At the beginning of this week, I was intrigued and generally supportive of the women's marches planned around the US, but had no plans to participate. I looked forward to hearing from friends who were going, but I was in the lazy category of support- liking some facebook posts and "mentally cheering them on," a nonsense phrase if I've ever written one, but I really just was busy entering a renewed feeling of depression over the whole thing. In the weeks leading up to the Inauguration, Donald Trump remained everything that could be terrible about a future president- loose with facts, looser with promises, unqualified cabinet picks, easily insulted and prone to lashing out. He hadn't divested himself of any of his myriad of conflicted business interests (still hasn't) and every day was one day closer to title on this byline being true.
America, a country that once pretended it had moral authority in the world, elected a man who at the age of 50 with a pregnant third wife at home, bragged about being able to get away with sexual assault. I mean, my god. So I was very busy ignoring the news and spending a lot of time thinking about food and reading about vampires instead.
But then, late on Monday night, I saw a friend post on one of her friend's Facebook pages- hey, we should have a Fort Worth march. Her friend said, okay! And they created a Facebook event page. When I went to bed, 21 people were going. The did some research and found out you don't need a permit if you just stand on the sidewalk, so that's what they were going to do. Then the event grew to 100. Then 200. By Wednesday afternoon it was over 1,000. They did the work to get the permits. They created a march route, working with the police department. And the numbers grew more. On Friday morning over 2,000 were expected to attend in my little dark red area of Texas. I realized I need to pull my head and ass out of the sand and romance novels and go too. Because I support every word of this and if a whole bunch of men, women, and children can go meet in front of the courthouse 5 miles from my house to say they support it too, then I can drive over there and join them.
Our Saturday consisted of workers being at our house to install new French doors from 9-2, me teaching barre from 12-1, Claire going to a birthday party from 1-2:30, Landon going to a birthday party from 4-7:30, and James and I having a date night at 6, but between carpools and Tara, we made it work. Landon spent the night at a friend's house Friday night, but the girls and I made my sign. We talked about women's rights and equality and how every gain that has ever been made for women, the LGBT community, minorities, etc. happened through a willingness to work and stand up for what you want and believe in. I told them why I wanted to go, why James wanted to go, why it mattered to us.
For me, it was not so much about protesting Donald Trump. He's President, it happened, God help us all. It's that him winning the election was a wake up call to me that I can't take for granted my prior belief that publicly bragging about sexually assaulting women will hurt you in your future ambitions. Because it won't. And that realization made me want to lend my voice, body, and sign to a cause that says we matter. All of us- all the groups he's insulted over the course of his campaign- we're here, we matter, there's a lot of us, and we won't be ignored. It was about unifying on something with my friends and neighbors. For me, it was a positive statement and action that came about as a reaction to something that felt very personal and negative.
On the day of the March, our crazy schedule meant that Landon was the only one able to go with me, though James was disappointed to miss. And because we had to leave late, we missed the actual March, but I still wanted to drive downtown be part of the afterglow. And what an afterglow it was. As we drove through the familiar streets, I saw hundreds of people walking back to their cars, smiling, chatting, holding signs, and waving. Women, men, children, seniors, youth, families, and groups. It was incredibly inspiring. We made it to the courthouse and saw a group was still there. We spoke with a police office who told us they estimated 8,000 people had attended. 8,000!! For an event in Fort Worth, Texas that had been organized only days before, after so many people had already made plans to go to other cities, that's just amazing. And my friends who were able to March all shared the same stories as my friends in Houston, Denver, Seattle, LA, NYC, and Washington, DC shared- how positive and happy and inspiring it was. To go from feeling so marginalized to feeling so powerful.
I loved that Landon got to see it. I loved that he saw a big group of people, diverse in age, sex, and ethnicity, still there. I loved getting the cheers and thumbs up texts from my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles. Landon and I chatted with an older couple on the courthouse steps- "I was your age in the 60's," the man told Landon, "it's good to start young." We talked to a police officer and I got to show Landon that the police not only protect us from bad guys who are breaking the law, they also protect good guys who are exercising some of our most foundational laws- the Constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly- and how you can't legally do this in every country and aren't we lucky to live where we can.
And then our day moved on and its breakneck pace until James and I were sitting down for dinner at a new-to-us place on 7th (Cork & Pig; so good; we'll be back), chatting about the day and looking forward to our traditional stop at Stir Crazy Baked Goods for dessert after our meal. Our talk was all political, me trying to stay in the happy headspace of the women's marches and all my friends wonderful stories from attending; James insisting on making us talk about the rest of the news too, how Trump was already lying to the public and attacking the free press and his conflicts of interest were a huge problem his supporters seem to inexplicably ignore (that we live in a country where Barack Obama had to disclose his long-form birth certificate, something no president has had to do, but Donald Trump admits he is never going to disclose his tax returns, something every president candidate has always done, is insane and also makes me SO CURIOUS at what is in them that is so bad) and that his thin-skinned reactive nature is terrifying when you think all a foreign leader has to do is insult him and President Trump will throw diplomacy out the window. (Also, "alternative facts" are now a thing we're pretending aren't just "lies," so I'm sure that won't be a problem later.) Reality is such a downer right now, so I turned my focus to dessert and hoping Stir Crazy would still have the uterus cookies I posted about Friday.
And they did!
Are they not oddly adorable? Such cheerful little female reproductive systems. My nurse friend had concerns about the ovary placement, but I can attest to their deliciousness.
Today has been quiet and lovely. Going on walks, playing with friends, cooking a comforting batch of chicken cacciatore, eating leftover cookies, marveling at the hypocrisy of those who I know who marched in the Tea Party Protests after Obama was elected now pretending like protesting isn't as American as it gets or that those Obama protests didn't contain their share of violent, racist rhetoric and/or simulated lynchings and burning of Obama effigies. Or seeing those who denounced President Obama for things they thought he'd do now offended that anyone might denounce President Trump for what he has actually said and done, while blindly ignoring his overt threats to the Constitution they pretended in their own protests to hold dear. Baffling.
But that's not really what Saturday was about for me. Saturday reminded me the world is also full of people who walk with love and support for one another. So much of what I saw was so surprisingly positive- people who were FOR something. FOR women, FOR education, FOR healthcare, FOR gay rights, FOR science, diversity, inclusion. I felt so inspired by my fellow neighbors right here in my charming, adopted city, and inspired by citizens (and amazing mighty girls!) all over our country and the globe. I have so many friends across the political spectrum who do so much, through supporting our local schools, charities, animal rescues, and more. It was wonderful to be reminded that sometimes just your presence is powerful, that showing up matters, while also bringing home that I need to find my "more." I'm working on it. And I'm thrilled to know I have so many right here in my town who can help me find my voice and place.
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