I have always been interested in politics and current events and I consume media with an insatiable appetite that my partner calls an “addiction to words on paper”. But, before the birth of my Noodle, I refrained from overt political activism. I have been intimidated and meek.
I come from a conservative and religious-minded family and spent the last five years exploring other political and economic models and ideas, coming to embrace a perspective melding socialism and humanism. I’m still unsure of my newfound opinions and lack the confidence to talk about these ideas in public. My internal idea of who I am and what I believe clashes with a somewhat quieter, perhaps even frightened, public persona.
Over the past nine months, as Noodle has gone from yawning, burping little Macaroni, to wriggling, crawling Spaghettini (she takes after her very tall and very thin dad) I’ve begun to imagine her experiencing a more socially diverse and generous community, one where the “personal is political”, where volunteering is part of our daily routine, where our family is made up of not only our large biological family, but an extended, loving “chosen” family. I also want her to experience activism: to learn that standing up for justice, for freedom, for compassion, is rewarding and exciting!
This has meant that I must confront my fears of confrontation. I have to be an example. So in May, when protests against the G8 meetings happening in Toronto began springing up across Canada, I took Noodle to a rally. My first political rally! I went with a close friend and we stayed away from the black-clothed protesters and police. We chanted a little, we read the pamphlets, we spoke to some fellow demonstrators, and walked part of the route beside a political marching band. It was exciting! And I have to admit, I was kind of proud.
Later in the summer Noodle and I went to an anti-homophobic and transphobic rally and then to a rally in support of those detained during the G8 meetings. (The largest mass arrest in Canadian history!) I had so many people come up to ask about Noodle and comment on her presence. I loved seeing other kids running around and chanting too.
I know there are some who would see me bringing Noodle to these events as trying to influence her thoughts, perhaps even insidiously “brainwashing” her. Although I hope that she does eventually hold many of the same political and social values that I do, the more important lessons I wish to impart are that she puts herself out for what she believes in, joins communities, makes public those beliefs that she holds as important and valuable.
I hope Noodle will have the confidence to defend women’s rights and embrace feminism and to stand up for those causes that become personally important to her. I hope she becomes her own strong, free-thinking, courageous individual, letting no one stand in her way.
Since Noodle’s birth I have attempted to overcome my shyness and become more involved in my community. Noodle is helping me emerge from my shell! It’s an incredible gift. I only hope that I can offer her the same as she grows up.