Dear Tomi

We haven’t met, and it’s likely that we never will. The chances of my words even reaching you are probably slim. That won’t stop me from sharing my piece.

I’m writing this as I wait for photos to export so I can deliver wedding galleries to my clients, so I’m in a pretty good mood this morning and think it’s the perfect time to talk to you. Woman to woman. This morning I woke up and watched your Final Thoughts segment about your interview with Trevor Noah.

I gained a lot of respect for you for being willing to appear on his show. I did. Truthfully, it’s difficult to sit through your videos because I find that they lack something I believe is pivotal to being a good human: empathy. Trevor wasn’t wrong in saying that you sound angry, but I’m not here to tone police you. You have found your voice and girl, it’s powerful. You and I have that in common.

As much as it might pain me to admit it, we’re the same in a lot of ways: we have strong family values, we love men and women who have served in the military, we’re educated, and we’re pursuing our dreams. Hell, I did some reading and found out you’re also in favor of marriage equality and you’re pro-choice. I never would have guessed.

Here’s how we’re different though.

I see color. I ask my friends of color questions about how I can validate their experience. I would never compare the KKK to BLM. The reason for that seems pretty obvious: one was founded on the premise of white supremacy, the other was founded to speak for the marginalized and promotes equality of all races. YES there are bad seeds and people who give a bad name to EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN. But there is absolutely no comparison of those two founding principles.  I don’t really care about money. It’s a necessary evil in my life, but what extra I have, I give back to the people trying to clean up the mess. I believe in being compensated based on my experience and skill, which grows each year, but no more than that. I believe our country was founded to protect a very specific group. I mean, it’s in the constitution. We literally needed legislation that made our Black brothers and sisters human beings. I know I come from incredible privilege that my European features often overpower my Hispanic heritage and that my upbringing was rather whitewashed, but that doesn’t make me comfortable with such privilege. I think it’s important to acknowledge how we were once victims. You are definitely just as likely to experience work-place sexism, but maybe it doesn’t bother you the way it bothers me. Maybe your traumas (if you have any at all) are completely different from mine. You seem like one of the lucky ones. I was a victim, I’m not anymore. I’ve been able to make it my mission to help other women see how they are survivors. That doesn’t mean I’m made of stone and those days where I was raped and told I was worthless won’t affect me for the rest of my life; they absolutely will. But I know how those experiences can be used for good.

Here’s something I wish for you: that one day you would choose not come back on the attack just because someone else did it to you (or appeared to). I struggle with this concept, too. Maybe the combination of your perfectly groomed eyebrows and the spirit of Anne Coulter will help you keep up the pace for the duration of your career. That wasn’t a jab, I really want to know who does your eyebrows. 

Freedom of expression doesn’t mean lack of consequence. 2016 has showed us this extremely well. What I saw when you were on The Daily Show was a conversation spinning in circles. I was REALLY excited for the dialogue that could have potentially happened. Truly. Because as a feminist, I believe in having an open mind to even those I don’t think I agree with. I hope you find a way to get your message across in a way that validates some very real perspectives that might differ from your own. Maybe you already do that in your personal life and we just don’t see it. 

I hope you’re able to be the kind of person who will step back and just say, “Huh. I never thought of it that way.” And let others shape what you believe. The world is pretty amazing, and we do live in a wonderful place.

I think the world needs more women like the both of us.

Keep doing you, but know that women like me are going to fight back until we don’t have to.

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