I am a serious introvert. Professional level. To honor myself, and to commit to some writing projects I had started, I promised myself at the new year: I will only leave the house for my treasured yoga class, for taking my kids to basketball, and for groceries. I was going to hole myself up in my study and make art and work on some house projects and not spend money and write, write, write. I made this promise to myself.
Then I went out for coffee with a friend. There was a funeral. Took my daughter shopping. My resolve was weakening. Life happens. And when you make a declaration to the universe, the universe will support you, but it will also throw obstacles in your way to challenge your convictions. Stuff gets agitated.
Speaking of agitation. The morning after the election, something in me broke. The man who hurt women (me), verbally abused others (me), hated on people not like himself (me), and threatened the livelihood and security of immigrants to this country (me) was going to be our next president. He was given legitimacy and I didn’t know if I belonged in this country anymore. I cried like a baby. I was so scared. So heartbroken. So disappointed. My husband told me to get it together so as not to scare the kids. He was right. I am getting myself together like never before. To support the causes and the people I believe in. To help others. To love others.
I initially didn’t want to go to the Women’s March on Washington. What was the point? Shouldn’t we be trying to resist his election? So that’s where I focused my energy. I resisted him as long as I could. Until it was inevitable. Also, don’t forget- Professional Introvert. As the march grew closer, though, I started to get really agitated. I knitted pink head wraps with hearts on them (something I’ve done for years) to give to my friends marching as a show of support and gratitude. I knitted them fiercely and bravely and with love and I felt I was doing my part. But when I found out my father-in-law was marching, a man who shows no outward signs of political activism, something in me clicked. I don’t know what his particular reasons are for marching, but I felt incredibly honored and humbled just the same. If he could make the trip, then so could I. If I could find a last-minute bus ticket, I would go. And I did and I am. I started shaking and crying as soon as I committed. And I am all over the place- hopeful, excited, overwhelmed with gratitude, terrified. But I am prepared- with love, with hope, with faith, courage, and strength.
When I told my daughter I was going to DC, she said, “Why?” But she said it like a surprised 12-year-old: “WhyyyyYYYYyyyyy?”
I am marching for her. So that she will never be the victim of violence or abuse in any of its forms.
I am marching for her brother. So he will see that women are strong and they stand up for themselves and they support each other.
I am marching for myself. Because I am not going to place my own comfort above my ability to do good in this world.
I march for my husband, who only said, “If you want to go, you should go,” when I called to discuss it with him.
I march for my friends who can’t march with me. Our circumstances are different. I am grateful for the opportunity and I carry their names and their hearts with me.
I march for my neighbor. My neighbor who put their Trump sign out on their lawn THE MORNING AFTER the election. We are called to love our neighbor. I am trying. I march for them.
I am marching as one woman, and joining my voice with thousands of others into a beautiful symphony of love and hope.
I march for humanity.
In the wintertime, I feed the birds. Their needs are so basic- fresh air, clean water, healthy food, safe shelter. Life is pretty basic. Have you secured that for yourself? Good. Now go help someone else get it. Imagine if the entire world’s population’s BASIC human needs were met. What all we could accomplish. It is mind-blowing.
Beyond our basic human needs, we must learn to love ourselves before we can love one another. Got that part down? Good. Now go help someone else.
We must promote social justice in all the corners of the world. Have your rights been protected, promised, secured, and written into the fabric of this nation? Good. Now go help secure those same rights for every other single person who steps foot onto our soil or who has lived here for centuries without them.
All of my basic human needs are met. I’m working on loving myself so I can love others. Loving others, to me, looks like social justice work. I have gotten my feet wet, and will continue to find opportunities to help. I can honestly say that the only things I “need” above my basic human needs in this period of my life are yoga, basketball, and groceries. I’m pretty lucky and I don’t take that for granted.
So that promise that I made to myself? To only leave my house to secure what I needed? Yoga, basketball, groceries? I broke that promise. I have my boots. They look like worn-out tennis shoes, but they’ll walk.
These are my reasons for marching. Every person in DC and across the globe will be marching for their own reasons. And they will be right.
We march for humanity.