It’s been two months since the Women’s March. Some days it seems like years, others only days. Things that we never thought would be reality in a country like the United States, somehow are. It’s upside down world, but we keep fighting because we can, and because we have to. One of our amazing contributors, Leyla, chose to put into words how it felt to be in DC that day, and how for someone as young as 13 it changed everything. It’s a reflection worth noting. – Metiza
The day of the Women’s March on Washington I felt tired, unmotivated, and physically unable. I struggled to get out of bed and my limbs fell limp as I put my clothes on and shuffled out the door. I felt the foul taste in my mouth, and I hadn’t yet washed my face before I was greeted with the freezing cold outside air. I knew the march would be a day of great importance and value, but at this moment I just wasn’t feeling it. I felt like my being there wouldn’t be that much of a difference; I would merely be a speck of sand in a vast amount of desert. Comparing myself to the millions of men, women, and children that would be attending the march, my presence felt insignificant.
Annoyed with all the moms who had dragged their children to the event, I didn’t want to be another daughter with pink ribbons in her hair following her mother’s views. I wanted the march to mean something and have many more independent liberals. I noticed that most of the kids on the trip called Donald J. Trump a “bad man,” but didn’t actually know what he stood for or why they were there. For the majority of that morning I felt let down to be with those women. I feel bad admitting my embarrassment because we were all fighting for the same reason, and the more people that attended, the stronger our cause would become. Yet, for that portion of the morning, I felt as if my being there was pointless.
I didn’t want to be another daughter with pink ribbons in her hair following her mother’s views.
I woke to the sound of the final exhale of exhaust being released from the bus, as people eagerly rose from their seats to exit. I squinted my eyes as I looked at the bright sun peaking over the horizon, then yawned and stretched my arms out, preparing myself to move for the first time in 5 hours since leaving NY. I shook my legs out and walked down the bus steps, inhaling my first breath of fresh morning air. The grass was dewy, and there were many large puddles of water, still rippling from the small droplets of rain springing from the sky.
I looked around, now suddenly aware that I was in Washington. I was in the capital of the United States, ready to take on something that would both drain and inspire me. The horizon was hazy with a heavy fog. I looked around my surroundings, unsure as to what would come, but ready to plunge into the abyss.
I looked behind me, and there was a crowd of people from all ages, races, and origins, both male and female. We all cheered as we walked over the dewy grass, passing the fog and entering the clear, taking photos, capturing the experience. We walked onto the path, entering the train station scattered with policemen, a meager amount compared to the endless stream of marchers, cramming into every open space possible. As we passed the gates, and took the train towards where the march would begin, I noticed that even though there were many younger liberals, there were also many middle aged and elderly people.
I thought this was interesting because my general perception of people with narrow-minded ideals is the old and uneducated. But after completing this march I realized that those people don’t fall into one specific category. Anyone can believe anything, and that does not specifically rely on one’s age or race. I thought to myself, this movement is something special, and I get to be a part of it.
I knew that this march was extremely important, but it saddened me to know that it is nothing new. I looked at the groups of elderly women, with their pink pussy hats, and realized that they had been protesting for and supporting this movement for years. They have to come back again and again because this bullshit isn’t over. I thought it was. Many of us did. I thought that we had finally grasped the concept of equality and healed the nation of many of its racist and misogynistic ideals, but apparently we haven’t. This is just the tip of the iceberg folks. That is why it’s not only important, but crucial to the adaptation and growth of society, that we keep fighting. We must continue to find ways to fight against prejudice, and provide light for those that are left unheard.
I glanced around and felt overwhelmed with the generous amount of support for the march, and sense of rebellion towards our elected president. There was hollering and applause which created a sense of empowerment and solidarity among the crowd. One group would start to holler, and the roaring sound of people would travel in all directions, like a wave through a crowd, echoing off every wall.
This inspired me to continue, causing me to forget all the past doubts I had about the day. I was no longer embarrassed of my group, I was no longer achy or uncomfortable. Instead I was proud of them, and proud of myself for choosing to pursue the mission of change. I was proud to stand next to my fellow women. I looked back to the crowd behind me and thought, this is going to be great.
History did not turn this beautiful day grim.
Past marches in history have been violent. Children have been thrown, the elderly have beaten, women have been jailed, and men have been teargassed. Often, change and revolt is not taken lightly, most commonly seen as a flame that must be extinguished. But on this day, history did not repeat itself.
History did not come swinging back; it did not inflict pain onto the innocent or take more from the little man. History did not create more heartbreak for mothers and fathers; history did not turn this beautiful day grim. On this day the tendencies of the past were held back, allowing for change to coincide with peace. This is something that I haven’t seen in awhile.
The march continued on, with inspirational words from celebrities like Janelle Monae and Madonna. As they delivered their speeches I felt my feet swell from staying in the same position for so long. My lower back began to ache, and I felt the urge to sit down numerous times, my uterus was cramping. I kept thinking about the parts of my body that needed relief, but I knew that I had to focus on the march and continue to be present in my surroundings. But this positivity began to unravel as the time passed and our ability to move dwindled.
My muscles were seizing, and I felt as if I was going to turn to stone if I didn’t get more space soon. As if on cue, I heard a blast on the sound system, announcing the march would continue. I let out a gasp of relief, thankful just to be able to move. As the crowd began to spread out, the sound of drums boomed, as joy and noise was found once again. I moved my body and felt a smile on my face as my comfort returned, once again able to enjoy my surroundings.
Life was here, and the amount of support that the march created was remarkable. Peering above the eye level of the crowd I saw thousands upon thousands of people marching, holding up their signs and waving their flags, all rallying for each other in solidarity.
As the day progressed I found a sense of meaning and appreciation towards what I was doing.
I looked to my right and saw a gay couple walking and holding each other’s hands. They waved a rainbow flag standing tall among the crowd. A father was holding his daughter up on his shoulders as she clapped and laughed. College students stood in a line and independently protested against Trump, advocating for immigrants, LGBTQ rights, African-American rights, women’s rights, and preaching the effect that he would have on their lives. This march was truly inspiring, and it gave me hope for the future of this country.
I started off the day feeling like shit. I was physically miserable, and I wanted to do anything but go, especially feeling the way that I was. But as the day progressed I found a sense of meaning and appreciation towards what I was doing. I realize now that there may be corruption. There may be a lack of justice and there might be fear spread in these next four years. But as long as people stay vocal and fight for their efforts, this country will make it out okay.
The voice of the people matter, and I believe that it is all the power that we need. This was shown on January 21st, with the Women’s March. Millions of people showed up not only in the U.S. but in many other locations on a global scale. The purpose was to send a compelling message to our new president, and to show that we will not allow him to forget us. Donald may have the next four years, but we have eternity.