Be Strong, Speak up and People Will Listen

My Senior year of high school was full of AP classes, college courses that I was taking to try to eliminate courses I would need when I actually got into college.  Everyone in my school took Psych AP.  EVERYONE.  They all said the teacher was fantastic, the course itself was so interesting and best of all most of my friends would end up in my class with me!

In high school, I wasn’t the activist I was now.  I thought a lot of things and wanted to get involved but I never really had the confidence to do so.  I remained silent.

The very first day in my Psych class, we went through the usual introductions and met our outspoken teacher.  He was the kind of teacher full of energy and willing to push the rules a slight bit….

We began our very first class discussion about the differences between men and women.  As he lectured the topic slowly shifted to the reasons why men’s sports were much better than women’s.  Men were more entertaining and better athletes.  He just went on and on and on, bringing up ‘facts’ about how all the major games are men’s sports, the majority of the money from the school is received by the men’s teams, maybe if women’s teams were better athletes, they’d have more viewers, women’s sports were a joke.

I sat there stunned.  My heart was racing and more than anything I wanted to just scream at him, how dare he say that?  Those were blatantly sexist statements!  Women’s sports were a joke???????  I just sat there dumbfounded with my mouth open, looking around to see if anyone else was as surprised as I was and I wasn’t alone.

He continued bringing up what he called ‘facts’ and finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.  He said “women aren’t even in racing because they can’t do it.” and that was my last straw.  As many of you know, I was raise around Drag Racing and was always well aware of how women were viewed in the sport.

My hand shot into the air.  It was like it flew up all on its own, I had absolutely no control over it.  He paused and looked at me and said yes?  I told him “You know you’re wrong.  Shirley Muldowney began racing cars in the 1970s, she was a top fuel driver and men in the sport told her to get back to the kitchen where she belonged but she never listened to them and beat them.  Rhonda Hartman-Smith was another woman racing top fuel, Angelle Sampey races motorcycles and Melanie Troxel is coming back into the sport.  Who told you women can’t race cars?”

It just came out of my mouth and there was no way to stop it.  Just like my hand, it was a knee-jerk reaction, it just happened.  I had never spoken out like this to anyone, ESPECIALLY to a teacher or any adult in an authoritative position.  That statement stopped the few boys from laughing in the class and several more girls began to speak out.  However, it didn’t phase our teacher at all, he tried to argue with me and just make a complete joke of what I had just said.

The worst class in the entire world finally ended and I just unleashed my thoughts about this teacher to my friends who were with me.  How could everyone like him so much when he is so rude and narrow minded!!?? 

That night I went on my computer and made a list starting in the early 1900s of women in racing and their accomplishments, stapled it together and was ready for battle the next class period.

We all sat down, waiting and then he entered the room.  He started by saying he wanted to talk about yesterday’s lecture and I prepared to raise my hand again.  Then he dropped the bomb, it was an experiment, he didn’t actually believe any of what he said.  My mind was blown.  He went on to explain different concepts that applied to reactions by the class.  Then we continued our studies. He was not the horrible sexist monster I had battled with the day before!  He ended up being one of the greatest teacher I had during my high school career.

At the end of class, I went up to him and I told him I almost dropped the class! He told me that I surprised him, I seemed quiet and not the person to speak out first.  I laughed and presented him the list I made the night before to which he laughed and leafed through the pages.  He said “I like your dedication, you’re smart, you know how to argue.”

It was a long while after my senior year in high school, not until my senior year in college, that I remembered that I have a voice too.  I can speak my mind, I can argue intelligently about topic.  Instead of living a life of self doubt, lacking the confidence to say what we feel, we should all remember how capable we are and how our actions affect those around us.  I was the first to speak up in class during this experiment and after me other girls followed.  What if I had said nothing?  Would anyone have tried to say something?

Change happens when one person speaks.  That’s all that is needed, one person to raise their hand.  I’m not saying I changed the world in the slightest by that class room demonstration.   However people often say 2 things to me

1.Why do you keep talking about this stuff, nothing you do is going to change anything.

