Why I March
Nobody has prepared me how to pack for a march. I don’t have any picket signs or face paint, no extra bras to burn or megaphones in my closet. I’m too tired to worry about that, in all honesty. I just know that Washington, D.C. in January is bound to be colder than California, where I currently live, so I had better bring a coat. I’m tired, but I’m packing.
My mother and I are flying 2,300 miles to participate in the Women’s March on Washington on the day after the presidential inauguration. My mother is a lawyer who works more than she sleeps, but she’s going anyway. My job in journalism consists of long days and getting berated by strangers on the internet. We’re tired, but we’re going.
When we get there, we won’t have much time to see the sights or feel like we’re on vacation. The day of the inauguration we might go to the zoo, or try to get into the new African American museum. We’re tired, but we’ll try.
The day of the march, we’ll likely be surrounded by people — especially other women — who are also tired. The fatigued will be assembled by the hundreds of thousands, our heavy lids and lead-like limbs weighing down the concrete that holds our nation’s capital. We’ll be clutching steaming thermoses of coffee and lifting our heads to smile at each other; mustering just enough energy to pat one another on the back with our sandbag arms. We’re tired, but at least we know we’re all tired together.
We’re tired of feeling like we don’t deserve what we’ve worked for.
We’re tired of being talked over and interrupted in meetings.
Of doing all the work and getting no recognition.
Of being praised for our “enthusiasm” instead of our intellect.
Of worrying whether we’re wearing “too much” or “not enough” makeup.
Of worrying whether we’re wearing something “too provocative” or “too prudish.”
Of worrying whether we’re coming off as “too confident” or “too soft.”
Of constantly looking over our shoulders when we run alone.
Of expressing our frustration, only to be met with defensiveness.
Of brushing off every little sexist remark.
Of ignoring our gut feeling that we just witnessed subtle sexism.
Of doubting ourselves.
Of being brainwashed to hate our bodies.
Of being constantly baited to pick fights or put down other women.
Of feeling we have to choose either a career or a family.
Of being told we sound “shrill.”
Of being told to smile.
Of being afraid that someone will sexually assault us.
Of being terrified that we would be blamed for it.
Of hoping the next generation will raise sons who respect women.
Of worrying that other people will have control over what we do with our bodies.
Of wanting to picture a life for ourselves but seeing nobody who looks like us living it.
Of worrying that our government and the person holding the most important position don’t have our back.
Of knowing that no matter how tired some of us feel, our LGBTQ friends and friends of color are even more exhausted.
We’re tired, but we’re marching anyway. And hopefully — even just for a second — we’ll collectively muster enough energy to jolt the world awake.