I woke up this morning to a mirage of passionate words and colorful images on my Twitter feed. Today is the day of the Women's March - an event that so many of my beloved friends and family have been awaiting.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents and relatives that viewed my gender as secondary to my identity as an intellectual, creative artist. Even when I seemed to have forgotten this identity, caring way more about how others valued my more superficial characteristics, the mentors in my life challenged me to remember.
Lately, I've been pondering the reasons why it seems so easy to pit women against each other. What inherent fear makes us turn on one another at the slightest threat? My theory is that we are subliminally taught from an early age that we as women have access to very limited resources. Whether this is true or not, we compete as if it is. In my opinion, this is not true. Our resources are in fact endless. We own the world.
I admit, I haven't always felt this way. I've often sought to compete myself, even if part of this nature was subconsciously charged. The reason I've been able to alter this thinking somewhat is solely because of the fact that I have incredible women in my life - women who refuse to believe that competition is the only way - women who above all else are forgiving, insightful and compassionate. These traits make their incredible success seem secondary.
Today, I encourage you to thank the women in your lives for inspiring you. Share this message if you so choose or even better, share a message of your own. Beyond today, commit to learning from the women in your lives. Commit to listening to them instead of being threatened by their advice. And also, select all the people in your lives carefully. Choose men that encourage you to be a better woman. Choose men that aren't shy in telling you that your strength inspires them to be better men.
I got married recently and had the extreme pleasure of welcoming my best friends from across the years to New Orleans. Having all of them in one room was the most surreal and amazing feeling I've ever had. I was moved to see so many women that I'd known as girls shine so uniquely in such beautiful ways. I'm honored to be surrounded by such inspiring and open people - people who aren't afraid to tell me the truth - people who treat my cousin as their own younger sister - people who consistently choose love instead of hate, even when it's the hardest thing they've ever done.
I may not be marching physically today but I can assure you that I am still marching and believe that all of us have a responsibility to do so. Individually, we may be powerful, beautiful women. But together, we own the world. To all the women who have inspired me from my grandmother and mom to my aunt and cousin to all the incredible women in this photo to my newest friends, cheers to where we've been and most importantly, cheers to our future.
What are you marching for? Tweet your answers to @akkerani or email your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org