I know, I know. With a title like that, this post could be going any direction, right? Well, stick with me ’til the end and you can decide for yourself.
Today, myself and half a million other women (and men!) marched in Washington, DC (and millions of others around the globe) for women’s rights.
The experience was unlike anything I’ve ever been through before, and I am forever changed by it. We were shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of thousands of people marching through the streets of Washington, DC a day after one of the most contentious elections in the history of our country.
I expected fierce. I expected loud. I expected drama.
And it was all of those things, but it was so much more. The march was soft and kind. It was generous and giving. It was open and warm. The air was alive–literally electrified–with spirit and excitement and unison. I’ve always spoken of wanting a unified country, but for the very first time I felt it.
Strangers held hands and sang together. People danced and twirled. Chants and mantras filled the air as women helped each other stand taller, stronger, wiser, firmer.
Women offered me free snacks, waters, hats, and other merchandise. We were just sisters, and generosity of spirit ran rampant in the crowd. There were for-profit stands on the sides of the march selling products, but they were all men. Draw whatever conclusions you’d like from that.
There was no question of what we were fighting for in that crowd. Our signs called for equal pay, affordable birth control, safe environments, an end to rape culture, and so much more. We weren’t anti-Trump. We were pro-women. We were afraid. We were brave. We are staring into the future, terrified, but facing it head on and not backing down.
However, here’s where the rub comes.
Upon arriving home, I saw two things online and on the television: support or confusion. There were countless posts praising the marchers, and from the marchers, all around the globe. Do you understand the magnitude of that? All 7 continents, and dozens of countries marched for America, for women, and for American women. When’s the last time you saw a march in downtown Washington, DC for another country? This is record breaking. It is historic. It is unprecedented. We, as Americans, and as humans, owe people around the entire globe a thank you for supporting us in a time where it feels like our own government isn’t. Thank you.
They got it. They were there, or they wanted to be. They saw the purpose. They knew what it meant and they knew why it mattered.
Then there were all the men and women who didn’t get it. Who said on social media that women were already free, so why are we complaining. Who talked on the news and boiled today down to a one topic issue (ie: abortion) and decided the whole thing was shit. Who said women in America have it better than women in some other countries, so we should be grateful. Who said…stop marching. There’s no point. It means nothing. You mean nothing.
And that, ladies, is why this post is called When Marching Isn’t Enough.
They weren’t there. They didn’t see the crowd of extremists with a megaphone shouting “fags will burn in hell” and the crowd of women singing love songs, arms linked, in front of them. They didn’t feel the strength and unity of women smiling and holding their head high despite the men in “Make America Great Again” hats on the side laughed and called out ratings for the women’s attractiveness level as they walked past, and the women who invited those men to march with us anyway because this march is so much greater than a new president. They didn’t see the women who had made hundreds of hats by hand and were distributing them freely to the crowd. They didn’t see the mothers who’d made snack bags for marchers just to make sure we were all okay.
They didn’t see the look on a woman’s face when she realizes her male coworker with less experience and time at the same job makes more than her. They can’t understand the frustration of paying exorbitant fees for birth control and pap smears when a man’s erectile dysfunction pills and prostate exams only cost a small copay. They didn’t feel the flush of humiliation when a strange man gropes us with zero regard for our wishes, reminding us that this body isn’t ours, but rather a dispensable puppet for any man’s fantasy. They didn’t feel the rise in blood pressure, the panic in our lungs, when walking alone and hearing footsteps behind you and quickly wondering what you’re wearing right now–would it look like you wanted it? They didn’t feel that sinking in their gut when the judge tells you the man who raped will only receive 3 months on probation because his future is more important than your justice.
They weren’t there.
So, ladies, bring the march home.
Teach the people around you what “equal rights” really means. Hold your head up high and don’t be afraid to ask for what you know you deserve. Educate the next generations on how we can do this better. We can demand better. Feel the strength of the millions of women who were there today now standing behind you telling you that you can do this. We got you.
You deserve equal rights. You deserve affordable healthcare. You deserve to make your own choices about your body. You deserve to feel safe from sexual assault. You deserve laws that will punish abusers. You deserve the same pay as your male counterparts. You deserve to be defined by who you are, not what sex organs you were born with. You deserve freedom.
