Last night, November 8th 2016, was the last night of my 20s. And the night America voted into its highest office a shocking man. I'll refrain from additional adjectives but I assume I do need to explain why I'm even bringing up the subject of politics here on the RMP blog. The way I run my business is innately tied to my belief system, so I think it's only fair to share that with you here. As is true with anyone you hire, you should do so with transparency, confidence and trust in that person.
I believe in equality regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity (including gender expression), sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, family/parental status, or income derived from a public assistance program.
I believe in equal pay for women.
I believe in marriage equality and that love is love.
I believe in optimism and hope (after all, the Cubs did win the World Series).
I believe in creating a strong and healthy business in order to have the freedom to support non-profits.
I believe healthcare is a basic human right.
I believe pickles are gross along with ketchup.
I believe in learning the name of the guy who sits on the corner asking for change.
I believe my God is not so different from the God prayed to inside of temples or mosques or in the middle of a field somewhere.
I believe in hard work.
I believe in the importance of legacy.
I believe creating something beautiful can help change the world.
I believe travel is the best path to an open mind.
I believe bananas are best with peanut butter.
I believe in helping others and in striving for social justice.
I believe no one culture or country or approach to life is "best."
I believe every single person's story is important and that future generations will want to know yours.
Decades from now, when kids get to this section of American history in their social studies classes and ask me, "Where were you?" I won't tell them about laying on the couch refreshing the New York Times homepage every 10 seconds because I thought surely, it must be a technological glitch. I won't tell them about the angry and frightened text messages between friends. Instead, I will tell them of the 40+ women who came into my studio the 2 days leading up to that fateful night. I will tell them of the empowerment and the camaraderie garnished from an outdated piece of clothing called the pantsuit.
Through my small participation with #PantsuitPortraits, I witnessed that donning this antiquated fashion statement really didn't have to do with your political view points. I'm sure each woman that participated had varying beliefs on healthcare, economic reform, taxes, etc. etc. What we all shared instead was a belief in something more. It wasn't about whether or not you thought Hilary was best for the job. It was about showing a daughter she could be anything when she grew up. It was about being able to love whoever you choose and having the state recognize that love. The pantsuit stood (and still stands) for equal pay for men and women alike. This list goes on and on.
So while I'm disappointed and confused today, tonight, on the first night of my 30s I will spend it throwing a birthday party for homeless children in Chicago with my fellow birthday enthusiasts. Because I believe that the only way forward is in taking care of each other and that #JoyChangesLives.