In my early thirties I took a lesson learned from my mother to heart, that sometimes you have to CHOOSE joy. It isn’t always easy, it isn’t always what I want to do but I’ve realized that in life sometimes I have to choose the path towards joy. That’s how I start every day, instead of letting the darkness and hurt swallow me whole, I look at what I am thankful for in my life and use that to propel me forward. And when I realize others can’t do that for themselves, I choose to be their joy, their rainbow. I worked in higher ed for years and realized part of what my students needed in me as an advisor was a shoulder to cry on, a person to hug, someone to go to that would listen, wouldn’t judge and would give them hope. I did my best to be that for my students because I’ve always had that support system in my life. I chose to be their rainbow.
With this election I had to shut off the internet and the noise earlier in the week because I just couldn’t handle the darkness. I felt like it was suffocating me. So on Saturday morning I got up and made myself this t-shirt with the quote from Hillary Clinton’s concession speech. Those words were her rainbow of hope to little girls but I saw it as a rainbow to everyone.
Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.
As a woman and minority sometimes I do doubt my value and when I put that shirt on Saturday I felt that strength and positivity with me all day. Sometimes you just need to put on your cape to feel like a superhero. So I shared my pic on Instagram and Facebook to be a rainbow of hope to someone else. It worked. I was asked to share it on the Pantsuit Nation group and I did and was inundated with requests to make this shirt – so I did (because I posted the link to buy a shirt on Pantsuit nation my original post was taken down but I hope that my original message still helped people). If you need that reminder, boost or a little rainbow in your day you can get your own shirt via this website.
I’ve also started to answer people when they ask what they can do, or how can they help. The first step is not being silent. It’s easy to ignore everything but we all have a voice and we need to use it. We have to stop ignoring bigotry, sexism, racism, hate. We have to help educate others and speak up when something is wrong regardless of how difficult it is. We have to talk! If you don’t understand a point of view, just ask. If you want to know what I’m afraid of I’ll tell you. Look at your family and friends who have different opinions and talk – don’t walk away.
I’ve also seen folks wearing safety pins and I love that gesture as a way for others to know you are with them, you want to help. It’s a first step. I even reply on Facebook when people have said a safety pin isn’t enough – but it is a start! For some it’s another rainbow. It’s letting someone else know they’re not alone and that they can talk to you and maybe together you two can take the next step. And there is not a right path or perfect thing to do in any of this. We all have different roles and I want to be a rainbow. I don’t want to be angry and acidic. That will eat me alive. I want to help foster discussion, help point someone in the right direction, help people feel like they’re not alone. I plan to be more active, to donate more money in 2017 than I have before and participate in the political process and I hope you do as well. And if you don’t know where to start, if you don’t know what you can do or if you just need a little hope I’ll be happy to be your rainbow too.
I’m not happy about our new president but I refuse to let someone who campaigned on bigotry and hate hold me back.