Originally posted on Thursday, March 5, 2015 on Facebook
Why I will march this Sunday, March 8th for International Women’s Day…
I march for my mother. Because she is the rock and the foundation of our family. Because of her countless sacrifices. She left a promising career and her familial support system in Mexico to provide us with a better future. She does everything with a smile and an attitude of fearless resilience. She is my constant role model and she is my friend. I march for her because she is one of the women that works a second shift, because she gets paid the minimum wage, because her accent makes her “different”. And I am sick of that bullshit.
I march because emotional abuse is real. Because silencing, shaming and neglect are never a part of healthy love. In my first relationship, wearing tight clothing and makeup were “not considered modest”. He’d call every hour to see where I was, who I was with. He threatened to hurt himself if I left. With my second relationship, my feelings and opinions were reduced to nothing. Feeling anything other than generally content was “unsettling and confusing and harmful”, while he insisted that “his problems were more important/relevant.” While I knew that these relationships were toxic, I did not have the language to really understand why. Feminism gave me that language; the ideology that helped me to discover and love myself in a way I did not think was possible. Feminism is shaping me into the best version of myself, because it reminds me that I don’t have to be limited to hurtful stereotypes. It has helped me find a partner; someone who I share love with as a choice, not just a feeling. I march for survivors. I march because no woman should feel insignificant and unsafe in relationships that are supposed to be healthy and nurturing.
I march for my sisters. Because when I see what the women of Mexico are going through, what the women in Pakistan are going through, what the women in Nigeria are going through, what the women in Turkey are going through, what the women in Palestine are going through— I do not see them as “other”, I see them as “sister”. Though their struggle is different than mine, I know that we are oppressed by the same forces of capitalism, imperialism, militarization and marginalization. We are not expendable, we are not invisible.
I march for love. Love is important to me. There is a beauty and a mystery in the love that we share. I believe it to be a radical and revolutionizing force. I march because I love my sisters. I march because I love my mother. I march because I love my community. I march because I love my partner. And I think we all deserve to live in a world where we can live as ourselves, unapologetically.
Annette is a member of AF3IRM Orange County.