2. You should really just stop talking about this stuff.  Stop pulling out the feminist card (latina card, white card and the list goes on, who knew I was carrying so many cards with me?) every 5 seconds.  The only reason these problems like exist is because people of you keep going on and on and on and on about them.  If you just stop people will forget about it and they will be fine.

Each time these things are said to me, I remember that when one person speaks, those with similar beliefs go to them and then a group is formed.  That group grows and grows and grows until major changes are be made.  That is a fact.

I will never stay silent because as a society have the ability to change.  We have come so far, but there’s more to be done, not only in the states but around the world where women aren’t so lucky.

Don’t let lack of support or criticism of your voice ever stop you.  Be strong, speak up and people will listen.

♥ Meggie

Inspire Me, Change My Life

Some people think too much, worry they’ll never have a voice to be heard so they never act, they never give their voice to a cause.  Then there are some that inspire other, give people something to fight for, act as their muse.  These people might not even realize what they are doing, that they are the motivation for another.

First, before I go any further, let me tell you a little about myself.  I was a quiet, timid, self-conscious girl with so many ideas and a desire to help everyone around me, but so afraid to stand up for anything alone, afraid of not being taken seriously, afraid of not being successful at something.  I always had this, what now seems silly, this fear of what would happen if I actually did something, if I spoke out, wrote a blog, talked to someone I didn’t know, got involved.  Sometimes I still feel that way, I’ve never written a blog and I do have that fear of a negative response, but I think that’s just a human response, the fear of rejection, even if it’s just over the internet.

Like I said, I always had ideas and desire, always wanting to help but I just never was able to get the courage to do so all by myself.  Then I met him.  I met him in October of this past year and my entire life was just flipped upside down.  At first there was more bad than good, just a bunch of problems because of different values because we were so different and were both as stubborn.  Then don’t forget the external problems, completely out of our control.

It felt like we had come from different worlds, well we did come from different worlds.  We were the type of people who make it in movies but not in real life because movies always have happy endings, the type of endings that make the Lifetime channel interesting to women, the kind of endings where both people are from different worlds but face the odds and get married with their white picket fence, 2.5 children and dog, but that could never happen in real life right?

We broke up and only a few short months later we were back together, both of us knowing that for some reason we were incredibly drawn to each other and couldn’t be apart.  even through all the chaos, we were like puzzle pieces that just fit together, but you really couldn’t see the entire picture yet because the puzzle wasn’t finished, there was still work to be done.  So that’s what we did and the work began.  We had hour-long discussions and talked and discussed and then talked a little more.  Now we’re better than ever, understand how each other grew up, our differing values, what we’re looking for and how to better communicate with each other.  We’ve worked on our puzzle and are starting to see how the whole picture fits together and as time goes on, who knows?  We might actually finish that picture.

I know he’s had some problems in his past, walked down the wrong roads, met the wrong people.  He has made his share of mistakes but is determined to change, change his life for the better.  It is one of the things I love about him.  He is an amazing person, so strong and determined, anything that needs to get done he does it, even if he has to do it alone.  This was something I was never able to do.  I’m challenged by him to become a stronger person myself and because of him, because of how strong he is, I had a cause to fight for and wanted to be a better person.  I would have never wanted to run 2 Facebook pages or write a blog or do any of the volunteering work that now makes me so happy.

It took one person to give me the strength and inspiration to accomplish everything I have been dreaming of, everything in life that makes me happy.  Only one person, one person who supports me in anything and everything I do.

Who knows?  Maybe you could be that inspiration for someone you love, someone close to you.  You have the power to make a difference, not only in a volunteering situation, but even in everyday life.  My boyfriend wasn’t volunteering to help me, he was just an amazing person who made a difference in my life.

Always remember, you’re one person in the world, but sometimes it only takes one person to make a world of difference.