It wasn’t enough to just march today and then move on. This isn’t over. This problem doesn’t just go away. In fact, it may get worse. Take the march home, ladies. Take it with you wherever you go.
Other “Read in 2016” Top Favs:
by Sarah Robinson
(Only $1.99 & #Free on KU)
PUBLISHED IN 2016 BY SARAH ROBINSON
by Sarah Robinson
by Sarah Robinson
by Sarah Robinson
Everyone who knows me knows that books are my favorite thing of all the things, because…books. However, in the spirit of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the shopping happening this week, I’m going to tell you some of my favorite things that won’t cost you a gosh darn penny and really have nothing to do with writing or reading, because why not?
Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite apps or programs that I use literally every day and kind of make my life. Everything on here, I’ve tried so you can be assured I mean it. However, keep in mind that for some of these I’m also using affiliate links which means I get a little credit, or some times a couple dollars.
Anywho, check it out and tell me in the comments which apps you use and love on a daily basis!
When I Can’t Save $ For Sh*t
A friend introduced me to Digit last Spring and it’s seriously been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself (aka, I’ve saved $2,000 without even trying). This is a real bank account (yes, real bank account with FDIC insured and the whole nine yards) that saves for you without you having to do a thing. It basically automatically pulls a few dollars here and there from your checking account and puts them in a Digit Savings Account.
How It Works: Set up the Digit app (also done via text) with your checking account and start saving! That simple! You’ll get weekly alerts (or more/less frequent if you want) and you can set how aggressively it saves for you. You can also transfer $ back to your checking account in 1 business day, and you get $5 if someone signs up with your link (Hint!). It won’t overdraft you either, but if on the off chance it does, it will reimburse you everything including the bank overdraft fee (you can also set it so it doesn’t save if your account is below a certain $ amount just in case this makes you nervous!). Now you’ll have a nice cushion of money for emergencies, or a fun goal like a vacation fund or car fund or whatever else you’re saving for! We’re saving up for a car (or maybe that mythical honeymoon we never had *sigh*).
Learn more about Digit at https://digit.co.
When I Don’t Know What’s Up In The World
Thankfully, a team of snarky, smart, sweet millennials is at the ready to give me the latest news in a less-than-2-minute read in my daily Skimm that goes out to millions of readers, including big-time celebrities like Oprah. Yes, this is Oprah approved! Also, this is bipartisan, so whoever you voted for, you can feel safe reading this!
How It Works: Every Monday through Friday, you get an email about the latest current events happening all around the world. You’ll sound a lot smarter at dinner parties and family gatherings because of it, plus Amazon Echo’s Alexa can read it out loud to you (set that up here) so you’ll feel knowledgable as hell during your morning pee! Side Note: They do have an app that’s $2.99/month and totally awesome and more in depth than the free email, but hey, free is free!
Subscribe to theSkimm today at theskimm.com.
When I Need A Happy Start To My Day
The Shine text has been my lifeline through this election season, and hell, every season. Every Monday through Friday at around 8:30am, I receive an uplifting text message about life, motivations, and positivity.
Here’s an example of the last text I got:
“It is not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.” Love. Connectedness. Stretchy pants. Take it all in today, Sarah. #ShineOn 🙂
Now who wouldn’t want to start their day off with a sprinkle of encouragement?
Sign up to receive your free Shine text at shinetext.com.
When I Can’t Wait 30 Seconds For The News
The Breaking News app is perfect for news junkies like me because I can get all the latest breaking news in one sentence or less immediately.
How It Works: Download the app to your phone and make sure notifications are set. Now pick up to 10 categories to be alerted on (like the election, US news, local news in your town, etc). If you want more than that, I think you have to pay for it. Now each time something happens, you’ll get a notification on your phone about it! You can get the gist from the notification itself or click on it to read more in depth.
Download Breaking News at breakingnews.com/apps.
It’s You. It’s Always Been You, Coffee.
I don’t get anything but a pat on the back from myself for telling you this, but if you’re a Starbucks lover, or even occasional buyer like myself, you need this app. I get free drinks all the time just by paying attention to their daily doubles or freebies or other cool promotional days. I also can order drinks from my phone and pay for it with my phone. In fact, if I don’t want to wait in line, I just order it from my phone ahead of time and swoop in at the last minute to pick it up while everyone in line stares at me with murder eyes. It’s fun to be hated by strangers.
