I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we hide who we are and choices we make in our lives from others to avoid judgment. Why do we do this? Why do we care what others think?
I am currently on the hunt for a new house. As I’m filling out application after application, I notice myself pause at the same thing, the employment section. I’ve worked for progressive organizations before and never would have such pause, but now because I work in the abortion field, I am a little nervous every time the subject of my job comes up. What will they think? Will I get denied? Am I going to be more scrutinized than others?
The same issue comes up when I’m meeting someone, and the inevitable “safe” questions of what you do comes up. I find myself dancing around the subject, trying to avoid talking directly about what I do. I feel people out by saying I’m pro-choice and work for a pro-choice organization. I gauge their reaction, and if it’s positive, then I’ll be more specific. Still, rarely do I say what I do exactly. While I love the work I do, I don’t want to debate abortion every time I have a random conversation. I’m just tired of feeling like I have to apologize for who I am and what I do. Why can’t the world be pro-choice?!
I have been noticing myself thinking about this when I’m working. I notice on paperwork all the time when it says not to leave a message, leave only your name, or we’re given a safe, fake name to use. When I call and someone else answers the phone, I get nervous when they ask what I’m calling about. Oh, it’s just “Tiffany” calling her back….she’ll know what it’s about, and she has my number. I wonder why these women feel shame. I wonder why they have to feel shame. Why does abortion have to a hidden, dirty secret? Why do we make people feel bad about themselves because they see a better life for themselves that doesn’t involve a child at that moment? Why do we let people do this to us? Seriously, I want to know.