"And now here is my secret, it is a very simple secret: it is only with the heart one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to our eyes." -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince
Today is April 15, 2011. Today is Day of Silence, recognized nationally as a day in which thousands of LGBTQ youth and their allies have taken a 24 hour vow of silence to take a visceral and subversive stand against injustice faced by the queer community. For 24 hours people who not only believe in equality, but are demanding rights for everyone NOW, are not speaking.
But they sure are using the power of their voices.
I absolutely believe that every human being, regardless of how they define their sexual orientation within the spectrum that exists within all of us, has the right to marry the person they love. I affirm that this equality is achievable in my own lifetime. Every day I awake grateful for my voice in the world, no matter how small or cracked it may be, I have the power and capacity to use my voice. Not everyone gets to exercise this right and it is important for me to remember this.
|A photograph from DOS last year!|
Unfortunately I could not participate in DOS this year because of some prior obligations that require me to speak today. But believe me, friends, I am participating in spirit and this is the first time in four years I have not partaken, in some capacity, of this movement.
Since I could not participate fully, I wanted today's photography challenge to reflect something of importance to me very deeply. I also wanted to select photographs of something I though reflective of the message of Day of Silence: solidarity in the face of adversity regardless of how you define yourself.
So I want to talk about the beautiful people I see everyday in my life. People who I stand with no matter the odds. I wish I could include everyone, and I by no means want to make this an exclusive list. But these are the women who inspire me every day to be the best woman I can be. I would do so much more than remain silent for these people, they make me so brave and I am so blessed to see them every day here on my college campus! Therefore, I present:
Day 19: Photos of My Family Away from my Family
(in no particular order)
My darling roommate (as well as my dearest Allison) who, despite not being a fan of dinosaurs or Harry Potter, has lovingly put up with my obsessions and quirky habits. in fact, she is the one responsible for procuring the 6 foot tall cardboard Alan Rickman poster that now greets me when I awake in the mornings (if you're unfamiliar, there's a vlog for that). She is so funny and absolutely genuine with herself and the world. I love that about her so much; she is no one but herself and therefore is one of the most grounded and real people I know. And even beyond her absolute perfect roommate-ness and outstanding intelligence, she happens to be one killer awesome rugby player. Seriously, she's incredible on the field! Thank goodness Res Life put us together!
Despite being terrified by my exuberant clothing and French-speaking upon our first meeting, Brenna and I somehow ended up having lunch together (a little reluctantly). We remained timid friends until we survived a crazy night together and we realized that we were going to be the best of friends for a long, long time! When I think of how we came to be friends, I'm always reminded of the quote in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone after Hermione and the boys defeat the giant troll. Jo Rowling so brilliantly scribed, "There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them." Like Harry and Hermione (forgive the silly metaphor even though if you know us it's PERFECT), Brenna and I are so tight. She's so level-headed, insightful, intelligent, passionate, wise, and warm. We can literally talk for hours about everything from educational policy to Shakespeare to speculating on possible Glee subplots. I am so, so grateful I have beautiful Brenna in my life! (As she would say, you're stuck with me :).
I honestly don't even know where to begin with how much I adore Candy. Talk about a savvy, wise, witty, and bright young woman- Candy is the real deal. She's a crocheting fiend, a language enthusiast and genius, and a newspaper editor extraordinaire. I always feel so reaffirmed and joyful around this incredible woman, whether we're comparing famous art historians, giggling over Jane Austen novels, or talking about the problems in our government's immigration policy. What I love so much about Candy is how we can spend time together in so many capacities, from our trip to the Met in NYC to being social to having serious discussions about the future of the USA. Seriously, if this girl runs for president, ya'll would be doing yourself a favor in voting for her!
I met Grace on the first day of college and knew almost immediately I wanted to befriend her. Grace is such a presence in my life; her spirit and sweetness and happiness exudes into everything and everyone she is around. If you don't believe me, she's going to be on my radio show tomorrow from 10 am - 12 pm EST talking about her adoration for pandas, photography, educating your future children, being Woods Holier than thou, and generally having incredible taste in music! She's such a snugglebug and a fellow Torchwood fan (so when I book it out of M&Cs to finish an episode, she vouches for my partial sanity). Her creativity and kindness is such a treat to be around. I adore spending time with this wonderful, wonderful friend and look forward to so many more years of being together!
By now, if you follow my musings here or on youtube with any regularity, you've heard all about this marvelous woman Hattie. Just as Brenna is my Hermione, Hattie is my Ron. She and I literally became friends in French last semester when she noticed I was wearing my (signed!) Parselmouths t-shirt. The fact that she loved the Boy Who Lived as much as I did already secured her a place locked into my heart, but the fact that she happens to be one of the most driven and deep friends I've ever had the joy of knowing cemented us for good. She and I goggle over Darren Criss together, she holds my hand when I cry at EVERY GLEE EPISODE EVER. Seriously, Hattie, prepare yourself for Tuesday when it's back on air. We sit together in our nonviolence religion class (which she talked me into taking, by the way!) and I am so glad to know her!
I have this gift of having two very special Nora B's in my life, and when I realized this Nora's name I knew right away I was going to like her. Equally as Potter-obsessed as I (noticing a trend?) she is such a delight to know. And but actually, she has the greatest deadpan delivery of anyone I know. But actually. Nora is so smart, capable, kind, hospitable, considerate, and one of the most selfless people I have ever met. She works so hard and as such treasures every day as a gift. Her presence in my daily life is so important to me and I am so blessed to know her! Nora genuinely can look at anyone in the world and see the best in them, a quality I marvel at. I admire her so, so much. And her dog breed knowledge puts all animal lovers to shame.
Another beautiful woman whom I met on the first day of orientation. I was sitting in a room with all the girls and their parents, alone, because of a confusion on my part causing my mom having to leave a day early. I was absolutely terrified when Saran's Mama D came up to me to ask me how I was liking Mount Holyoke. When she introduced me to Saran I knew I had picked the right place to go to school. Saran is such a source of love and inspiration in my life. She and I both identify as African; she by birth, I by heart, and both of us want to continue to live on that alluring and precious continent in our hearts for all our lives. I fail to articulate how special she is to me and how much I am reaffirmed with every conversation we have!
There are so many more (Allison, Liz, Cara, Hannah, Stodd, and every other incredible friend I have made on this campus). Thank you all.
current jam: "fascination" alphabeat (thanks hattie!)
best thing in my life right now: equality is within reach.
days until departure: 48 (I had miscounted previously!)