This past weekend, my job gave me the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March. The experience is something I will remember forever. I left feeling much better than I thought I would! I stepped out of my comfort zone, learned new things and gained memories I will always cherish. It was something special to be amongst people of all races and genders as well as celebrities and activists all rallying around issues that affect us all. Going to this march taught me that activism can be a form of self care.
I’ll admit that when my boss first approached the ladies of the office about traveling to the march, I had my doubts about if I wanted to attend. I was on the fence because I saw many differing points of view from my peers and other activists about the march, its origins and if it was TRULY a march for womxn of color like me. But as the day got closer, I got more excited and interested in going. I saw womxn of all races and backgrounds pumped and getting ready to go resist. Whether they were going to D.C. or a sister march in their city. I knew I wanted to be a part of history even though I still didn’t know what would come of it.
One of my goals for 2017 was to step out of my comfort zone and try new things.
This would be my first time protesting or attending any type of march/rally. I get really anxious in crowds and I would rather be behind the scenes helping than on the front lines. Crowds generally make me feel extremely vulnerable.
The day before the march, I boarded a bus to Baltimore. Everybody was excited and pumped. Being surrounded by so much female energy was incredible. We left a day early to spend the night in Baltimore before heading to D.C. the next morning. We went out to dinner that night and saw tons of other people who would be traveling to the march the next day. It was like we all apart of some secret club.
The minute we arrived in D.C. it was like we were in an alternate universe. I have never seen so many people in one place. But somehow I did not feel afraid. Usually, when I’m in a large crowd the energy feels like it is suffocating me. But this was different. There was so much positivity, love and solidarity going around. I felt safe and united instead of alienated and afraid. As we took over the streets around the capitol, we laughed, chanted, screamed, cried and fought together as if we all knew each other forever.
I loved seeing Janelle Monae, Angela Davis and Sophie Cruz who was just 6 years old. I loved hearing people chant “BLACK LIVES MATTER!” and stand up for people from all different communities. It really gave me hope. The march was not perfect, but I am proud that I was there. I hope that the momentum continues and that it inspires more people to fight for the struggles of others. Yes this should have happened a long time ago, but I don’t think that matters. I am happy that it is happening now.
Activism as Self Care
Before going to D.C. I was already practicing activism but I never realized how good it was making me feel. I left the march feeling like what I did could really make a difference in the long run. Like my voice mattered. I felt like I could step from behind the scenes and fight on the front lines without fear. I realized that activism has given me confidence to stand up for what I believe in and a sense of purpose. It has taught me to be strong, empowered and resilient. I will continue to fight to show womxn of color that we matter and that all we need is already inside of us. I will continue to fight for what I believe in and find more ways to really make a difference.
Activism has many voices, find yours and let it be heard. But be sure to not burn yourself out in the process! It can be used as self care but it can also drain you and make you unhappy. Here are some self care tips for moments when it becomes too much.