Even though the Women’s March on Washington is over, we have to stay active. The 10 Actions / 100 Days campaign is a great place to start!
Our first task was to write to our senators. We should encourage them to fight cabinet appointments, advocate for issues that matter to us, and show we’re not going anywhere. The people who represent us should reflect our values, and it’s important to remind them what our values are. We want to see our education system is in good hands, global warming is taken seriously, our LGBTQIA friends live openly and freely, Muslims don’t wind up persecuted, refugees can seek asylum, black communities can trust their police forces again, and women aren’t pushed back to being second-class citizens.
I wrote to both my current senators in Washington and former senators from Ohio. I’m lucky as hell to live in a state where Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are already doing great things. They are both outspoken about issues I already care about, and are in opposition to Trump’s cabinet choices. Instead of railing on them to change, I thanked them for the work they do – and let them know I recognize and appreciate it.
Writing to my former senators in Ohio, however, proved challenging. It’s hard to write to a senator who disagrees with you, but it was worth it. I think arming yourself with information is important for this exercise. It served as a reminder that our senators do good work for their state – yes, even the ones who belong to a different party than me.
For example, the Republican senator from Ohio does a lot of work with military veterans and bringing back jobs. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman care deeply about the opioid epidemic in Ohio, an issue anyone living in Ohio is painfully aware of. While they disagree on some things, both senators work hard to make Ohio a better place to live. I can certainly respect that.
I started by thanking each person for their service to this country and the states they represent – and I truly meant it. Taking time to put it on paper, I thought about how thankless working in government can be at times. If this is the first time I wrote to them, how many others never bother? We vote for them, and trust them to do what’s best for us. How often do we truly thank them for taking on such tireless and thankless work?
It’s important to stay strong and loud during this fight. However, it’s also time to acknowledge and appreciate those who work hard on our behalf. We need to stay focused while being humane in all this.
If you haven’t written to your senators yet, I highly recommend it. Check out the Women’s March on Washington website for ideas and inspiration, and to find your senators. I also recommend finding something, however small, to thank your senators for. They work hard on both sides of the aisle – and showing appreciation, not just opposition, might encourage change. It can’t hurt, right?
I woke up Saturday morning after only a few hours of sleep, and with a nasty cold that wouldn’t go away. My body was telling me to stay home and rest – that it couldn’t handle marching in the Womxn’s March on Seattle.
Even as I sit in bed sick writing this on Sunday, I’m so glad I went anyway. I regret nothing.
Originally, organizers estimated between 50,000-75,000 people at the most. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a crowd that big (outside of maybe a sporting event).
I showed up 1.5 hours early to Judkins Park, only to find that there were already 50,000 people there! People came by foot, car, bus, ferry, bike – however they could get there.
By the time the march started, I was standing in a crowd of almost 100,000 people.
(Marching down Jackson Street, with people stretching in front and behind me as far as I could see!)
I marched with 130,000 people, though organizers now say it may have been closer to 175,000. I honestly couldn’t tell you which number is true – both are equally nuts to me. We filled the entire 3.6-mile stretch of our march’s path. It was wall-to-wall people for the entire 5 hours it took to complete it. Every muscle in my body just straight hurt afterwards.
What I will remember most about Saturday was how positive and kind everyone was throughout the day. It’s hard to feel safe in a large crowd, especially given I went alone. I had a great time, and never once felt unsafe. Not a single person got arrested, and no one reported shoving/pushing that usually happens with crowds that big. We were there together, marching and chanting with the same mission – to show our solidarity and support for each other.
I spent the day chatting with women of all ages, sharing goldfish crackers with hungry kids, and taking in the amazing signs everyone made. It was poignant to see signs that young girls and boys made for the event. They sincerely expressed what their generation worries about – the environment, immigration laws, bullying, racism, science education, equality, and more. I was proud to see so many children marching and chanting alongside their parents.
The number of signs with a positive and supportive message far outweighed the angry ones, which made me feel encouraged. Sure, it’s funny to see a “Queef on Trump” sign. It was more impressive to see signs from men supporting strong women, children supporting their friends, and women supporting each other. I didn’t make a sign of my own, but once I got there I kind of wish I had!
(At the Space Needle, trying really hard not to look like sick and exhausted!)
By the time I made it to the end of the march, I was ready to head home. It was an amazing experience, but the cold medicine wore off about an hour before we finished, and I was physically shutting down hardcore. I was exhausted, but extremely happy to make it the entire way, sniffles and all!
When I got home, I told my husband all about it while he made dinner, and I watched television coverage from our march and others happening around the world. Not having cell coverage for most of the day, I missed a lot of what was going out outside of Seattle. Seeing millions of people show up around the world on Saturday was comforting. To know that so many others were just as supportive and kind throughout their own marches restored my faith in humanity that I lost in November.