How It Works: Download the app and link it to a Starbucks giftcard that you can reload again and again (or once you hit gold level, they send you a personalized gold card!). Order through the app and you’ll collect 2 stars per $1 spent. After 125 stars, you get a free drink of any size or type (you know my free drinks are the fanciest, biggest they have with 8 extra shots and would normally cost $20). It’s really easy to get to 125 stars without spending the $60-something you’d think you need to spend because Starbucks does tons of promotions for 50 free stars, 150 free stars, free daily double star points, free stars for ordering XYQ, etc. You just have to pay attention to the deals! 🙂 If you buy cheap drinks (think tea, coffee, iced coffee) instead of fancy drinks, then you really end up spending a lot less and getting the free drink sooner.
Break It Down For Me: For example, they recently had a deal where 9 purchases (over $1) within a week got you an extra 150 stars on top of the stars that each of the purchases normally gets you. By ordering 9 simple drinks like a grande brewed coffee between me and my husband, we spent $22.50 in a week and earned 150 stars, plus the 45 stars that our purchases got us (aka 195 total). In case that seems like a lot of coffee to you, I’m there every day all day writing so it’s kind of like rent to me (I seriously am talking like 50+hrs a week). That’s almost 2 free drinks right there (250 would be 2 free), and since I get a trenta-sized speciality holiday coffee drink with extra shots for my free drink (a $16.86 value according to my receipt), I pretty much paid $5.64 for 10 drinks, including a fancy as hell drink, and I’m only a few stars away from another free drink in a few days. Side note: I’m horrible at math.
Side Note for Writers: If you get regular coffee or iced coffee, and I think even tea, you can get a $0.50 refill if you’re still in the store when you finish it! You can hang out all day and drink 6 grande coffees for under $5 and only a minor heart attack. Talk about a cheap office! (Note: the 50 cent refills don’t earn you star rewards).
Join Starbucks Rewards at members.starbucks.com.
For more about Sarah Robinson and her books, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at eepurl.com/RUobv.
Trigger Warning: If you’re familiar with my blog, you know things are about to get real AF. You also know you’ll probably feel better at the end of this post than you do now when you realize you’re not alone…or maybe I’m just hoping I’m not alone. Either way, take care of yourself.
PS: I also curse a bit…because who doesn’t?
I didn’t get out of bed today, and I might not tomorrow. I might not the day after tomorrow either, and I’m trying to be okay with that.
I’m being slightly dramatic, since obviously I went to the bathroom and the fridge, then wound up on the couch wrapped in blankets with my laptop…but the feelings are the same.
When I first considered writing this post a few weeks ago, I was going to wait until I was “all better”. Until I was out on the other side, after I’d already reached the bottom and climbed my way up to the top. Because I will be up on my feet again…eventually. That’s how living the last two decades with Major Depressive Disorder works.
For a while, everything is okay. It’s tolerable, and some days, it’s even amazing. You’re happy and chill and things seem like they finally have all worked out. And you’ve earned it because you’ve been there, you’ve been at the bottom, you’ve gone through the worst, and you’ve paid your dues. This is your moment. This is what you were striving for during all those tears. It’s delicious and intoxicating…but it’s also fleeting.
Next come the days that aren’t so great, but not horrible, and that’s okay because it’s still not a depressive episode. It’s still tolerable, and you’re still managing your life.
But even that melts down over a few weeks, or months, or years that are hard. Really fucking hard. Your defenses are knocked down and one day, you just can’t put them back up again.
A little over a year ago, my walls started crumbling. My life suddenly didn’t look anything like I’d anticipated, or wanted. But I’m a strong woman–really damn strong, actually.
So, I powered through and tried to keep a smile on my face, and humor in my words.
I powered through a car accident. Through a miscarriage, then another, then another. I powered through losing people I loved, supports I’d come to depend on, and even the very basics of life–my home, my car, my income, my finances. I powered through losing my freedom, my weekends, or even remembering what a full fridge looks like.
Because I’m a strong woman, I powered through.
