How I’m Taking Back my Voice at the Women’s March in Washington D.C.

January 18, 2017

Something has happened.

To me.

It sounds as if I’m a victim. When I’m victim, it’s usually because of my own unreal expectations. And maybe it’s true in this present time. Because, I expected more from our country and for our country.

What’s happened out there, however, has happened inside my heart here, too. On a micro scale, I suppose, I expected more – from me. Perhaps it was bound to happen anyway. Here’s an opportunity to know myself better: I’m afraid of the people who voted a certain way in the 2016 presidential election, a way that I’ve deemed morally reprehensible and inexcusable. And, I’m afraid every man who speaks to me less than courteously has become the shadow side of the human who was elected.

Though I’m not currently a practicing psychologist, my education and experience leads me to believe the human who was elected suffers with Narcissistic Personality Disorder* of the megalomania (power hungry) kind. I’ve lived under the reign of this disease three times in my life. I know the signs well. I know how hard it was to free myself from their sick shackles. I had hoped I’d done enough spiritual work to stop attracting such sick people. If you’ve had the experiences I’ve had, you could understand why my fear is far more vast than a political preference.

*This is not a term I use lightly as one might poke fun at the bipolar weather or the schizophrenic voices in your head. Speaking in such a way is insensitive and offensive, anyway.

I pray for him, for all of these men who now have permission, for my own heart to understand, as well. I will not pretend that I know what is best for our country. I do not understand the intricacies of foreign policy and universal healthcare. Perhaps in four years, should he last that long, I’ll see that I was wrong. God, help us; let me be wrong. Nobody is as bad or good as his best or worst deed. There’s a little light and dark in us all. May the light guide him and me and ultimately, our country.

At the intersection of light and dark, I feel compelled to speak and act in ways I deem necessary…even though I’m afraid.

When I’m afraid, I’m afraid to speak. When someone says “he’s black but a super nice guy” or calls someone in charge a Nazi, when someone makes light of the darkness which accompanies mental illness, when someone asks me what my husband does for a living, I’ve been speechless since November 9, 2016. My voice is shaky and my words, distant, and I feel I have nothing to say.

Seeing myself this way has brought to light how blind I still am, too. Because I thought, the civil rights movement was behind us, and that as a society we had made great strides in helping those who’ve historically felt apart from become a part of again, and that I was done pretending I was straight.

As it turns out, I’m not. I strive for progress, not perfection, and wow, I’ve come a long way. And still I’ve got work to do. This is the land of the free. Nobody can take that away, unless we let them. I march (in the Women’s March on Washington) because it’s one way I can show that I won’t let them.

It’s easy for me to sit in my corner of the world and turn the tv off, straighten myself up, embrace my privilege, read some new agey stuff to assuage my conscience, teach sun salutations and make portraits all day. It would be far more comfortable than awakening to what’s going on around me, in many ways.

Here I go.

I’m taking back my voice today. The next time someone justifies the unjustifiable: What’s happening is not ok… The next time someone says something bigoted: What you said is not ok and here’s why… The next time I misstep or misspeak when I disagree: How I reacted had very little to do with you…I’m sorry…how can I make this right?…educate me, please.

I will not play the role of victim, nor will I play the role of perpetrator. I choose not to see those who disagree with me as malevolent. I choose not to burn unknowing bigots at the stake. They, like me, are misguided. We don’t know that we don’t know. May we help each other to heal. Global healing begins at the top and at the bottom. May we meet in the middle once again, together – stronger for having endured what’s happened, more committed to caring for each other. And may it begin with me. This is why I’m leaving my life to march in Washington D.C.

 


Amber Shumake

Photo Credit: Luke Robert Miller

A writer, teacher, and artist, Amber (www.ambershumake.com) aspires to integrate all that she’s learned through poetic writing, poignant teachings, and soulful portraiture.
Yoga continues to save her daily, so she shares the practice far and wide, inviting her students to heal one breath (and handstand) at a time. Having trained with Elena Brower, Ana Forrest, and Judith Lasater, Amber’s style is as eclectic and complex as she is. Integrating meticulous sequencing with thoughtful alignment, she weaves inspiring flow with authentic spiritual teachings. Through laughter, frequent sweat and grateful tears, you can expect to heal your heart, ignite your soul, and return to truth.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you, Amber. The voice of love, the commitment to dialogue and to not demonize those who disagree with ourselves is the voice that brings peace. I felt peace in my heart when I read your article.

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