This year on Independence Day,
I feel particular gratitude for the strong, complex, and brave women whose journeys, traumas, and resilience have filled me with love and hope. They, as much as anything in my 42 years on this planet, have made me who I am.
And so how can I not view this holiday with profound irony? The irony that on July 4, 2022, as people enjoy picnics and light fireworks and wave the American flag, we as women have dramatically lesser rights over our own bodies than we’ve had for the past half century.
Growing up, the women who pioneered and fought for the independence embodied in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade were a beacon of inspiration for me, standing up for my right, as a woman, to choose my own path. It went far beyond abortion and represented the right to choose when or if you wanted to start a family. The right to live your own truth, find your own happiness, and walk your own path; independence from inordinate restrictions imposed on women by men, religion, society, or anybody wielding the perverse desire to control our lives.
I still remember the first time I saw the bumper sticker “Keep your laws off my body.” It was on the car of a fellow high school classmate, and I remember thinking fuck yes to being loud and proud of the sovereignty you own with regard to your body, and it inspired me at young age to attend protests, to turn out to vote, and to volunteer at Planned Parenthood.
Had I chosen to have a baby in my twenties, I would have either been a single mom living abroad, or, somehow, trying to be with someone who didn’t love me and didn’t want a child. Not only would I have been alone, but I would have been raising a human before learning to love myself.
*Photo by Emily Trombly
I found the love I needed through climbing, the community within climbing, and the confidence you gain from walking your own path. The love you feel when you connect with people who share the same passion. This love became a catalyst that allowed me to know myself, my own self-worth, and gave me the courage to start allez.
Now I am lucky enough to have found a partner who fits me, and through our quirkiness, love of climbing, humor, and caring, have become best friends. We may even try to start a family at this late stage…who knows, but only now am I ready and capable of giving the endless love, energy, and support needed to raise another human on this planet.
I look at what girls growing up will have to guide them in an ever-increasingly restrictive environment, and their future feels shrouded in grey.
As a women founder, climber, yogi, and human being living through this profound moment, the emotions and thoughts came in like a tidal wave, before the new reality washed over me.
Throughout all of this, I keep thinking about my own privilege in having had the access and means to have made the choice that was right for me. To live your life as you choose should not be a privilege but a basic right. It overwhelms me to consider all the women who lack the means or time or accessibility – now made far harder – to direct their lives and their futures. All of these things are real, and they limit the growth and potential of so many women.
I remain resolute that allowing women the autonomy to choose is the only path forward; the opposite, embodied in the recent repeal, feels like a step toward a dystopian future.
“The Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues – attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.” – Barack Obama’s words echo in my mind.
The most frustrating part is feeling powerless. I don’t know what, exactly or completely, we can do. But I do know that the power to appoint and confirm Supreme Court judges comes from our elected officials. And that elected officials make our laws, both state and federal. Ever hear the saying, all politics is local? Every election matters. Vote the bastards out.
*Photo by Kelly Cordes during the 2017 Women’s March in Denver, CO
I also want to do something now. So here, as a small, woman-run startup, through the month of July I am personally matching every sale on our website and on allez’s Amazon store with an equal donation to Planned Parenthood. It’s a small token that makes me feel less helpless. If you are reading, I trust that you care. Please, support women and support women’s rights, however you can, in whatever form, so that every day is Independence Day
*Photo by Logan Gloor