Last night, I stayed up well past 2 a.m. writing manically about feminism and my deep, irritating desire to do more. My hands were shaking as I wrote, Ryan Adams playing on a loop while my grammar slowly disappeared into incomplete sentences and bad punctuation. It was dark and cerebral and oddly thrilling. Over and over, I wrote the same thing in a hundred different ways: I want more.
When I woke up this morning, I looked at what I wrote and wondered if I'd accidentally taken an illegal drug. There was an urgency that was embarrassing, but the message was still true. I do, in fact, still want more.
And by "more," I don't mean more money, more vacations or more iced chais and speciality egg sandwiches (although that would be nice too). I want to do more. I want to be more. I want to keep filling myself up. I want to craft a screenplay and write a memoir and attend seven writing conferences on how to stop pinning "Easy Buffalo Chicken Casseroles" and write well-constructed sentences instead.
I want to keep moving forward.
I don't know if it's living the life of a writer without a Xanax prescription or being a woman, but "wanting more" often feels greedy, or worse -- entitled. I look at my pretty post-grad life with my tall, med student husband and two bright-eyed babies and I let a voice say, "This is it. You don't get anything else." I have been too lucky already. Terminal cancer, a five-car pile up or some sort of other unspeakable tragedy is only one blink away if I'm not thankful. I shall not want for anything else. I will squelch all the earnest, fervent, feminist feelings!
And I hesitate to use that word, as it's been made into such a stupid spectacle. A click-bait buzzword for celebrities and high school friends to scream about on Facebook to garner likes and/or disapproval. If anyone bothered to look in the dictionary, feminism is simply men and women having equal rights. You know, treating everyone like a human. Isn't everyone a feminist? WHY ARE WE STILL SPEAKING ABOUT THIS.
We are still speaking about it because wanting more as a woman is different than wanting more as a man. And as hard as we fight it or say it's not real or retweet interviews with Lena Dunham, I still find myself defending the point that I'm still a person.
It is tiring and also a little bit boring.
Look, it is OK if you want to take a week or seven years or forever to watch your kids grow and smell the tops of their heads. But it is also OK to want that and something else. To go to nursing school or go back to teaching or take out another loan to attend a $500 dollar writing conference.
This is not a time to debate working or stay-at-home mothers (let us please put that to bed). Instead, this is a time for one woman to say to another woman, "I heard you wanted to start an Etsy shop/write a book/volunteer at a women's shelter, and I think that's a great idea. How can I support you?"
It is no small thing to be championed.
It is OK to want more.