I live my life and lead in my actions with compassion and empathy always. I give what I can when I can to everyone without judgement and without hesitation, even if it's only a handshake and a "God bless you" - it has been through these interactions that I have found more joy than I ever deserve. I believe that empathy at the root of all of my decisions are what make every aspect of my life less complicated. I believe wholeheartedly in equality for ALL. And I believe that compassion and empathy (and common sense) are what will heal the world.
I am not strong. I might even be the least strong person you know or will ever know, and there was a time in my life where I was even less strong than I am right now. There is a reason that I don't often, if ever, talk about the time of my life before my daughter was born, and it's because there isn't much worth talking about.
God put my parts together in His way and then sent me here to be born where I was tossed aside not long after as an itty bitty little girl by a person who completely broke my spirit, and that put me on a trajectory that only a timid broken little girl could go. I easily absorbed the mean words that kids often say to each other and internalized them believing that I was ugly and stupid, growing up I was made to feel that every little thing I did was was wrong, years later I chose a boyfriend who couldn't care less whether I existed or not, a couple of years after that my repeated "no's" did not make a someone stop, and then a few months after that I settled for an abusive relationship that lasted for years longer than it should have believing that that was all that I deserved. All of this culminating into a cycle of being perpetually humiliated for almost all of my early life.
Then, God in all His mercy placed a 5lb 9oz tiny miracle baby girl in my arms and I knew instantly that she was better than me. She was smarter than me. She was stronger than me. On the day that that precious baby came into this world she began demanding that the world meet her standards, and they were high. If she was going to demand from this world she now belonged in, then I would too. Isabelle would never be tossed aside or thrown away. She would know that her voice would be heard and that she mattered. Isabelle would not be humiliated by standing up for what she wanted or didn't want, and her spirit would be valued beyond measure and fed goodness & love for as long as I was on this side of Heaven, so if the time ever came that she might get her heart broken her spirit would be more than strong enough to withstand it and see her through.
So, with Eric by my side, we set out to raise a human, a strong one. We showed her all aspects of this world through a lens of compassion and empathy, from concentration camps to cathedrals, homeless shelters to national parks, we didn't shield her from a single facet.
But as parents it was never our job to put words into Isabelle's voice, or thoughts into Isabelle's head. We could lead by example, we stand by our belief that compassion, empathy, and common sense will heal the world, but we can't tell her what to believe or how to feel about the things she's seen. Going to the Women's March with my daughter was important to me. It was important to me because I needed Isabelle to see empathy on a giant scale, but even more than that, I needed for her to see her voice in action, and for her to see that her voice has power. What she does with it after this will be up to her.
"Normalize Empathy" - So perfect, and so important.
With each step my daughter took in the march that day, I could hear her voice getting louder and stronger. She walked ahead of me every step of the way. I just stood back allowing her to fill her heart and voice and spirit and brain with all the things that the Universe chose to give to her. As a mother and a woman, it was incredible to see. Together we rise!
The last thing I wanted to do was politicize my blog, but if you Google the statistics about woman and sexual assault, woman in the workplace, woman and equal pay, woman and healthcare, or even women and access to women's healthcare then you would understand the need for marching and raising our voices. Just like www.womensmarch.com explains: Women's Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women's Rights, and that speaks right to my empathetic soul.