choice over what happens to their bodies. They deserve to make the choice. I shouldn’t have to argue this. This should be a very basic fact, but I live in a world where I get cat-called on the street as men tell me to smile. Where I get told to stay silent and take it as a compliment. Where I get told that I shouldn’t openly talk about depression or it will make me look weak. Where the box marked as ‘woman’ is getting created by men and I’m supposed to climb inside and live up to their expectations.
I have been lucky enough to have wonderful men in my life. Both of my grandpas were saints to me. One of my grandpas used to lay a towel down on a wall near my school building because he knew that I loved to climb over the wall every morning to get to class and he didn’t want my school clothes to get wet. My other grandpa encouraged me to be brave and loud and yell my head off while soaring over the water in a speedboat. My dad still gushes about me to people. I know this because in the past, I’ve gone to the dentist or chiropractor only to have the receptionist get teary eyed explaining, “We’ve heard so much about you. He idolizes you.” My brother gets me. I never have to explain myself to him. He always understands, and in that simple act, he is a lifelong support system. My boyfriend wants me to be happy. Seeing me happy makes him happy. He fights for my happiness every single day even when I feel like I can’t fight for my own happiness.
I’m lucky to have these men in my life. I’m lucky that I can make choices that shape my present and future. I’m lucky that I’ve realized that I can rip open the box and dictate my own life and what’s right for me. I always have a choice. And to the people who feel like they can take away that choice. To the people who feel like they can make any of my decisions. To the people who think they have me figured out when I say that I fully support abortion. To the people who would judge what I do with my body and tell me that my clock is ticking:
My body is my choice. It has always been this way. You cannot take this choice away. This isn’t a choice that I’ve suddenly realized like the black wedding dress or the joy of not wearing makeup. I have known this my entire life. My body. My choice.