Yesterday, while at a meeting for the League of Women’s Voters Los Angeles, I sat and took it all in. There I was, amongst women who, held varying political preferences, but who were all in the same room for the same reason: to make democracy work. I felt elated and strong. To my right were two teenage girls, who, just a couple of weeks ago, had travelled all the way to Washington DC to attend the Women’s March. They didn’t appear older than sixteen, but they cared enough about standing up for women’s rights that they got on a plane, put on pink, knitted hats, braved the harsh cold and made their voices heard along with over a million men and women at the US Capitol on January 21, 2017.
To my left, were some of the veteran board members, well in their years. And I thought, “Damn. This is amazing. This is how I inspire to be. Continuing to fight for the rights of women and marginalized groups for the rest of my life. Never give up, Nikki. Never, ever give up. These women are so inspiring. What’s their secret?”
Really, I know what their “secret” is. It’s the same secret that, five years ago, helped to breathe life into my sick, weakened bones and nearly lifeless body, a body destroyed from anorexia nervosa, addiction and depression; the same secret that helped me to rise from a past marred from childhood sexual abuse, mental illness, and the loss of a career, a child and a parent. The secret is the internal strength of a woman, the ability to both fiercely lead and softly nurture. It’s what keeps us fighting again, rising again. Our ability to own our femininity yet stand on our own two damn feet in the midst of a male driven society is what makes us such effective public servants.
Whenever women doubt their ability to be as powerful in government as men, they only have to remember one thing: they give birth. Women are innately powerful beings, it’s how we are created. Our bodies are fashioned in such a way to not only carry other human beings, but to care for them. As women, we become role models for our children, which in turn influences generation after generation. We are natural-born leaders, which makes us excellent public servants; it’s literally written into our DNA.
Every single woman at the meeting yesterday, from 16 to 70, had their doubts – about themselves and the nation – just like we all do. But they pushed them aside for the sake of wanting to make a difference for our country. In spite of gender, race, religion, or political party, it is my hope that with the current state of our nation, we can all begin to gather a common vision: one of hope, peace and prosperity, and come together as people as well.