By: Nina Motlagh
Over the past few weeks, my perspective on my impact on the world has gone from utterly hopeless and useless to extremely powerful and important. After seeing the real, substantial changes happening as a result of the Women's March as well as the various forms of resistance across the country, my hopelessness transformed into an extreme feeling of gratitude and strength. What I do, what WE do together, actually matters. It is important to remember this moving forward, because there are so many sources trying to tell us that we cannot cause any form of change. This is WRONG. The power of the people outweighs the power of the few who are "leading" the country. We cannot crumble under the false notion that our actions are ineffective. My own experience under the current political atmosphere has been undulating in terms of the way I feel and the actions I take. I spiraled into a fit of depression, the second I have ever been through in my life. I stopped eating well. I stopped taking care of myself. After the
inauguration, Trump's executive orders came in crushing, racist waves that targeted me as a woman, and me as an Iranian descendant. I have never felt so personally attacked by a governing figure. I study and try to understand the attacks on POC through the eyes of black Americans throughout our history and today. But now I actually felt the feeling I had tried to understand for so long. The feeling of your rights being stripped from you for no reason other than a white man said so. The feeling of being identified as different, as separate, because of ethnic ties. My heart aches for my Iranian people. For my fellow WOC. For the massive number of refugees that are fleeing their own homes just to come to a country that calls them terrorists- falsely accusing them of being their own attackers. This is wrong. So, so wrong. I fell into a pit of fear and anxiety that I could only fathom when in the presence of family, of others who feel the same. Then, something amazing happened. I marched in the Women's March, and became surrounded by thousands of other humans, of all backgrounds and genders, who were there fighting for me, fighting for each other, fighting for those who have no voice against the injustice that is happening to them. For the victims of Trump's blatant racism and disregard for humanity. It was the first time I felt hopeful since the election. In the weeks following, changes were happening. Senators and congressmen received a plethora of calls from angry constituents, and many of them (though not all) listened. Cities sued the administration over the ban. The ACLU raised a record-breaking amount of money and continues to take Trump to court (and they keep winning). After millions deleted Uber because of their affiliation to the ban, Uber pledged to donate to ACLU and provide lawyers to their immigrant drivers. These are real, substantial changes that happened because of US. Because we stood together. It is no surprise that you do not see these positive changes blasted all over the media. You seldom find hope on any media outlet. You must do your own research to find what impact we have when united. I started taking better care of myself. I realize now more than ever that if I do not take care of myself, I can never help anyone else. YOU must realize this too. The first step towards bettering the world is to better yourself.
Drink tons of water. Eat good, nutritious foods.
Give yourself at least twenty minutes of nothing but catching your breath and re-centering yourself.
The resistance needs your strength.
I now have a mantra that helps me stay focused: resilient. consistent. resistant.
I am resilient because every time I hit rock bottom, every time something drags me into the darkest depths of myself, I have pulled myself back up. I never stay at my lowest point. I continue to rise, to conquer new demons, to find strength that I never knew I had. I am consistent because when I am able to regain the rhythm of my life, I make sure I flow to it every. single. day. One day at a time, one step at a time, I continue pushing forward in a pattern that aligns with my beliefs and my purpose. It is not easy. But it is the only way to progress as an individual, and as part of the fight against fascism. I am resistant because I refuse to accept any boundary that is set for me by anyone outside of myself. I resist the fictitious limits and uniformity that our government and society tries to uphold. As a woman of color, a child of immigrants, a descendant of an Islamic republic, a millennial; there are so many expectations and standards that are created to keep me in check under all of those labels. I REFUSE to live my life parallel to them. And you should too. I am resistant to the new reforms and laws that are based in racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. I refuse to look the other way while all of this happens.
I will RESIST.