This week is big. I’ll be 44 on Friday and for the very first time in my life - I’m voting.
It’s okay to judge me. Even I judge me on this one. Not voting for twenty years? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you care? Just because I’ve never taken to the polls, doesn’t mean I didn’t give a shit. I did. I just didn’t think my shit mattered.
In my 20s, I was a rebel without a clue. A stripper with a coke problem and an all-around rule-breaker. I somehow equated voting as giving in to the system, and everything about me was screaming of anarchy. All I cared about was the fast lane; blowing wads of cash, and living far off the grid. Besides, who would want to hear my opinions? The general vibe from society was that we (strippers) were scumbag prostitutes who didn’t pay taxes, cheated with husbands, and were worthless, airheads with no goals in life other than to find the next best deal in clear heels and Spandex. I was too busy partying to give a shit about proving them wrong.
I grew up in a middle class Republican home. But nothing in my young adult life seemed to fall on the right side, so I felt like a hypocrite, even thinking about voting from the Right, which was I was told to do as a child.
So I just didn’t vote.
As I grew into my 30s, I educated myself on the issues. I left the stripping life behind, and entered the corporate world, striving to stay afloat between paychecks. I began to learn about both parties and decided to claim myself as an Independent. The wheels were definitely turning, but I still lived with a sense that my opinions didn’t matter – that my one voice wouldn’t make a difference.
So I just didn’t vote.
I was close to voting in 2008 – even registering. I wrapped myself in the social issues, standing up for my LGBT friends and even rallied in their honor. So why didn’t I vote? It’s shameful, really. All I can say is that again – I didn’t think my ticket would make a difference.
This election, I decided to dig deep. I watched both Fox News and MSNBC, listened carefully to all the debates, and read countless articles from both sides. I’m sure it’s a mix of maturity and that my self-worth is finally catching up, but this time around – I am running to the polls.
As a woman who feels passionately about her fertility rights, and is aware of the fact that there was a time women weren’t even allowed to vote – I’m taking a great sense of pride and honor in heading to the polls, wondering what the hell I was thinking, not exercising this fundamental right.
Of course my one voice matters. So does yours. That is what voting is all about, right? Our voices, joining together?
I'll be glued to the television election night, feeling connected to society, in a way I've never experienced. No matter what the outcome, I know my vote made a difference - and that alone, is what this country is all about.