The Women’s March is an Epic Marathon Relay

This morning I’m in complete awe of the love this world expressed and experienced yesterday through Women’s Marches all over the globe. I’m humbled by and deeply grateful for all the women—all the humans—who participated. We (by which I mean the World) needed this. And this. And this.

As always, though, I’m going to be honest about some tricky feelings I had associated with the March yesterday, even though I’m not exactly proud of them and I’m a little embarrassed to talk about it. I didn’t go to the March, not the one in D.C. and not the one here in Grand Rapids. It wasn’t in the stars for me to be in D.C., my life is a little nutty right now and it just wasn’t feasible. And, despite my best intentions, I didn’t make it to the local one either. The reason was a few parts life stuff and one part a lack of courage to go alone.

I felt really, really guilty about not going. I felt like a failure as a feminist. And at one point I had to cut myself off from the Internet on account of the FOMO. I lectured myself about how pathetic I was for not showing up because my reasons were so lame and generations of humans have shown up for things like this despite reasons much more important than mine.

By the end of the day I was desperate so I turned to the great oracle, Google, and asked if anyone else felt the same way I did. And I found this. It really resonated with me, especially this part:

“I’ve been struggling with guilt because those reasons are mere inconveniences to me. There are many people across the nation who are much more than inconvenienced by the outcome of the election. People will lose their health coverage. Hate crimes against Jews, Muslims, and people of color have increased. Science is under attack. My worries about finding a place to pee seem ridiculous in comparison.

But marching in D.C. isn’t the best way for me or many others to protest. There are plenty of other ways to help our fellow Americans. I donate money to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Democratic Party, and other left-leaning organizations. I’ve bought subscriptions to reputable news outlets. Every day, I call senators and congressmen and women to tell them what I think about Trump, the Affordable Care Act, and his cabinet appointments. I’m looking into ways my sons and I can volunteer in our community. And, I’m writing essays and articles about how we can combat the horrors of the upcoming administration.”

After I read that, it hit me. Yesterday was only the beginning of the Women’s March, yesterday was the kick-off to the epic, marathon Ragnar-style relay the next four years are going to be. Some of us—ok, a WHOLE LOT OF US—marched yesterday, and some of us didn’t. But those of us who didn’t did other things. And we’ll be ready to pick up the baton down the road for the next one (because I suspect that, unfortunately, there will be plenty of reasons to convene and shout and revolt in the coming years). And change is going to come from each of us doing what we can to protest in our own way, every day.

For me that’s been by making donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Refugee Education Center, the Women’s March itself, and others supporting human rights, the environment, and the fair and balanced reporting of information. I, too, have been signing petitions and writing letters to senators and congressmen and women to speak out against Trump, his policies, and his cabinet appointments. I’ll continue to write and post about all of the above too. And, one of the reasons I didn’t make it to the March yesterday was a mid-day interview for a gig that, if I got it, would let me both write for and work with organizations supporting causes I’m passionate about.

It’s OK that I didn’t go to the Women’s March, and it’s OK if you didn’t either. But, please, find your own way to protest and, please, be ready to pick up the baton and run for awhile when it’s your turn to do so. I know I will.

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