“My grandmother was in line to be shot into a pit. She said, ‘What happens if I step out of line?’ He said, ‘I don’t have the heart to shoot you, but somebody will.’ And she stepped out of line. For that, I am here, and my children are here. So step out of line, ladies. Step out of line,” Alex Borstein. For so many of us we live under the obligation of what we “have” to do, or are “supposed” to do. Sometimes it’s in between what we feel obligated to do and what we want to do, neither side quite getting enough water and leaving us feeling split and exhausted. I don’t want to lessen the impact of what Alex says, or disrespect anyone who endured the holocaust, but I want to apply the quote more globally—we aren’t facing life or death situations as she describes here, but it still applies. We keep ourselves in line every day, responding to the alarm and getting up and going to a job that we don’t always love, sit through traffic, come home, get lost in distraction, sleep, and do it all over again.
We are choking the life out of ourselves rather than someone actually threatening us. And all we have to do is decide if we let them keep their hands around our necks or if we wake up and realize they were never touching us in the first place—it was us all along. Alex encourages us to step out of line. Yes, it is terrifying. What if someone sees us? People will tell us all the time that we need to do as we are told and play it safe. I’ve done that my whole life. But when we look at the perceived safety, we also have to weigh what we are giving up. Not many people are taught about the possibilities in this world. If they figure it out for themselves, they have to battle the tide and learn to make their way on their own support. But there is always a way shown to us if we take the leap.
For women in particular, stepping out of line can be challenging. There is an entire subset of rules that we have to follow because of our gender. Over a 100 years after being granted suffrage, nearly 70 years after women’s lib, we are STILL enduring inequality on the basis of what’s between our legs. So when Alex talks about stepping out of line, I want to apply it to breaking the bullshit molds and constraints placed upon us as women. No matter what women do, it’s wrong. A working mother can’t take care of her kids, and a stay at home mom is lazy, while a mom who disciplines her kids is going to scar them, and a mom who lets’ her kids run and explore is negligent, or a woman who is open sexually is a slut, while the conservative is prude, or a boss is a bitch, and we are never more than one thing, and we still have little say in what happens with our own bodies whether it is being treated for endometriosis (I mean, suck it up, it’s just a little pain, right?) or birthing children.
We live under the pressure of a society that feels our place is beneath them. We live under our own pressure to perfect and prove that we are worthy. We live in cages built of our own fears and the limitations we’ve allowed to be placed on us. All of this while knowing we are capable of so much more. All of this while forgetting we hold the key to the damn door that will free us immediately—our own minds have to be willing and ready to set us free. As Alex says, step out of line. If you feel there is something more for you, there IS. There are infinite worlds available to us in the corners of our minds. Don’t waste your life waiting for someone to set you free—unlock the damn door and walk out.