I can’t imagine what a violent act, such as suffered by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, feels like. To have your life nearly taken, to battle back from against the odds, and then to work hard to try and ‘do’ your job.
I can imagine what it feels like to want to do your job, and be unable- because you have to focus on your health. To want to make a difference, change lives, and show people how politics can, in fact, work and give every citizen a voice.
Of all the work and hats I would wear at BlogHer, there was nothing I loved more than connecting women and elected officials. To put them on phone calls with the Speaker of the House and to introduce them to high-level White House advisors who would then invite them straight into the West Wing. Nothing made me feel like I was doing my job better, or working harder.
I have seen how powerful the connection can be between constituent and legislator and how it can bring about change. It can be civil. It can take away the nasty rhetoric and get us talking like a united country and it can empower average voters and humble powerful leaders.
I could have never of guessed my own recovery from Lupus would ever take this long. I wish Congresswoman Giffords patience as she focuses on her recovery, and speed. May she kick ass in getting healthy, because she inspires me to do the same.
I want to push myself harder so that when she returns to public office, I can return to connecting her with the millions of women with millions of ideas to change our country for the better…together.
I have watched, like much of the country, as her husband and family and friends have shown her so much love and support. We are two lucky women to have such great people surrounding us and cheering us on. More than once during my own dark, pain-filled times I have found myself thinking ‘What would Gabby Giffords do?’ Silly maybe, as we’ve never met…but she is someone I admire.
And as I wrestle with having to think ‘long term’ for my recovery, being out of work and focusing solely on getting healthy, I take a sort of solice knowing Congresswoman must focus on the same.
People tell me over and over and over again that I can’t take care of my children, change the world through my work, make a difference, unless I take care of myself first. It is an unnatural thing to do, at least for me. And even when I accept that this this truth, I have a hard time waiting for it all to happen. I do everything I am supposed to do, yet we have such a long way to go until I’m able to exercise let alone work. Small setbacks that feel like punches in the gut. Small strides forward I think I over exaggerate in order to feel better about just how long this process takes.
I know the feeling of gratefulness that comes with just being alive. When you realize what *could* have been and how lucky you feel to have those around you STILL around you. It changes you forever, violent act or devistating illness. Eventually you begin to put the fear aside and come crawling out of your new shell. More aware of what you have, more aware of what you could have lost, more aware of the little things in the once dull everyday that bring such joy that it’s almost too sugary, too mushy, too…too.
So it is with great respect I watch and listen and learn as Congresswoman Giffords resigns in order to recover. Perhpas, in a way, I feel validated in putting my health above my work and what I feel is a higher necessity to help our country in this time where pundits consist of who can be the most shocking, out of left field, lying, or downright evil.
But I get it. I get that tug of wanting to uphold responsiblities and take care of business. It may very well cause my Lupus to explode because I have to watch from the sidelines during Election 2012. Right now I want to be planning, laying my usual groundwork by ramping up apperences on news shows and speaking engagements. Making sure so many things are in place. I have no doubt coverage will be amazing but it won’t be how *I* would do it. Actually I have learned that nothing is how *I* would do it, from when I watch someone else cook dinner for my family to how I would get the kids out the door for school in the morning as I watch from the couch, too sick to participate.
Congresswoman Giffords I wish you much luck and love as you recover. I also hope that when you return to politics…when WE return to politics…the space isn’t as nasty, isn’t as volatile, and is ready for our way of creating change.