I wrote these thoughts during different sittings all around the time of the march. Though initially not intended to read together, upon editing it became apparent there was a flow that made more sense pieced together.
I guess I never really reflected in depth until much longer after the election. Mostly I just sat around and cried. I remember those nights well. When I would show up to work wearing glasses trying hard to hide the puffy eyes from the tears from the night before.
I suppose I’m not from the type of household or upbringing to care significantly about reproductive rights or whatever that stands for these days. Which isn’t to say I don’t care. It’s to say there’s more pressing issues that are relevant to myself and my family and friends.
So why march?
It’s everything from when I meet with a manager who’s older and usually white and male I have to wonder if this is what it’s going to be like for the rest of my life.
It’s about the nagging self-doubt I have quelled by seeing on a national stage a woman who is so unbelievably qualified and a fighter and only to see her be outraced by a man who is hardly a man in any sense of the word.
It's about being a minority and always wondering what it’s like to feel not self-conscious about your race and what you look like, in whatever environment of situation you show up to.
It’s the feeling of wondering if sometimes I try too hard or want too much it’ll be unaccepted or blocked by society by some upper hand I have absolutely no control over.
It’s for lives beyond my own: my mothers’, my eventual daughters’ and every single woman to come who is strong as hell and going to change the world as we know it.
Marching for the women and immigrants who shaped this country and make it better than something that it stood for before. Trying our best to make sure we don’t go back in time.
Leading up to it, I was excited. By the time January 21st rolled around, the prospect of potentially going all in and flying to DC had faded and I was committed to joining some sort of actual solidification of activism for the first time in SF the city.
I excitedly consumed the snaps and instas from friends across the country, telling myself to limit viewing, to save some for the SF experience so it wouldn’t feel like a sequel.
But all of a sudden, in the hour right before, I considered not showing up. Why? Because despite a fun-filled millennial yuppie morning, I’d been unable to convince anyone to join and was somehow unable to think of anyone to contact in my SF circle to march with.
A deafening silence enveloped the house and I tried putting on some music but all that I had the heart to play was some melodic sad indie vocals. Heading out with my bag and hat and wondering if/when I should hit up the coworker who was the only person I knew going was one of the loneliest states I had that month punctuated by an indirect sense of purpose and moral righteousness.
As I walked down Market Street and took in the sights and sounds, I could feel a softening and evolution. It was the spirit of the passing by protesters that imbibed me with a new spirit and outlook. So while making a sharp turn into Walgreens, a quote that was more forceful that I usually would have gone for had I gave it any consideration ahead of time popped into my head and later at CVS, I wrote it down on a poster and that was that.
Making my way to the second store because the first store was out of poster board was one of the more inspired two block walks I’ve taken down Market St. between those borderline sketchy streets. This was before it had started to rain, which as it came down, only fed the march spirit all the more, almost as if giving us something more to persist through. Much more satisfying than marching through sun and smiles.
That being said, I was surprised by the overwhelming positivity of the march overall. From watching a woman tie a ribbon to a police car to sharing nods and smiles with complete strangers, men most of all, it was a fulfilling and reinvigorating time.
Being there solo was almost more powerful because you’re able to see and process everything through a very personal lens. Sometimes when you’re in a large group, whether good friends or people you just met but are trying to be friendly with, interactions with that group can preside over feeling and experiencing in the raw.
Not having someone to live commentary with forced me to internalize it all and think things through and laugh at what my own eyes saw and feel the pain and urgency of the words that my ears heard.
I purposefully made eye contact with fellow protesters and took in their shapes and sizes, both the words on the sign and messages of those who were carrying them. Though I later saw the sub-posters targeted at white women and privilege online, none of the signs I saw in person reflected any of that sentiment.