It’s Women’s History Month, and I’m Exhausted.

This Women’s History Month feels different. 

After working in women’s rights spaces for so long, I know I’m supposed to respond to devastation with hope and defiance, but what I’m really feeling this March is exhaustion and anxiety. And I don’t think I’m alone. 

Any day now, a Texas Judge could ban abortion medication nationwide. In a couple of weeks, the House will vote on a bill that would ban all trans women and girls from participating in women’s and girls’ school sports. Every hour, we’re living through assault after assault on our lives, bodies, and freedoms. Yet we’re expected to keep fighting, acting as if this is a battle we can win by chanting, singing, and holding picket signs. 

While we have fought, yelled, and screamed, we have seen time and time again that one man’s vote can nullify the futures of millions of people. They take away our voices simply because they can. 

As a woman of color working predominantly in progressive and women-dominated fields, I am constantly bombarded with messaging spinning the worst moments of our lives into anecdotes to fuel resistance and hope. 

I don’t mean to say this messaging isn’t important or that we should give up when our rights are pried from our cold, dead hands. I’m just wondering if our ability to turn outrage into action is becoming an overwhelming task rather than an opportunity for self-care and community building. I’m wondering if this positivity in response to misogynistic lawmaking is no longer a sustainable method of activism. 

The thing about narratives telling us “there’s no denying everything around us is burning and your rights have been irreparably violated by five old dudes who will be in power until they die, BUT let’s protest outside their massive building while they don’t pay attention” is that we have no time to rest. It’s suddenly our responsibility to change the minds of people in power who have no incentive to listen to what their constituents truly want or need. 

Now, I don’t mean to diminish the power of protesting. However, I’m sick of the idea that protesting will solve all of our problems. I’m sick of having my freedoms and rights stolen and being told that it’s awful, but it’s up to us to create change. I’m sick of the people we elected to serve us not doing their jobs and instead serving their own religious beliefs, their own wallets, and their own families. And I refuse to believe that I’m alone. 

Frankly, as I sat down to write this, I was wondering how I could spin this Women’s History Month into a positive moment for change and introspection, and as I reflect on my thoughts, it still feels impossible. Instead, I’ve realized that we’re the ones who must do the hard work since our rights are being mistaken for privileges by our lawmakers. I’ve realized that even when all I want to do is give up and cry, I must move forward because my government won’t do it for me. 

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in women’s rights and progressive spaces it’s that our change must come from our anger, our exhaustion, and our sorrow. 

When they took away Roe, we showed up to ballot boxes across the country, proving we weren’t going down without a fight. When they refused to treat pregnant people with dignity, we organized, forming a coalition with both legislators, activists, and voters and finally passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. 

Our government has always chosen to wage a war on women’s rights, bodies, and freedoms. Yet, our outrage and our determination to fight like hell for what we deserve is what keeps us not only on the right side of history, but on the winner’s side of history.