Self-Love and Equal Rights

Hello my readers! It has been a while, but not because I did not want to write, but because the last few weeks have been packed with uncertainty, stress, and anxiety, as well as growth. My energy was spent, and what little energy I had left needed to be on keeping me and my friends and family safe. It has been a rough couple of weeks, but I am excited to get back to writing.

By now I would think most of my readers might have hear about the wildfires engulfing the west coast of the United States – from California, to Oregon, to Washington. I just so happened to be living next to one of the fires that took place. In fact, the fire was only 10 miles away from my home. Smoke filled the air creating hazardous air quality for many who lived on the west coast.

My particular area was the worse in the state. To give perspective, the highest level on the quality air index that is commonly used ranges between 1 and 500. By the second day of raging fires, which happened after a massive historic wind storm, my area was in the 300s (the level of hazardous), within a day it jumped into the 500s, beyond the normal 500 max. On one day, the level in my area was close to 800! Doctors and scientist are unsure how those levels of hazardous air quality will impact the health of those subjected to it. For many staying indoors was all we could do to protect ourselves. But sadly, even being locked up the smoke was so bad it would will the house. As I was locked in my home, I felt all the signs of smoke exposure – headaches, nausea, coughing, irritated eyes, nose, and throat, and being extremely lethargic.

Personal image

The smoke was so thick outside, you could not see vary far. This lasted for 12 days, and we still have smoke coming and going. As I did the best to keep myself safe, while helping others, which included helping the Red Cross, I noticed how my energy was no more. The constant alerts of level 1, 2, and 3 evacuations created a PTSD feeling, that when my phone went off a strike of fear rushed through my body unsure if my area was next to go. Being ready with bags packed (which still are), creates a constant uncertainty of needing to be ready at a moment’s notice. Thankfully, the last couple of days my area got rain, but with it came thunder and lightning and mudslides in areas the fire had burned.

As the stories begin to trickle in of the over 500,000 people who evacuated and experienced loss in my state, my heart is in constant breaking. But here is the thing I know I am one of the lucky ones, I still have a home, I never had to evacuate, I am still alive, and I still have all my belongings. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost everything, and if you are so willing to help, I have linked organization (Red Cross and United Way)that are helping and could use donations. I encourage you to help in any way you can. I had dropped off supplies to the Red Cross during the thick of this, and the Red Cross is currently feeding 900 plus people in my area. We can use all the help right now, and I know my state would be forever grateful if you chose to help donate. And if you choose too, thank you! From the bottom of my heart, thank you! I also want to thank all the firefighters (from all over the country and Mexico), first responders, and volunteers. One thing I have learned from being so close to fire, is how valuable family, friends, and community is. Priorities shifted and relationships are very important and we need to be supportive and work with each other, not against.

Which brings me to my topic this week, womxn need to work together and continue to fight for equality, not against each other. Womxn need to stop bringing other womxn down. And men, we need allies more than ever! As I have heard someone say before, “men of quality do not fear equality”. The primary focus of my blog is on radical self-love and my journey as I discover it myself, but what I also have realized is how each of the women I discuss in connection with themes of self-love, all had to overcome societal and cultural barriers of oppression that were the original source of their lack of self-love. Ideas of women roles, looks, and how one should act constructed by the patriarchy, have had a level of influence on how women see each themselves and each other. Ideas of being “too fat”, “too thin” “too short”, “too tall”, “not sexual enough”, “too sexual”, “to smart”, “too dumb”, “too dark skin”, “too ambitious”, “too lazy”, the list can go on and on! It is sad that there is even a list. But hopefully you get the idea how society and culture influence self-love – messages, laws, and norms influence how we see ourselves and see others.

 Back in the 1970s in the United States, the women’s movement took place shortly after the Civil Rights movement. Today, the United States is seeing another social justice movement for Black Lives Matter, but I have a feeling history will repeat itself and a women’s movement is on the way, especially after the devastating news of Ruth Bader Ginsburg aka the “notorious RBG” passing on September 18. RBG was an incredible woman! She was an advocate for equal rights for all, but especially for gender equality aka women’s rights are equal rights! Making her way to the Supreme court in the 1990s during Bill Clinton’s presidential time, RBG took her place and continue to fight for gender equality. She saw many cases in her life about women oppression and the inequalities women faced in the USA.

“If you’ve never had a supreme court case

decide if you have the same rights as others,

you have privilege” – Unknown

Because of RBG, women have gained an incredible amount of more equality than ever before! However, I am sad to say that women still have a long way to go. And to make matters worse, whomever is placed in the spot RBG once held, could either push women forward in the fight of equality or can reverse many strides we have made over the years. As RBG said before, “women belong in ALL places where decisions are being made”. Women have been treated like second class citizens for a very long time, including today.

Think about relationships, the majority of women will alter their lives to support their man and/or family. Women will put aside their dreams because it was installed in us that women are the homemakers and men are the breadwinners. Now, times have change and there are many men who are feminist and support women and their dreams; side note, when I say feminist, it is not bra burning, man hating, ideas, but simply means women deserve equal rights as men. But there are many men who still believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Just the other day I was talking to a man who said that when he marries, the woman is suppose to be the one who takes care of the house and raises the child, as he is the head of the house and what he says goes, simple as that. I rolled my eyes and said to him, well that is not me and walked away. Self-love is to know your worth and value, by not realizing that as a woman we deserve equal rights, there is a lack of self-love because you know longer think you are equal to any human, and have already put yourself down. And putting your gender down, you are also not self-loving because you have put yourself in a category of hate. Women or Womxn need to work together and start lifting each other up and helping each other become the best versions that we can be! Now, we are all on our own journeys and not every woman will want to be the CEO of her own company, but might want to be a stay at home mom, and guess what that is perfectly fine! But whether she is a CEO or a stay at home mom, they both deserve equal rights and equal respect! The freedom to be who she is without the culture of shame, which is a culture of self-love and equal rights! So my warrior women, we need to come together and claim our rights to equality and self-love. As Sarah Moore Grimké said,

Let’s continue RBG’s legacy by creating our own and continuing the fight for women equality! Let’s lift women up, and stop tearing each other down. Let’s love ourselves enough to know our worth and what we deserve, equality! Rise up warrior women, we need to have our voices be heard more than ever, we need to keep the progress going, we need to create a world where our daughters do not have to experience the oppression women have been for years. Women let’s come together as one!

For now, my warriors – be loved, be kind, and know you are loved!

Until next time…

-Alyssa, the salt woman  

Donation links:

https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/2020/red-cross-response-to-western-wildfires.html

https://www.unitedway-pdx.org/resources-oregon-and-sw-washington-wildfires

Published by Alyssa - the salt woman

Alyssa Sperry is a classically trained Pastry Chef, certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Community Herbalist. After receiving her B.A. from Washington State University, where she studied anthropology and history, she began her graduate career in 2018 at the University of Oregon. She continues to pursue commodity research, focusing on food and foodways. Current research involves the history of salt production on the island of Jamaica.

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