About 8 months ago I wrote a blog about my divorce, and some people were absolutely floored that I got a divorce because I wasn’t happy. They attacked me, and other millennials, for lacking grit and the ability to put in real hard work. They suggested we just wanted everything instantly, and if we didn’t get it, we would just quit. Give up. Complain. Pout. They suggested, that real women are supposed to fight for their families. Unless you are getting abused, you should stay. Do the work. Suck it up. No matter how you feel or what you want. A strong woman, was an unhappy woman, that did what she needed to do. What she had to do. Not what she wanted to do.
Well, nope. I suppose I will never be a strong woman because I completely and totally reject all of that. In that moment I realized that I was a feminist. Weird. Because for so long, I didn’t see myself as “feminist.” I remember having a conversation with an older black woman about feminism when I was younger, and she said, “Black women have never been put on a pedestal. We have always worked and taken care of our families. We don’t need to march for jobs. We are black, not feminists.” From her mouth to my heart. I couldn’t be nor did I need to be both.
So nearly 10 years later, when I started feeling feminist, I was torn. I felt like I was cheating on my race with my gender, and the guilt was gnawing at me. A gnaw that stopped me from going to the Women’s March. And the same gnaw that made me regret not going the day after. The lack of intersectionality in the feminists’ movement is irreconcilable. Yet, I feel like not being an active part strengthens patriarchy. The layers. So here is how I express my feminism. I have decided to be unapologetically happy. I will love myself unconditionally. I will not be shaped, defined, or moved by the patriarch’s opinion on who I should or shouldn’t be.
My feminism started simply because I wanted to be happy. And who knew that being happy was revolutionary. Happiness required me to question the rules and the boundaries. Happiness required me to define what I wanted out of life and to chase it relentlessly. Happiness allowed me to let go of the expectation of who I was supposed to be and allowed me to just be. And as more women begin to question these boundaries, a support each other, a true revolution will begin.