To be a true feminist, I thought, I needed a women's studies degree and to get involved in politics and policy change. To be a feminist meant to be an activist.
But I wanted to be a writer, not a politician, and I have since I was 7 years old.
Then one day I realized that writing is a form of activism, that writing is a feminist act.
Just a cursory review of history will reveal that one of the primary ways society has sought to oppress and objectify women is simply by silencing them. So as a woman the very act of writing, the very act of sharing my story, has been an attack against patriarchy, whether I realized it or not.
But this isn't just about me and my voice. I've discovered that when I share my story something wonderful happens -- other women are encouraged to share their stories too.
For example, about two and a half weeks ago I shared a post about not wanting children -- a very difficult piece to write, indeed. But after I wrote it, several women reached out to me about also not wanting to be mothers and about being afraid or ashamed to share these feelings publicly. I urged all these women to share their stories and at least one actually followed my advice.
Yesterday, Dawn Keable featured my post "Why I'm Reluctant to Write About Not Wanting Kids," on her blog, and introduced my article with a story of her own, a story about how she and her husband have built a beautiful and full life together, without children.
I love that in her writing, Keable challenges the common notion that women who don't want children are selfish. She writes:
"And if you're judging my character or basing my self-worth as a person on whether or not I'm a parent, then that's an incredibly sad reflection. On you."
What story do you need to share? Will you do it?