Why I Marched (and probably shouldn’t have): Soror Maralis Mercado Emerson
Note: This is part of an ongoing series of reflections about the recent marches and protests from Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. sisters.
January 21, 2017. The date chosen for those who chose to identify as women and their allies to get themselves together, march through their cities, and rally. This here was and is a collective outcry for the mess that is happening around us right now. Throughout the week, I went back and forth on whether or not I was going to participate. I had my pros and cons, and my cons were outweighing the pros and yet, I didn’t listen to myself. UGH. Here’s the thing. I should’ve stayed my butt at home. I went because, FOMO… Welp, now I’m dealing with the consequences.
You might be thinking, “Well it was all in solidarity! we need to have our voices heard!” I don’t disagree. The energy when I arrived at Moore Square was palpable. Momma’s with their littles all bundled up holding their signs, pink hats everywhere, Muslim women rockin hijab without fear, allies shoutin “im here and im queer and we’re here for all of it.” It was a beautiful sight to behold for the person that wasn’t already going through… The entire time I was there, all I could think of was “oh yall cute… (cue side eye). I was physically outside and I struggled with feelings of claustrophobia and to be honest I was mad as fuck (expletives used for emphasis).
My spirit didn’t feel right and now two days latter, I know why. I didn’t put myself first. I was at the top of the list. I was already in my feelings about what was happening to our government. I was celebrating the lives of some amazing people that went on to glory. I was mourning the transition of a president who I thank God, made it through the 8 years he served us. I was hurt by “Christians” who “prayed” for this to happen. I was REALLY mad at women who just talked and did no work. I was disappointed at myself for not learning more, saying more, doing more.
So yeah, I went, but I wish I hadn’t. Because in the end, the only thing I have control over is myself and if I don’t take care of me I cannot continue doing the work I have been doing. Many of us deal with a barrage of microaggressions that feel like alcohol on papercuts. You don’t even know where the cut, is but you sure feel it. Seeing people march and yell and get all hype was great but I kept asking myself, “what are YOU going to do know that you have all this motivation?” And before you ask me what and am I doing, here’s your answer. I’m holding myself accountable to teaching my neighborhood about local government and how to hold elected officials accountable. I’m creating affirming places for people to be who they are and live out their truths in brave and safe spaces. I’m the one who holds you when you no longer can hold yourself. I’m teaching my son to think critically, learn intentionally, and act fierce-fully. I’m. Putting. Me. First.
And today I’m just being.
Peace, Grace, Love, and Light.
Soror Maralis Mercado Emerson is the co-founder and coach at LEAD Creative Collaborative where she believes that creativity, healing, love, and purpose are motivators for individuals to do great things. She firmly trusts in the power of faith, self-love, self-care and dreaming big and she has a love for people, which is evident in her daily work. She crossed into the organization Fall 2014 into Xi Theta in RDU, NC, and is currently a dedicated member.