I woke up on Saturday without much of a plan. I had to be on the other side of Houston later in the afternoon to celebrate my grandma's birthday and there were a few errands I needed to run and that was it. Andrew had BBQ stuff to do, and I knew we would be meeting his sister and her daughter later that evening. It was just a regular Saturday.
I rearranged my closet and cleaned the bathroom - nothing special. I knew that this march was happening, and I saw one of my friends say that she planned to attend the one in Houston. I kept checking twitter for mentions of the one happening in DC, and I didn't see many specifics. A TV critic that I follow, of all people, said that C-Span was the only channel covering the march in DC; he was right. CNN was playing a religious service that president was attending.
I flipped on C-Span and continued with my day. I texted my friend to see if she was still attending the march in Houston, and she said probably, but it had just started to thunder so that might change her plans. I was thinking the same thing. I halfway listened to Michael Moore speak, and then I heard him get interrupted by Ashley Judd, who read a poem written by a 19-year-old who is more wise than I will ever be. Those words, the cheers from the crowd, the delivery, and the very reasons so many women gathered on a cold day in the nation's capital made me hurry to get ready and text my friend that I was on my way.
Laziness and lack of planning prevented me from truly taking place in the march itself. I was behind schedule and didn't know if I could get to the march's start site in time. I decided to park downtown and walk to City Hall, which was the rally point. I heard cheers and felt the buzz in the atmosphere from more than a block away. Since I was alone, I was able to get through the crowd easily and stand right at the edge of the women entering the rally area, like watching the most unique parade I've ever seen. I'm not one to cry over things like this, but I was grateful to be wearing sunglasses because I had to blink away tears. So many women of all ages were supporting one another. So many dads with little girls on their shoulders, literally raising them up. Funny signs, crude signs, and signs that were merely stating facts to remind people of what there is to lose were everywhere.
I never ended up finding my friend, but I didn't feel alone, either. In that moment, I felt part of something. Are my direct rights currently under fire? Is the president going to take away my job, or my citizenship, or my home? No. But can I see people in my daily life who are under attack? Yes. Do I think that a man who appears to view women as objects deserves the privilege of being president? No. Am I upset that the electoral college still exists and that the majority lost in this election? Absolutely.
I felt energized to care more about local elections and that part of life is just showing up. I really reflected on the National Anthem as it was first sung by a five year old girl and then by an opera singer. I listened as a trans woman plainly told the crowd that she went into the restroom for the same reason as anyone else, so politicians didn't need to worry about her. I heard the Mayor of my city wonder why we are fighting such a similar battle to those fought in the 60s and before - marginalizing a group due to their race or religion needs to stop.
Why did I go to the march? To show my support and say that these changes the new administration wants to make are not okay with me. If I were a part of a group being marginalized, I would hope for others to stand with me. I want to say that it isn't okay for the government to tell us who we can marry, or prohibit both abortions AND access to affordable birth control (I mean either one is really bad... both is completely unacceptable), and I want Republican Texas lawmakers to know that things have changed and they no longer represent the majority of their constituency.
I had someone I don't know try to argue with me on Instagram and ask how women's rights are currently being taken away. They aren't outright yet, sure, but when a man holding the highest office in the U.S. is allowed to talk about grabbing a woman the way he did and normalizing so-called "locker room banter," (vomit) when most of us would in the very least be chastised by our employers simply for uttering that word, I feel like proactive is the way to be. I've had people tell me this weekend that since Trump's kids have been on the right side of the law so his "family seems nice" and that he "wants to end the massacre of gays" that I should give him a chance. If you ask me, that is setting the bar incredibly low. I went to the march so that our lawmakers can know that we demand better.
I posted a picture from the march on instagram and facebook. I don't use facebook much, and never post anything political. I come from a conservative family who I knew full well I was going to see later that day, but I'm tired of being silent (at least, on facebook. I am far from silent on twitter!). I tried to be as respectful as possible in my post. My grandma pulled me aside and told me that she disagreed with me but respected my rights and of course loved me. I mean... baby steps. If I can show anyone in any generation or from any background that those on the left are just normal people with different ideas and not a group to be vilified, then maybe that's a step in the right direction.
So my regular Saturday ended up going in a completely different direction. I'm not saying anything here you haven't read before, but as this was my first time taking part in some social action, I needed to document it. I am so proud of all of my friends who attended marches, posted their own stories, and motivated me and others to take more action. I hope this feeling lasts and we aren't left with apathy that grants us four more years of the status quo in 2020.