Some of my very favorite things on this earth are flowers. I love their silky petals, the gazillions of hues, and the gentle unfurling of their blooms. Be they bouquets, potted, or simply wild, it is near impossible for a flower in any form to not inspire a sense of serenity throughout my entire being. Leisurely they grow, but they grow, nonetheless. In that, I am much akin to the blossoms which I love.
I can’t recall the exact moment when I first learned about feminism, but it must have been around seventh grade. I was immediately taken with the idea of equality and women’s empowerment. My initial understanding of the movement was only concerned with encouraging ladies to be their best selves. Not a horrible start, but it was rather lacking.
Now, I am aware of issues which I never would have even dreamed existed in my earliest days of activism. Each day, I learn more about this movement that I am so passionate about. It’s truly incredible and astonishingly eye-opening. You never realize the sheer enormity of the problems faced by people who do not fit into the strict confines of the average man. People of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBT+ community, women, and the economically disadvantaged all face issues that many are simply unaware of. Even when these issues are brought to light, they are often met with disdain or regarded as “fake” or “exaggerated”. Feminism fights for these groups, even when others refuse to acknowledge the problems at hand.
As I have gotten older, my definition of feminism has changed. The way in which fight for equality has changed. Most importantly, my perception of those who need feminism has changed. I have grown. Like my flowers, I have progressed. Slowly, of course, but also surely. I am constantly striving to better myself, in order to aid in bettering the lives of others to the best of my abilities.
It is impossible to start out knowing everything, but it is essential to strive to learn as much as possible. Not being perfect in your feminism is understandable. However, not attempting to further it and learn about more issues is unacceptable. You cannot make a few meager comments about the pay gap and call yourself finished. You must constantly strive to further your knowledge and your fight for equality.
Making mistakes is just a part of life. It happens to even to the best of us. The important thing is apologizing for and moving on from your mistakes. I have said and done things that are not feminist in the slightest, but I have recognized these things and vowed not to repeat them. It’s fine to not always be perfect, as long as you can accept that you are not always perfect.
Thank those who call you out on your wrongdoings. The majority of the time, they are only trying to help you! Each new issue you discover is like a petal on a flower. You don’t know how many petals there are, or how many issues you must be made aware of, but as long as you continue to blossom, you are on the right path. There is a whole garden of issues to be made aware of and one can never cease learning. The only thing you can do is continue to make yourself aware of issues and continue to fight. Fight insolence, ignorance, and inexcusable actions of others with flowers. Flowers of knowledge, awareness, courage, conviction, and tenacity.
Simply keep awareness in mind throughout your fight. If one wishes to learn and recognize the faults in their actions, don’t hesitate to inform them of their wrongdoings in a kindly manner. Some may not care to grow, content with a garden filled with weeds. Don’t be that person. Be willing to grow and to aid others in their growth through explanations brought forth by love and knowledge. Do not bash those who wish to learn and are simply unaware of their problematic ways. Encourage and enlighten, always.
Embrace the way you flourish through knowledge. Don’t shy away from it for fear of being in the wrong. Recognizing your own faults is the only way in which you can bring to light the faults of those around you. Aid others in the growing of their gardens and soon you will be surrounded by the sweet scent of flowers and justice*.
*Justice has the distinct scent of honeysuckles and green apples