Can We Have It All?
At 6:00 a.m., my alarm goes off and I ignore it. About 15 minutes later, my son goes off with a faint moan from his crib, and I wobble out of bed to prepare breakfast for us downstairs. Breakfast isn’t fancy; he eats Cheerios. I have to prepare just enough for him so that I can put on my makeup undisturbed. This has all been timed through a series of trials and errors. Before, he would run into the bathroom with Legos, or I would find myself going back and forth between tasks, losing precious minutes that could be saved elsewhere. That’s the amazing thing about law school: minutes matter.
I have school in the mornings, and my internship in the afternoon. By the time I make it through the week, I’m mentally preparing for the week ahead. In the midst of all this, I encounter women in Lawyers Club who have more than one child, more than two commitments, and countless reasons why they remain humble. They tell me they love what they do. They tell me it’s difficult to find the time for soccer practice, but they do. These are highly-influential, volunteer enthralled, successful attorneys who make my 6:00 a.m. shuffle look like a walk in the park. They don’t just inspire me, they instill a fire in me to want more than what society says I should ask for.
In light of the Lawyers Club drawing special attention to issues such as women in the workforce being paid considerably less than men, I found the issue to be so much more important than I’d ever imagined. I look around at my female classmates, and wonder if they’ve considered that the weight of motherhood and the pursuit of their passions are things that may conflict someday. Pondering this, and reading PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi’s 2014 article positing that women can’t have it all, got me thinking . . .
Can We Have it All (poem by Ashanti Cole)
Can we have it all
If that means letting things fall?
To the wayside. . . some days might expose our flaws.
Days to nights . . . to daylight
Can we have it all?
The smile . . .
With a passion and a dream that screams so loud without drowning all of the above out?
Can we have it all?
We strive for the lives that died.
We scream for the tears she cried before 1965 . . . before a time our votes were denied.
We must fight for the dream we see when darkness succumbs closed minds.
Show them light.
Show them that despite their circumstance through color, class, or creed.
We deserve to be seen. To show little girls they can be more than pageant queens. Through injustice or through a beaming glory that shines through prosecution, defense, contractual agreements, and more . . . .
We must be better than we have ever been before.
We will not be ignored.
We will have all that's worth striving for.
Ashanti Cole is a rising 2L and mother of one. Born and raised in Compton, Ca, she enjoys advancing the mission of civil rights and humanitarian efforts through spoken work poetry, and one day through the legal profession.