When the tapes released, I donated $5.00 to Hillary Clinton. It was a helpless five dollars. A quiet little whisper. Saveeeee, usssssss. A hand raised for Hillary. It was all I could do but it felt like something.
When I graduated college I never wanted to write another article again and I never wanted to read another article again and I never wanted to learn anything else ever again. I felt completely burnt out. My diploma was my permission slip to give up. But that’s wrong. My diploma was my assignment to do more. My diploma was a responsibility. I had been given years, and years, and years of information that so many people don’t have access to. That so many people can’t afford to have access to. Information that helps me understand the news. Information that helps me articulate micro-aggressions. Information that helps me decipher rape culture. Things that make following this debate, and supporting Hillary, kind of a no-brainer.
When my friends ask me about articles on women who have been raped, men who have raped, rights that have been taken away from women, I’m ashamed to admit that more than half of the time I have to go find the article to read it before I know what they’re talking about. I have created an idea of what the world looks like and because it hasn’t changed, I’ve let it sit stagnant. Of course women are getting raped, of course men are raping women, of course they’re getting away with it, of course there’s some new article or study about women’s rights, written by a man, published with open comments to incite fury. It’s the same every week, it’s the same all the time, so I just gave up. I let my knowledge about intersectionality stagnant. I followed along from the edge, only listening to snippets, not engaging with what I was learning.
In the last few months I’ve started reading the news regularly every morning. We subscribed to the paper so I’ve picked it up and I’ve read through it. Reading the news every day makes the process easier. Each article seems to build every day, a little new detail, a little new perspective. And suddenly I found myself in the knowing space again. In the circle of the names and the facts and the details that I’d forgotten.
And reading the news is good and staying informed is good but what is so much better is engaging. What does it mean? Who were these people? Why are they important? How do laws impact us? Why do politics matter to me? There is only so much any one person can do. Only so many things you can be actively engaged in. And sometimes it may feel that if you cannot give your all, all the time, that you’ve lost the war before you’ve started. But that’s not right. What I did was wrong. I locked up all my caring because I was tired of how helpless it felt. How never-ending, and how repetitive.
My $5.00 might not have made a real difference but a little light went off in me that reminded me that it’s important to pay attention, it’s important to think, and it’s important to do exactly how much you can. And that’s always better than doing nothing at all.