Learning to Stand Up
by Linda L. Richards
Sometimes it feels like we are at this dark moment. It can be an overwhelming feeling. A helpless one.
Like so many people, that is what I felt late in 2016 and then further in January of 2017 when a whole lot of incomprehensible pieces slid together to coalesce into something that seemed to me (and still seems!) far beyond logic. How could any of this be?
I wasn’t alone. Rapidly I came to understand that I was part of a demographic and generation who had largely sat on their hands because everything was perfect, or mostly so. My world had always been close to perfect and getting better. And the things I had always believed would continue to go in the direction they had throughout my lifetime — in a constant glorious stream towards better — because those battles had been fought. They were behind us. Civil rights. Roe V. Wade. Equal Rights. So much else that had been headlines when we were children. And now? Smooth sailing all the way home. Of course!
And then 2016 happened, and everything changed. The impossible became possible and it seemed that everything we’d learned had to be learned again. And one of those things was the message that sitting on our hands was no longer an option.
It took a while, but I finally got it. That in order to move forward in what my Boomer-to-Gen X brain understood was correct fashion, I had to stand up. I had to do something. I could no longer be too busy or self-concerned to make sure my voice was heard. Not only that, I had to make sure I did whatever I could so that other like-spirited voices could be heard, as well. And together we could console each other while we moved forward, to a better time and place.
And so here I am. And here you are. I’m heartened and encouraged to know we’re moving forward together. ◊
Linda L. Richards is an author and journalist and serves on the Board of Directors as Secretary of Nasty Women Press.