Today I rose up. I danced. I held the hands of my sisters as we gathered in revolution to put an end to violence against women and call for social justice. We danced as one without fear.
We could. We were in Dallas at One Arts Square.
But in hundreds of thousands of places on this planet on this day, many women are too afraid to step out. Women are changing that. Collectively all over the planet (last year it happened in over 200 countries) we are One Billion Rising in a global movement for justice and an end to violence against women. It’s a dance revolution of women (and good men and sweet children) rising in love. I felt grateful for this movement, for change, and for lion-hearted women.
I am also grateful for someone I’ll call the girl in the grey sweater.
After we danced the One Billion Rising, we were loosely gathered listening to music, dancing, talking. Someone on the mic was talking about the importance of creating change so women can escape from violence. The girl in the grey sweater jumped up and shouted happily “I escaped this weekend!”
People heard her, but so much was going on there was not a response to her personal celebration. Women glanced her way, but did not respond to her jubilant proclamation. They stayed in the excitement of the event. They missed the opportunity to realize the meaning of it was standing there – right there – in a grey sweater.
She stepped a few feet a way. I could feel her sort of shrinking – not completely – just a loss of that rush of joy. I walked to her and asked what she escaped from.
She showed me the bruises on her arms.
We hugged. I cried a few tears of heartbreak and joy for her tenderness and bravery. She embodied the need for this movement. She also embodied the fearlessness a woman’s heart is capable of.
Blessings on the girl in the grey sweater. She ran on foot all the way from work some blocks away when she heard about the event. Bless her future. Bless her children.
I’m glad I met her. She’s a reminder to me not to let the “show” distract me from the meaning. It’s the personal that counts. It’s the person. Each one.
It’s not about the display.