(I've been a little bit political lately, and this post is no exception... I'll be back to talking about books and tea and happy things soon enough, but the following is something very important to me.)
Throughout my life, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by women who constantly inspire me. I have been blessed with family members, teachers, and friends who lift me up and have made me who I am. Apart from those I know personally, I have read books written by women, watched movies directed by women, and listened to songs sung by women who inspire me constantly. So far, I can only count on one hand the times I've felt inferior simply because I'm a woman, and I think that's because of the positive environment I live in. But, unfortunately, this is rare. One of the things I believe in most is that women's rights are human rights. Women deserve equal treatment not because they've earned it or because they've fought long and hard for it, but because they are human beings living on the same planet as everyone else.
But women's rights are not the only rights I believe need to be protected. Throughout 2016, I read news article after news article telling me that men had been killed simply for the color of their skin, and my heart broke more each time. I cried when people were killed senselessly and mercilessly during countless shootings, and I have tried to understand why some people aren't respected simply because they weren't born in America. I have gotten knots in my stomach when I think of pollution and animals being extinct, and I worry incessantly about those who will be without access to affordable health care. So, I'm going to do something about the crying, the worrying, and the confusion. I'm going to sign petitions, donate money (when I can) to organizations that help countless people that may soon be defunded, and I'm going to be kind to people. As Martin Luther King Jr. once so wisely said, "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
Put simply, I'm not done. Yesterday, millions of people around the world participated in the Women's March. These are people who believe that something needs to change, and these are people who are going to make those changes happen. I may not have marched, but I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to make good changes happen, and keep the good things where they are. Today I wrote to my state's representative and senator, and I'll leave a link to where I heard about it (as well as some others that I have found useful) at the end. I'd encourage anyone reading this to sign petitions, talk to people, donate (if you can), and volunteer for organizations that are helping those who need it right now more than ever.
I will also encourage you to be kind. If someone is crying, give them a shoulder to cry on. If someone is in pain, find them help. If someone just needs someone else to listen, lend them your ear. Do something kind for someone else everyday, even if it's the littlest of things, because one small act of kindness can have a ripple effect that can change the entire world. Never stop imagining a better world, because a small spark of imagination can prompt a plan, and a plan can become an action that changes things for the better.