Something unexpected happened to me at the polls today.
It wasn't the overaggressive (not to mention, uninformed) man who practically accosted me with his "knowledge" as I walked in the door. It wasn't the short wait or free coffee and pastries at my new voting precinct. (But, way to go Precinct #2!)
It wasn't the names or proposals on the ballot. I came prepared. I knew who was running. I understood everything at stake.
The thing that took me by surprise... so much so, that I paused for a moment just to savor the feeling... was my reaction to reading my ballot behind those trifold walls. That my eyes actually teared up when I saw a woman's name as a major party candidate for President of the United States. And, that I had just as much opportunity to shade in her box as I did any other box on the list. It was an option. It was finally there.
I've always thought of myself as an empowered Gen-Xer. I never thought of myself as being raised in an era where I was allowed or disallowed to do things simply based on my gender.
Yet, somehow, simply seeing a fellow female's name on a very important piece of paper this morning had enough power to bring me to tears.
Just as I can take for granted that I'm even allowed to step foot in a polling station and cast a vote, my female ancestors will be able to take for granted that their name could even be on the ballot.
It's no longer a "what if", a "one day", or a "that will never happen". It's happened! It's now the norm. We can move forward.
No matter the outcome of tonight's results, this is how America now works. Race, religion or gender no longer impedes our ability to progress. We're running out of "firsts" to brand people with in the political race.
We can move past this silly notion of what's allowed and why it took so long to get there. We're now here! And, it's such an American place to be.
*Disclaimer: My vote today was not based on gender, race, religion or party lines. There was one candidate I agreed with on many things and one I didn't agree with at all. Please save your political lectures for your own social media page. If something inside you is offended by my feminism, you've likely had the blessing of never experiencing the type of treatment that the rest of us battle with every day. Take a moment away from staring at your shoes and take a gander at that glass ceiling that so mesmerizes the rest of us all.