So this happened…
This glorious encounter (pun intended, obviously) didn’t happen by chance. In fact, it required a lot of worthwhile sacrifice on my part. I drove almost two hours and crammed myself into the world’s smallest juice bar full of 75 passionate Hillary Clinton supporters. While waiting for Gloria to arrive, I spent a lot of time saying the following phrases:
- “I don’t want to volunteer.”
- “No, I haven’t officially decided who I’m voting for.”
- “I’m not going to knock on doors.”
- “I repeat, I do not want to volunteer.”
- “Just go away.”
Ok, I didn’t actually say that last one. Trust me, though, I was thinking it. While the event was technically a Hillary Clinton campaign event, I was just there to see Gloria Steinem. Not that I’m against Hillary (see bullet point #2).
Ok, fast forward through the people who spoke before Gloria (sorry Jeanne Shaheen, but I just don’t care). I was standing right at the front, in a prime location to snag a picture after. Gloria Steinem, at 81 years old, looked like a rockstar in head-to-toe black, with a silver belt slung low on her hips, big silver rings on multiple fingers, and lots of bangles on each arm. Oh, and she was sporting a killer black eye, which she casually said was obtained by tripping over a pothole.
Anyways, she spoke of Hillary’s experience and the importance of having a president who will fight for women’s rights. She talked about reproductive rights and closing the wage gap, not just for white women, but for all women. Gloria also read a passage from her new book, My Life on the Road, which I had finished reading the day before.
I then stood in line with older women who probably have been admiring Gloria for their whole lives and the girls my age who are grateful Gloria’s activism allowed us to be born into a more equal world. Only within the past year or so have I started to understand feminism, and I told Gloria this. I told her that her book has only furthered increased my understanding.
Standing in front of her as she signed my book, I thought of all she’s done. Like me, she started as a journalist in her twenties. Since then, she’s traveled the country and the world advocating for women’s rights and gender equality, things I could only dream of doing. Gloria has taught me something, though. You can’t just dream. You have to go do the things that you care about.
Like the elderly women at the event who are out campaigning so they can see a woman president in their lifetime, I have to go through life fighting for and doing the things I’m passionate about. In her book, Gloria said about her mother, “She never had a journey of her own. With all my heart, I wish she could have followed a path she loved.”
So, while I’m not yet sure what it will be, I know I’ll have a journey of my own.