My Body, My Choice

By: Nia Alavezos

I’ve donated to Planned Parenthood every month since the election. I will continue to donate money once a month for the next four years, and if I have to, the next eight. On the night of November 8th, a fire ignited in my soul through the tears and the anger; I was prepared to fight for my fellow women. I was prepared to fight for my fellow Americans. I was prepared to fight for the future of this country.

I didn’t know what to do or what to think. I felt hopeless, disgusted, and ashamed as an American, but most of all – as a woman. On the day after the election, after this country turned back the clock a few hundred years, I could hear the cries of women all over the world echoing throughout the streets as the day progressed. I could see the pain in women’s faces as I passed them, their somber looks directed towards me as we both tried to look for reassurance in each other’s presence. I will never forget the sense of dread that hung over this country, this evil feeling that continues to grow day by day with the new administration.   

How was I supposed to look up to a man who had openly bragged about sexually assaulting women? A man who bragged that his money and fame allowed him to touch any woman he saw fit? How could I take this country seriously when there was a misogynist at its helm, pulling strings with an equally horrific unqualified team to slowly have my rights taken from me? How was I supposed to accept the fact that I will have other people dictating what I should do with my body? How is this my President? How was I supposed to feel safe now?

The day after the election the heavy sighs of women mingled with the wind; women who fought for our voice many moons ago, who fought for their bodies in hopes we wouldn’t have to live through what they endured; women who fought to be heard in a sea of men, for the right to vote as equals. I could feel the women of yesterday looking down from wherever they were in disbelief, trying to touch our souls in subtle ways, trying to whisper in our ears that everything would be OK – it couldn’t get any worse than this.

When I walked into work on November 9th, the air was heavy. None of my co-workers looked the same. We all looked like we had fought through a World War – little did we know the fight was just beginning for us. In the week leading up to the election we were all hopeful, full of pride and optimistic at the thought of where we could go as a country. We were all excited for the future, for the promise of tomorrow. Now, we’re all terrified; we fear what tomorrow will bring and the news that will fill our social media feeds.  

I comforted one of my distraught co-workers that same day. He’s well into this 40s – tall, perfect posture, and accompanied with short subtly greying hair. “I’m afraid,” he whispered to me, tears forming in his eyes. “They’re going to take away everything my husband and I fought for. I can’t believe I’m going to have to fight for my rights again.” I told him that everything would be fine, that that could not possibly happen, that they couldn’t reverse what’s already been achieved. I didn’t know what else to say, but I wasn’t even sure of my own words. Despite the uncertainly, we still tried to unite through the wave of hatred that was forming a tsunami in the distance.  

I wanted to march the streets with my fellow Americans after the election results came in to shout my anger and frustration to the heavens. I wanted to curse Donald Trump’s name and throw my hands in the air, middle fingers at the ready. But I knew that could only go so far; all the shouting, signs, protests, and insults could only do so much. Why protest when the damage was already done? Millions of kind souls couldn’t reverse the choices that some Americans made that day. So instead I donated. I donated to Planned Parenthood. I donated to ACLU. I donated to Earth Justice. I tried to make a difference where it would actually matter.

Just last week I got a letter from Planned Parenthood, thanking me for my generous donations from the last few months. Even though it was probably a generated letter to all who donated since the election, I felt the warmth from Cecile Richards. I felt the love from Planned Parenthood. They also sent me a reversible sticker that could go anywhere.  

I wear that sticker from Planned Parenthood proudly on the back of my car for all to see, like a badge of honor. When I look in my rear view mirror and see it reflecting light from the sun, it brings a smile to my face. I’m proud of that sticker. I’m proud of the money I’ve donated. I’m proud of what people are doing to come together for Planned Parenthood and for women all over the world. I’m proud of what Planned Parenthood has done for women throughout the years and what it will continue to do. The sticker is the start of the good fight, a little glimmer of hope in this world; the sun trying desperately to shine its rays through the thick ominous clouds.   

I will always proudly stand with Planned Parenthood.

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