Vote For Yourself First

Last night I watched the documentary Knock Down the House. It follows four women across the US running for Congress in 2018 and their struggle to unseat the big-money politicians in their districts.

It was gritty and heart wrenching and in the end crazy-freaking-inspiring. As the credits rolled I found myself fired up and wanting to serve. I was thinking, “Shit, maybe I should run for office!” And for a hot minute I was serious.

But as the movie faded to black and the tears on my cheeks dried, I realized that what was touched in me went far deeper than I’d first thought. It wasn’t about politics. It was about power.

Seeing those women claiming their power, taking up space and allowing their voices to be heard lit a fuse in me that isn’t going to soon burn out.

There were two particular scenes in the movie that I felt like all women and little girls need to watch.

In one Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is sitting on her sofa preparing for a debate and is physically waving her arms around. She is saying out loud to herself that it’s okay to take up space, that what she has to say matters and that she is not as inexperienced or insignificant as her opponent is undoubtedly going to try to say that she is.

My first reaction was to get angry.

Why do we as women have to remind ourselves that our voices matter? Why do we have to go through the motions of pushing our energy out and claiming the space around our bodies? It’s bullshit. And yet, it’s the current state of affairs.

But once I got past being mad, I saw the beauty and power in what she was doing.

So we as women have been systematically stripped of our power over centuries? Yep.

So we’ve been told that we shouldn’t be seen or heard and that who we are doesn’t matter? Yep.

But here we are reclaiming that space, reclaiming our voices, reclaiming our power. It isn’t fair, but then again, we’re not victims. We’re powerful fucking sorceresses. So fair doesn’t matter anymore. We’ve moved past the point of being distracted by wallowing in the unfairness of it all, and we’re taking action.

And that feels so. much. better.

The second scene that got me was the moment when Alexandria goes to the polls to vote for herself. It’s a visual we’ve seen over and over again on the news in election after election, and yet somehow this moment was different.

We have to vote for ourselves.

After all the campaigning, all the talking, all the pavement pounding and rallying and crying out for change…at the end of the day, you have to be the one to vote for yourself.

So simple, yet so deeply important.

I felt something energetically shift for me as I watched her march to the poll holding hands with the people she loved. I felt her confidence, her bravery, her belief in something better, and I felt all those spaces in myself too. I saw in a moment all the ways in my past that I hadn’t voted for myself, all the times I’d relinquished my agenda for someone else’s, and I vowed to never do it again.

You see, I think what’s most important about that film isn’t just the women it’s going to bring to office; it’s the women it’s going to bring to themselves. It’s a spark that is lighting the fuse of power in so many of us, and whether we fan that fame in politics or not, the fire isn’t going out any time soon.

I realized that the best way I can serve is by continuing to be me. By continuing to stand up for my voice. By continuing to take up more and more space.

I don’t yet know all the ways that will unfold, but I damn well know I’m going to vote for myself first.