6:10AM. 11.8.2016 My heart is pounding as I rise in the dark room. It’s a big day. A first in someways. It’s hard not to feel important as I get ready. I search for red, white, and blue and settle for denim as my blue and an old thrift shop polyester red top. Not quite what I want, but minutes are flying and traffic filling the roads.
I sit at the edge of the bed and can’t help but remember my twelve year old self who chose to do her history project on Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Mother Teresa the year before. It’s election day and I’m ready; so ready that I stopped reading, watching all campaign coverage a month ago to clear my mind, get focused, breathe.
You see I have nieces a slew of them. Cute lil’ princess wannabes, twirling, singing, confidently speaking their mind because they are at that age when a girl’s words are still heard and seen as adorable and endearing. Their independence is giggled at and welcomed. Their carefree ability to chase squirrels or collect rocks treasured.
And I want for them to hold these traits with them forever, never letting them fade into quite insecurity–where they cross their legs and get so self conscious that they refuse to dance freely or sit quietly instead of speaking their opinion. I yearn for these lil’ queen bees to have a world in which they don’t feel wronged just because of their gender.
Today is for You A and K and I and S and P and V and M and R!
I look at my naked face in the mirror, while I brush my teeth and think about my sixteen year old self who anticlimactically became a citizen in Baltimore, unaware of what I was giving up and what I was gaining. I just knew I could easily travel with this new US passport instead the longer line in customs with my Indian passport. There was a time when I was embarrassed to be Indian in America, constantly shh-ing my parents when they spoke to me in Telugu or called me by my Indian nickname: Bomma. There was a time when I was embarrassed to be American in India, perpetually trying to blend in even giving up my rights to do it. How far, I’ve come to be able to openly be myself with both my American and Indian family.
Good. Bad. Ugly at times.
I start my car proudly, driving to my job in the nation’s capitol, past the Lincoln Memorial and the monument, with the Capitol in the distance. I am ready. It’s 2016, November, Tuesday and I am voting as a naturalized American citizen for our first female presidential candidate who has been called bitch, nasty woman, and so many other names in public and on social media. I think of the number of times I have been called bitch to my face from students to family members. I think of how I even use it as an excuse sometimes, instead of standing up and saying yeah I can get angry, but so can you–it’s a human emotion.
Being a woman in this world is a delicate dance. On some days, it can be hard even down right depressing, but damn if I can’t look at the women in my life and see they are warriors. They have overcome emotional and physical challenges from cancer to miscarriages to infertility to divorce to single-life to single mothering to sexual abuse to physical abuse to autoimmune conditions, depression, endometriosis. One thing I’ve seen over and over again. The women I’ve come in contact with have gone through the darkest times in their lives with admirable grace.
Today. I voted. As woman. For a woman.
Because she is a badass, an experienced badass. Someone who has proven to me that if you want something, then fuck, go for it, don’t stop believing and it’s never too late! So as a proud supporter of Hillary for the past eight years, one who joined her campaign back in 2007, I stand with her and all the women in this world.