True Story. I Cry When I Vote.

Revised, Kenneth Russell Chamberlain - Free Pictures at Historical Stock

It happens every time. They hand me that yellow card, I walk over to the polling station and click it in, and then suddenly - I am not thinking about the election or the candidates. I am overwhelmed with the gratitude that I get to vote.

Women in the United States didn't get that chance for nearly 150 years.

Today, millions of women all over the world still don't get that chance. The right to vote. No one cares what they think or believes that their mind can form an important, informed opinion. They don't have the respect of their peers and they don't have the ear of anyone. Their thoughts don't matter.

But here I am, living privileged enough to exercise my right to vote. To live in this post-suffrage United States where I can drive my unchaperoned self to the polling station, cast my ballot and my vote counts. Because what's in my head - it matters. It took a long time for women and African Americans to get the recognition that they always deserved, and although I wish the journey wasn't such a messy, storied one - here we are today. With a right that no one can remove. And my country recognizes that right and recognizes me. And I don't know you guys, but every time I hit the polling booth, I am just flooded with these feelings of gratitude and pride and my face gets really hot and I start to well up. I know it sounds kind of emotional and a bit silly. I know I need to keep it together long enough to actually complete the act of voting. But usually by the end of the session I am kind of a mess and hurried to get out of there. Well, I make sure to grab my sticker. But then I hightail it out of there.

Those polling volunteers probably think I'm emotional about the candidate. Or maybe related to one of them.

It's a big deal, this ability to vote. I really want to encourage all of you to rock your right to vote and actually do it. Please do it. It breaks my heart when I see someone so apathetic about voting because "our government this and that". Complaining will gain us no further rights to make a thoughtful change in our world. Being hopeful, getting educated, seeking out answers - it will get us so much further than just not voting and instead spending the next 4-8 years complaining about our country's leadership. We all know those people. Some of us might be those people. But you know what? No one wants to be around those people. Do your best to get out of your head and assess the issues that matter the most to you - then focus on what you think the solution could be. Don't focus on the problem and why the other side is "so screwed up". Focus on the solution. And let those solutions guide you toward a candidate you could align with. Let us honor those who it made it their life's work to give everyone an equal right to vote. Let us remember those who are living and breathing on this Earth today, with a mind and a heart, living without the right to vote. Let us do our research and take responsibility for this privilege and right. Get engaged, friends! In the blink of an eye it will be November 8, and we should be ready to vote. And no, you don't have to cry. But you can remember me when you're in the polling booth, because I probably will.

*Image via Historical Stock Photos