The prompt was surprise. Inspired by the terrifying results of the 2016 election, but I don’t think surprise is quite the right word. Shock is definitely apt. Fear as well. I wrote this piece as my reflection on what the election revealed about America and what the violence in the proceeding week set out to prove.
As a disabled LGBT mother to a child that is a WOC, I am scared. What happened on November 8th proved to me that my life doesn’t matter to nearly half of America. And nothing will ever make it right as long as that administration is in office.
America is no longer safe.
There are no words for the political horror America has unleashed. People of color are dying. Lesbian, gay, and transgendered people are being assaulted. There is no end in sight for the trauma we have done to ourselves.
America is broken. A flawed, unjust system gave rise to the greatest threat to peace and prosperity, and some celebrate it. The death of the American Dream is imminent.
Many may not survive this. But those that do must maintain their memory, fight for their legacy. The survivors must not simply rebuild what America was, but what it always promised to be.
©2016 Heather Stephens
Note: While I am a mother, I have many friends who are childfree by choice. This is sometimes viewed as a controversial decision. While I understand why some might find it odd, I do wonder why being childfree by choice is still considered taboo. But it is absolutely vital that women who are childfree by choice are respected. Bodily autonomy is essential in an equal society, and that means women cannot be forced or even guilted into childbearing.
Her niece had the biggest, roundest eyes she’d ever seen on a six-year-old girl. She spent the afternoon diving deep into them as she listened to the philosophy of early childhood. An evening over mac and cheese taught her the virtues of always being nice to the lunch lady because she’s the one who controls the chocolate milk.
Afterwards, her friends would ask her if her biological clock was ticking.
“Didn’t it make you want to try?” they’d ask, nudging her husband knowingly.
It didn’t. Parenthood would never be part of her plans.
She’d never bear children. And that’s okay.
© 2016 H.R. Stephens
Note: I strive to start conversations with my writing, especially when it comes to feminist or LGBT issues. This one reflects my recent thoughts about equal pay for women and the rising rates of women in STEM fields.
Soon enough, she will reap what her efforts have sown. She is a pillar of strength, an icon of integrity.
When she stands on the brink of failure, her efforts are doubled. Working well under pressure is one of her strongest traits; everyone agrees.
She will always fight to succeed in a man’s industry. Her industry.
And if her sex is used as a weapon or some omen of her imminent failure, she will set her jaw and carry on with pride unfettered by the opinions of those who doubt her diligence.
Only she decides her fate.
© 2016 H.R. Stephens