I decided to launch a design business this past summer. At the time, I couldn't have predicted that the very month all my planning, research, and preparation would finally come together would be the same month the Airstream renovation business I am starting with my wife would start to take off. How I could I have? That dream was a vague, far away notion up until only recently. More than any of this, I couldn't have predicted that the day I'd be ready to launch would be two days post the inauguration of the new president of our country.
Does this mean I shouldn't have launched these businesses? That I should have thrown dreams and months - hell, years - of work away? That I should turn my social media feeds into solely political campaigns? Should I cease to continue working toward the very thing that America is about - the freedom to chase those dreams?
As President Barack Obama said so beautifully in his farewell address:
What a radical idea. A great gift that our Founders gave to us: The freedom to chase our individual dreams through our sweat and toil and imagination, and the imperative to strive together, as well, to achieve a common good, a greater good.
Friends, dear friends, read that again.
Life will continue to go on. The world will continue to spin. This morning, my wife went to work. I sat down at the computer and had a consultation for a potential Airstream renovation, worked on contracts, launched this site, picked up a wood stove for our Airstream, began writing a Caravan story for The Modern Caravan, took a shower, ate lunch, had too much coffee. Our daughter went to Spanish and had recess on the playground. Tomorrow, we're printing postcards for the Women's March 10 Things for the First 100 Days , and we will each write one to each of our senators. Six postcards will be sent from our household, and we plan to print additional cards to hand out to friends, family, and co-workers.
Unfortunately, not everyone feels that my wife and I are doing enough. That launching (and running) our businesses, dreams years in the making, is petulant and petty in light of what we are facing as country.
I have to disagree. I believe firmly in the sage words of President Obama, a man I admire greatly and feel so proud to have voted for. We have the freedom to chase our dreams and give our time, to sweat, and to toil, and to use our imaginations, to come together to achieve a common and greater good, to fight for all human rights. As a gay woman, I have vested interest in fighting for equality. My wife and I understand firsthand what discrimination and judgment is. What it feels like to lose or never be given rights. We are fighting for every single minority, every single woman, every single human being facing injustice and inequality. We are not giving up anytime soon, but to be able to help others, we have to start at home.
Showing my daughter the value of hard work, showing her to chase after her own dreams, to not give up - this is just as valuable as when my wife and I sat down on Saturday morning and told her about the Women's March, and what it meant, and how we wished we could be there. As she nodded along, and expressed her love for all human beings, for us, her moms, her diverse group of friends, I saw her heart and eyes soften and cloud. Her heart is so compassionate, but it's also driven to succeed. To not give up. To fight. She has watched my beautiful wife and I work for our dreams and goals in spite of adversity, judgment, personal battles, family struggle, and the seemingly impossible. We've not given up when life's thrown us curve balls. Built walls that seem insurmountable. When life has taken away our dreams, we create new ones. Her little heart, her sweet blue eyes, have watched. She won't give up. She, of the generation rising up behind us, will be ready to scale any challenge thrown at her - she, at the tender age of seven, is already more peaceful, kind, open, and generous than most adults I know. She is already fighting this mess we all created.
If we don't start at home, if we don't seek after fulfilling lives that do more than just fill the soul, but provide the basics of survival - a roof over our heads, food on the table for ourselves and for our babies, places where we can come and cry at the state of the world, fall apart, seek sanctuary, learn, fail, try again, and grow - then we are no fucking good to anyone else, and that includes fighting for equality and human rights. The experiences that we've been both given and that we cultivate brought us to this place, on the right side of history. The peaceful, equal, loving side of history.
If we cannot treat one another as equals, we cannot expect others to treat us equally.
Sisters, my cry for unity may seem out of place on an interior design website. My work may seem trivial and unnecessary in light of the events taking place in our world. But life goes on. The world keeps spinning. We have to keep moving. We have to keep striving. For our dreams, for our babies, for each other. The world is a scary and troubling place, but we cannot cease to exist in our lives. Our spouses, our children, our very hearts - need us to not only exist, but to provide for them, to love them. We can't abandon life - every action we make starts at home.
We aren't only women who can band together and make our voices heard. By simply living our every day lives and sharing our lives as they are, from dreams to activism, speaks louder sometimes than being loud. We are mothers to our daughter, even though we are two women. We are mothers to our daughter, even though we are gay. We are wives to one another, even though others don't think our marriage is 'real'. We love our family, we love our friends, we create music and art and build businesses and a life together, even though we are two women doing what we can with what we have from where we are - to fight the good fight.
We start here at home, being a family, being together. In the past several days, both of us have felt the judgment from others for not being at the march - simply because we didn't have the photos to post on our social media feeds. What wasn't seen - was that conversation we had with our daughter, or the twenty hours we put in that day on our business and our future home, which are one in the same. Our daughter watched us work and listened to us talk about the march throughout the day. We showed her live video from those who were there, and raised our voices and glasses to the marchers. We talked to her and one another about the change and the action we would continue to make and do.
We can post on social media and use our platforms for good, for change - and also our work, our art, beauty. The world isn't suddenly without a need for dreamers and those who put beauty and inspiration into the world or in the lives of others. In fact, I'd say it needs it now more than ever. We need one another. We need to be building one another up, not tearing one another down for not doing enough. Before you throw that in someone's face, ask yourself first what you are doing. Casting blame and hurting others doesn't create unity, and it's time better spent resisting the patriarchy and fighting for our rights. First, start at home. Take small, steady, and sure actionable steps. Start conversations that spark change. Find balance in your social platforms to ensure you're sharing your life, your work, and what's right. Band together with your sisters and the supporting men in your life - don't cast judgment if someone couldn't make the march, ask them instead to help you and join forces from here on out. Remember that sure, it's a movement, not a moment, but that love should still, should always, be at the center of it all. Without love, then what are we working toward? What's this all about?
If you missed the link above about what you can do, here it is again: