You know, back when I was wondering if I should go to the Women’s March, I questioned whether it would make a difference. Would it change me?
The answer is yes. Yes. I’m still very much the same person (of course), but thanks to the march, I’m moving now.
It’s all very awkward, though.
I’m completely out of my league with this activism thing. My understanding of politics is shaky (that’s putting it nicely), and I’ve been gifted with a hefty dose of cynicism. I’m not one to jump on any bandwagons, even ones I find attractive. I’m fully aware that there is always another side of the story, that people are biased, that nothing is totally clear-cut.
So I move slowly, cautiously, like a stiff-legged teenager trying to dance for the first time, hoping against hope that she doesn’t fall flat on her face. Or, in the case of my daily phone calling, hoping I don’t unintentionally ask my senators to take the wrong action. I seek out writers and news sources that I trust. Once in a while I read a piece from the other side, or watch an interview, in an attempt to get to the source. When one of my friends posted a photo of postcards she was making, I ordered a half dozen. I’ll use them to write to my government officials, though I stuck one to the wall above my desk, a reminder to speak up already, Woman.
The kids’ interest and curiosity has sparked a bunch of conversations. I try to keep them updated on what’s going on, together watching interviews and the live newsfeeds of the protests, and explaining why I’m signing the petition to make our town a sanctuary city.
When the younger kids overhear me leaving a message for a senator (yet again because, “Due to a higher than normal call volume, we are unable to take your call at this time”), they get all giddy. What were you telling them to do this time, Mom, huh? What did you say? As though the senators have no choice but to follow my orders.
On Sunday, with less than 24 hours notice, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Harrisonburg to protest the immigration ban. After hearing reports of the chants and collective roars from DC, and listening to the protesters on the news, my kids were thrilled to yell along with everyone else: No hate! No fear! Immigrants are welcome here! My brother, a freelance reporter for our local NPR station, did a short piece on the rally. (The last quote is my favorite.)
There’s so much I don’t understand. So much to do and so little I can do. I’m in over my head. We all are, I guess, right? Already, less than two weeks in, I find myself growing weary. It’d be so much easier to shut all of this out, turn it off. And, quite frankly, I’m sure I will, from time to time.
But, for right now, I’m moving.
One babystep at a time.
Oh, and one more thing! Today, scrolling through an endless stream of political posts on Facebook, I landed upon this gem, a friend’s little girl’s spontaneous bedtime prayer:
Thank you for friends and family. Thank you we are the same and different. Thank you for our shapes, colors, and sounds. And please watch over little Anna as she sleeps. Amen.
—Little Anna, age 4
This same time years previous: lemon creams, and just when you thought my life was all peaches, peanut butter and honey granola, homemade mayonnaise, rock-my-world cocoa brownies, and orange cranberry biscotti.
GeorgiaHB, You stated that you didn't want me to publish your comment. However, I am not able to read your whole comment without publishing it. If you'd like to write to me privately, feel free to message me through the contact link at the top of the page.
Trump is a rebel. I like that. Not in favor of the way he executes his authority, but genuinely hopeful for the outcomes.(Minus the pipeline).
Amy in Oregon
It is funny I have read your blog for several years, but haven't comment much at all. It is great your standing up for what you believe in and doing it in a respectable way. I am PROUD to say I am standing too but not with you!! I am standing in support of this change and praying for more.
Amy, nice to see you show your face since you previously commented as "anonymous". Maybe you weren't PROUD of your previous comment, eh?
Thank you, Amy. The kind comments I've received from people who believe differently from me are some of my favorites…both humbling and invigorating. xo!
Yesterday, I took the "day off" from news sites.(We don't have tv.) It was hard because my tumblr dashboard (the only social media I use) has posts that sneak in from other users I follow. But I encouraged myself to scroll past quickly and let it pass by for the day. It was a welcome, personal break for me. And today I spent a little time looking online at a news site I frequent.
I think it is so important for educators to remember that what they say, do, and how they dress can all directly impact the people around them who are learning. I can see you modeling really important lessons to your children in your posts, and it makes me feel proud that the youth growing up in these times have people like you to look to for a model of how to voice their input without resorting to violence.
Have been to three demonstrations in the past week and a half here in New York City. Will continue to go to as many as possible. It is inspiring to see so many families taking part.
At our Sunday gathering, there was a 48-hour old baby!!!
It's exhausting for sure, and we have only just begun, but it is just a little of what others that came before did for us. I just keep telling myself how tired Martin Luther King or Elizabeth Cady Stanton must have been. I bet they wondered more than once if it were worth the sacrifice. If I can fit phone calls and emails into my regular routine and show up to protest when something is close to home, then that is the small price I can pay for my citizenship. I am so proud, and honestly encouraged, by the action ordinary people are taking in the face of this painful attempt at a huge step back.
Keep it up!
I too, am totally exhausted by all this. And I've been a political/news junkie who has called my elected representatives to voice my views most of my adult life, who has paid attention to current events my entire life. I gave up reading the front page section of the paper there for a while because it was so hard, but I'm back to reading it first. I just take a deep breath and dive in.
As part of my self-care, I've gotten back into making things – all of this has helped end my creative drought, so there's that positive! I've taken to posting on instagram a photo of what I've made that day and I'm hoping I can get back into blogging these things. I'm also using my energy to help do some fundraisers for organizations that can do more than myself – my friend Jenny & I took photos of the DC march and are having postcards made. Look for my fb post on when they arrive (proceeds to ACLU and PP)! And I'm helping to organize a fundraising dinner here for the Legal Aid Justice Center, which picked up the slack at Dulles over the weekend with detained parties, as well as International Neighbors, an organization that helps refugees here in Cville. I've long been involved, but I'm really trying to step it up a notch these days.
But goodness, this is exhausting.