I have been trying all day to understand and process the many feelings these past few days have brought on. This is my attempt at articulating them.
On Saturday January 21, 2017, I attended my first Women’s March. This was my first protest of any kind. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. As this was kind of a last minute decision, I was not able to attend the Washington D.C. march, but rather my local one in Philadelphia. I stayed up until three in the morning the previous night creating different versions of signs, my indecisiveness brought on by sleep deprivation and too much wine.
Four hours later, and in desperate need of caffeine, I woke up ready to grab life by the ovaries. I am by no means a morning person. However, today I had an extra spring in my step and a fire in my soul. I put on my “Girl Power” playlist (that I had specifically made for today) and got ready to fight like a girl. I was absolutely shocked to see how many women were at the train station. There were pink PussyHats and reproductive organ paraphernalia galore. I kinda felt underdressed.
At each stop, more and more women boarded and each time a collective cheer rose through the standing-room only train. Almost everyone ended up getting a free ride into the city, because the conductors couldn’t get through to check tickets. I ended up giving my seat to an elderly woman and we talked the rest of the way. She shared stories of previous protests and marches she had participated in. “I’m a good walker,” she told me. “I mean I have to be if we want to change the world.”
When we finally reached Center City, the woman and I parted ways, but not before she hugged me and wished me luck. Stepping out onto the platform, I was stunned. The station and surrounding area was like a beehive, buzzing with activity; everyone pouring out from who knows where all flocking towards one common destination. We were all queen bees, ready to defend our throne.
The march started and it was like I was suddenly seeing in color for the first time. Signs bobbed across my field of vision. Calls for change rang through the air. Drums guided my steps and matched the beating of my heart. I was surrounded by electricity and feminism.
At this point I was already overcome with emotion. But when I saw a little girl dressed like Wonder Woman, marching down the street like she owned it, holding a sign that said “I can do anything” I lost it. I cried, which is something I rarely do, but I cried. With the tears flowing down my face, I looked around at the massive amount of people who had gathered in solidarity.
I realized that this is what hope looks like. And although I had traveled by myself, I was not alone.