I knew the day was going to be much bigger than I had imagined as I was circling the car around the metro station looking for a parking spot. It was clear that there were no spots to be had. And upon venturing out into the side streets, it was clear there were no spots to be had there either. “What the heck!” I thought. The march wasn’t even scheduled to start for almost 2 more hours. I had already dropped Mr. Gooder off to go downstairs to grab tickets, and as I made my way further and further away from the station, I realized it would actually be faster to go home, call an uber and be dropped back at the station. Turns out I was right. I even made better time than our friends who were also circling for a spot at the same time as me.
So. Many. People. And this was just the metro station. It was exhilarating to see everyone. But my anxiety also started to kick in. The platform was uncomfortably (and dangerously) crowded. And in short time it was clear to us that we should actually jump on the train going the opposite direction, ride it to the next (and last) stop, so we could then just ride it back down in the opposite direction.
When the car showed up, we realized others at stops further down from ours had the same idea. It was packed with people from the Hollywood station. The four of us looked at each other and decided in a split second to take our chances squeezing in
Ok- squeezing in was an understatement in this situation. We were packed so tightly, that when the train doors closed, serious claustrophobic panic set in (for me). I clung to Mr. Gooder, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply until I could feel my fluttering heart slow.
If this was a “normal” crowd, I never would have made it. I think very few of us would have. But this wasn’t a normal crowd. Because this overstuffed, uncomfortable train car was filled with smiles, and laughter, and kindness, and camaraderie. In a space where it was almost impossible to move an inch, I saw people moving their bodies in synch so the few poor souls who were actually trying to get off the train to get to work and their normal lives could. At each stop, the crowds of crestfallen people who had no hope of getting on the already tightly crammed cars clapped and cheered us on as we pulled out. And in this moment- before I saw any signs or heard any speeches in the sea of humanity that was downtown Los Angeles that day- I knew that we have the power to change the world
And that was just the beginning of the day. Just as these marches are just the beginning of this fight.
I was raised to believe that I could do anything my three brothers could. I’m sure many of the women I walked alongside on Saturday where too. It never occurred to me that my rights could be stripped from me. But here we sit, in 2017 and that is exactly what is happening. White, scared men with power are doing the unthinkable. They’re trying to turn back time. To go back to when the world was a “better” place. Change is difficult for all of us, so I can empathize with their fear. Except that, it wasn’t a better time. Not for women, or anyone of color or different faiths or sexual orientation. And really, there is no going back now. It’s impossible. The genie has been let out of the bottle. There is only going forward, and now- more than ever- it’s imperative that we raise our hands and work together as a collective to paint the picture of what forward looks like.
I had zero interest in showing up on Saturday to spread hate and divisiveness by chanting “not my president!” Because the reality is, he is. And because he is the president to so many who didn’t vote for him and are so vehemently opposed to him, this march was a collective awakening. Women, all over the world, waking up and recognizing the power they have. The power that has always been our birthright. Just like in fairytales, sometimes the ogre has to show up before we realize we have it.
Women have the power to birth new life. And by showing up together, we are all birthing together- men included.
We are birthing beauty, birthing love, birthing unity. And it will not be an easy birth- or a short one. But we are here, and we are ready. And we are together. Energetically pressed body to body like in that train car. An impenetrable mass of determination and love.