The Women’s March 1/21/17

It’s all over the news, this march, and all over the Internet. It is, in fact, a worldwide event. I’m glad and proud of the women and the men who are there.

My husband and I planned to go. But I woke this morning with my body uncomfortable, feeling resistant, uneasy, tense. And wound through it all, sorrow. I’ve learned to pay attention when my body reacts.

I sat with the feelings, brewed tea, gazed out the window. While I vote every election, city, state, federal, financially support candidates when I can, and watch and read and evaluate, I’ve been out of politics for a long time. I wondered at my resistance. There’s a march here in Kansas City; many of my friends are going. Why didn’t I want to go?

I kept remembering a vow I made years ago: I would no longer man (or woman) the barricades (civil rights, women’s rights, anti-war protests) but would change the world one person at a time.

Shift to Germany, late 1974. My first husband a soldier and the family had transferred to Germany. The Watergate hearings were going on, but all I could get on our military housing television was German-language hearings, and printed information from the Stars and Stripes newspaper.

I’d just come from three years of Texas politics. In those days, Texas politics were fun: Barbara Jordan, Sissy Farenthold, Sarah Weddington. The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification (and ultimately failed).

(As a digression, what’s interesting is that Civil Rights has passed; Gay Rights and Gay Marriage has passed–all of which I’ve supported–but no Equal Rights for women.)

In those Texas years, I was deeply involved in politics and in the women’s movement. My friend Cynthia and I formed a consciousness-raising group in Temple, Texas, and joined as charter members of The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC). We attended the first women’s convention in 100 years at the Rice Hotel in Houston. Here’s a post on that if you’re interested.

But in Germany, there were only Military Wives Clubs. My politics did not fit.

And so, I read. Fortunately, the post library had a good selection of novels and I checked out Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey. I don’t remember what it was in the novel that suddenly lifted my head, but I remember my snuggled body in a patch of weak sunlight by a south window. I stared at the television, tuned in to the Watergate hearings, sound turned down, and the realization struck: I would no longer man the barricades, I would change the world one person at a time.

And so, this morning, when I remembered my vow of so many years ago, I thought that was the reason for my body’s resistance. But the resistance didn’t fade. And the sorrow deepened.

That’s when I remembered Cynthia. Here’s one post on life with Cynthia; and here’s another.

That’s when I realized what the resistance meant and why the sorrow. If she were alive, we would have gone together today, either her coming to me or I to her. We would have laughed and told stories and remembered together.

But we can’t. I’m still traveling on this plane and she on another. Perhaps that’s why death is so hard–not just the missing or the emptiness, although there is that, but the stories we held that can only be told by me to others who will hear them for the first time. Or the second time, since I’ve written so much about her influence on my life.

But no chance to reminisce together, to laugh, to fill in each others’ lost pieces.

I could not go without her.

With the realization, my body relaxed, and I sighed. There are some things that cannot be done without the other part of who you are.

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11 thoughts on “The Women’s March 1/21/17

  1. Well…this is a truly introspective post. A fond remembrance of truth in friendship and solidarity. Thanks so much for remembering out loud on this page to calm and free your discomfort, and to allow your readers to peer deeply soul to soul. United. Bonded on forever planes. Peace Be Still ***

    1. What a kind thing to say. Thank you so much. Sometimes, well, often, I have to write in order to make sense of things. I really liked your line, “Bonded on forever planes.” Yes. I’ve dreamed of her over the years. I always wake up comforted.

  2. Beautiful post. My reason for not going to the women’s march where I live was because I’ve never been an activist. I love people one at a time, strangers and friends. And I pray.

    1. Thank you. I don’t have any problems with those who aren’t activists. Probably, I could fit in that category if I didn’t still get so annoyed at — well, I can still get annoyed, in general, at politics. And do a lot of praying, too. 🙂

  3. We weren’t able to go to the march in Los Angeles, either; and at first I think my wife and I both felt left out even though our reason for missing it was a good one (a family member in the hospital). But I think we also realized the marches are just the beginning and you can express your solidarity and many kinds of ways. What you say about the deep connection to your friend is so powerful and beautiful, Janet; in thinking about her, and what she means to you, I think you did something so special that is a reminder to all of us. What a wonderful post friend.

  4. Thank you for the Janet! I touches me. I have the same emotions about the marches, altho different reasons. Still searching for the right words, I am… Sending love, Leslee

  5. it is always a good

    idea to listen to your bod y I had planned to go but Deirdre my daughter came in for granmas funeral and it was more important to spend time with her…with 10,000 people there I could have had a health issue

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