And then one day, I didn’t. My walls fell for the last time, and I scrambled like hell to find a way to build them back up, but found myself empty-handed.
I had nothing left.
I know the exact second it happened a little over a month ago now. I remember the feeling…one second I was there, then the next second I wasn’t. There was no specific trigger or reason or traumatic event that deserved this.
I’d given the very last of what I had, and now I was empty.
It was that simple. It was that fast.
I knew my next depressive episode had started…but no one else did. How could they? I still went through the motions, and met the bare minimums, and smiled when people asked how I was doing. Only my agent saw the pages I wasn’t turning in or the phone calls I wasn’t answering. Only my husband saw the daily tears, or found me crying curled on the shower floor unable to stand. Only my closest friends saw the emptiness in my eyes and probed further. Only I felt the physical pain of seemingly unbearable heartache throbbing in my chest.
People continued to love and laugh with my online posts or pictures, because they didn’t see that things had changed. I didn’t let them see. They cheered me on, and a few women have even told me they wish they were just like me. I’d smile and laugh it off, because they didn’t really know what they were asking for.
Sometimes I wish I was like the me they saw, too. But it felt like a lie….how could anyone want to be me?
I don’t want to be me.
They just love the online me. They think I’m great because they see the me who’s smiling and tells funny stories and writes sexy books and is always there to help other authors when they need it and so much more.
But that me…is me. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that I am both. I am all of those parts put together, and how could I want anything else?
I can be the woman laughing about a silly encounter with a stranger at the local coffee shop and the woman who feels everything is falling apart and she doesn’t know how to put it back together. I can be the author who helps her friends with their books and the author who didn’t write any words today because depression stole her motivation. I can be the happy fur-mom who posts a thousand pictures of her dogs and the almost-mom who’s lost three babies before she ever could hold them and tell them just how much I’ll always love them.
I can be both, and all of the above, because humans are so many puzzle pieces mashed together and it doesn’t always fit. The picture is sometimes blurry, but it’s all still me. I’m still me.
Someone told me once that I should always be striving to be my best self. Fuck that noise.
My best self is a full life, and that has to mean I won’t always be at “my best.” There will be tears. There will be grief and sadness and anger and hatred and an ache that feels it may never go away. And that’s okay, because my best self is also joy and love and kindness and celebration and everything else combined.
I’m choosing to live my full life, not my best life. To accept the down days and celebrate the happy ones. To appreciate the laughter because I’ve been best friends with the tears. To mope in self-pity where everything is horrible because the world is vicious and at the same time, be overwhelmed at the genuine kindness of strangers who only wanted to remind me this world can be so wholly beautiful.
My full life is wonderful and painful and joyful and devastating.
I am a strong woman…even when I’m not. I am kind, and loving, and difficult, but worth the trouble. I am all the things people tell me I am even when I don’t believe them. And in the same breath, I’m in so much pain that every breath feels like a question.
But, one day I won’t be. One day, I’ll smile and feel it in my chest, in the beat of my heart, and the lightness in my soul.
But not today. And maybe not tomorrow.
And that’s okay. That’s a full life.
Author’s Note: If you’re someone struggling with depression or feelings of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text the Crisis Text Line if you need someone to talk to in a non-life threatening crisis by texting START to 741-741. Please seek help if you need it. You are strong. You are brave. You deserve to be here.
For all the writer’s out there:
Set little, random word count goals for yourself with little treats and rewards along the way. I learned this trick from Rachel Hollis’ Snapchat, and it makes me so productive! I love it, and get in so many more words every day because of it! 😀
Also, I got this notebook at Staples or Office Depot, who knows, and it’s the brand Poppin (no, not a paid endorsement). I also have their pens, paperclips, and other random office supplies from them and I love it. Why? Vibrant colors! I need it for my creativity, and it works wonders.
So, go out to your local office supplies store and buy a notebook that speaks to you and makes you feel excited–be vain about it! Then come home and write all the damn words.
EDIT (9/1/16): I still do this today and it’s helped me write 3 books in the last 5 months! I’m unbelievably more productive, and loving it!
[This post was originally published on Sarah’s Facebook profile here. Please follow her there (or on her page) for the most up to date information. For book information, please subscribe to her newsletter here.]