Forget guns, and Bruce Willis movies, I love Bruce Willis movies, but forget about 'em, because that is not what strength is about.
I heard two things today that just made me feel hope; a kind of hope I haven't felt in a long time. A hope that strength is in fact being redefined, despite humans' best efforts to keep it a power-over situation instead of power-with.
First, I saw the video that showed that the Pope had detoured on his way to a working-class Roman neighborhood, and stopped, unexpectedly, in a shanty-town to bless and connect with the people there. They were so happy to see him, and he walked among them without even a hint of ego; he was one of them, and he knew it, even if possibly they did not.
Second, I learned that President Jimmy Carter, who has just been diagnosed with cancer, is devoting the rest of his life to women's rights.
So, the Pope first: This man demonstrates a courage to buck all of the norms of the largest business - yes, the church is a business - on earth. He has ticked people off by being compassionate, outspoken, and anything but rigid in his views. He takes tremendous heat for being incredibly christian (small "c") his approach to the world, rather than clutching at outmoded, damaging rules from another era. THAT IS STRENGTH!
President Jimmy Carter...all I can say is "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" Thank you for having the cojones to speak up on our behalf!
We have heard so much lately about the crucial matters of rights for African Americans, and we have turned a corner with gay rights that would have been unthinkable ten years ago. And through all of this, as I have supported, and spoken up, and celebrated, and grieved, and raged, something has been in my mind:
When is it our turn?
You may say that the fight for women's rights is done - we have them, you may say - and you would be dead wrong.
That we still have people like Trump saying that you "can't rape your own wife", is a travesty. It is a small proof of a huge reality: just as the African American lives in a different country from the secure white man, so too does the woman. It's just a lot quieter. And that has to stop.
There have to be voices raised, and truths told, and the strength needs to be gained to say what we think and feel and know what we know, even if it goes up against our Good Girl rules of being "nice" in order to be "liked".
The hell with "liked". We have to want something else far, far more than "being liked". We have to hunger for it. We have to be introduced to the experience of it, and we have to become addicted to it so that we will stand up for it as Gandhi stood up: in persistent insistence because nothing else would be tolerated. What am I referring to? The right - THE RIGHT - to be authentic, visible, powerful, and to be respected for that authenticity, visibility and power, rather than punished with violence that is physical, emotional, and televised. Every single day.
This is why I started Goodbye Good Girl: To give women the experience of having their voices, their strength, and the community to be visible, respected, and safe.
Lori Ellen Kirstein is a motivational speaker and writer, a professional actress/singer, whose mission is to empower women to know their Strength, to express themselves, to define themselves in empoweringly truthful ways, and to have a nourishing, powerful impact on the world, individually and together.