Now, I’m working on what to do next – how to take what I felt Saturday and spread that into my everyday life. I’d love to hear how you plan to do so, too!
From the moment I found out we were having a march in Seattle, I was all in.
I’ve never participated in anything this…big…before. I’m excited and a little nervous, to be honest.
When people ask why I’m marching tomorrow, the answer is simple:
I march for every woman who has been told that she shouldn’t or couldn’t do something because “good girls don’t do that,” or “women shouldn’t be like that.”
I march for everyone who told us men don’t like women who are too smart, accomplished, outspoken, or confident. (My husband would argue otherwise…he likes my loud mouth just fine.)
I march for Planned Parenthood, who helped me out when I was a poor college student without insurance. I continue to go there because they are amazing healthcare providers for both women and men. I hope you thrive for many, many years to come.
I march for every women’s studies student I poked fun at in grad school. I’m deeply sorry, and I understand now more than ever what you were all so angry about.
I march for every woman who has been told that how she dressed, spoke, or behaved led to her being a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence. For every woman who was told, directly or indirectly, that she was asking for it. You didn’t. None of us did.
I march for every time woman who feels the outside world is a dangerous, violent place for women. I hope that changes someday, and that we teach both girls and boys that they have equal right to occupy public spaces.
I march for the next generation of women, who I hope are watching (or marching) today and see that we all care deeply about the world you are growing up in.
I hope everyone marching tomorrow has a safe, positive experience. 🙂
As I sit in the warm sunshine at my favorite coffee shop, I’m finally feeling like a person again.
The past couple days were rough.
I woke up Tuesday morning full of hope and optimism, but went to bed drunk and anxious.
I woke up yesterday morning with tears in my eyes that still haven’t really left, and went to bed a little bit high and still anxious, though the weed did help a little.
(By the way, congratulations to all the states who legalized recreational marijuana. You won’t regret it, I promise!)
I woke up this morning still a little sad, but hopeful. We all seem to be clawing ourselves back up from rock bottom and getting back to it.
Online today, people are sharing their support for each other, and promising to do more. They are encouraging people to donate, volunteer, and raise awareness for groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, National Immigration Law Center, and many others. Even if laws or policies change, these groups will still be around to help fight the good fight – they just might need more of our help if they no longer get as much help from our government.
People are beginning the painful process of healing by taking action – and not just protesting or creating hashtags. They are hugging their neighbors, saying hello to strangers, and silencing bigotry on the street. They are coming together in prayer, in tears, and in little coffee shops like the one I’m sitting in right now to talk it out. Even here in Seattle, where people are known for being a bit…frosty…people seem a little friendlier and gentler than they were a few days ago.
So while I’m still lugging around a rock of anxiety about what the future holds, it’s a little smaller than it was yesterday. I hope that in time we can breathe easier, but not all the way. We still need to keep that pebble of anxiety in our pockets, a reminder that the next 4 years aren’t going to be easy for many of us.
It’s going to be a very hard road to keep the country going forward now that we have a president who is determined to set us back 50 years.
For the women reading this, keep trudging along. We’re used to doing twice the work for half the recognition – and unfortunately, that’s not going to change any time soon. Taking the high road might be harder and more dangerous, but the view at the end is worth it. Keep telling girls they can be whatever they want, and hold the women in your life to a high standard.
Now is not the time to give up and go home. Now is the time to teach little girls that yes, part of being a woman is dealing with setbacks. Part of being a woman is about getting your heart trampled on. Part of being a woman is enduring men in power who believe women should be pretty, silent, and obedient. Part of being a woman is being told no, but ignoring it and moving on anyway.
Show the girls and women in your life that we are strong, powerful, intelligent, and determined. We are not a reflection of what our next president thinks of us. We are a reflection of what Hillary Clinton thinks of us. She may not have broken this glass ceiling, but she showed us that someday one of us will. Someday a woman will be president, thanks to the sizeable crack Hillary left in that glass ceiling to help whoever she is break through, once and for all.
For the men reading this, keep trudging along too. We know you want a better life for your mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and sisters – and we know not all of you voted for our new president (even if the news wants us to think differently).
Be a good example for the boys in your life who look up to you, and hold the grown men in your life to a higher standard. Don’t just tell the women and girls in your life that you respect and support them – show it. Show the world that you are not a reflection of our new president and his misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, homophobic views. Show the girls and women in your life that you value us for more than how we look, or how submissive we are. Show the world that you’re hurting and nervous too.
This is where we are right now – where I am right now. Though it may seem bleak right now, we’ll get through it. Get outside, bask in the sunshine, and take care of yourselves. We have a long road ahead of us, and we’ll need all the strength we can get!
(Image via Pinterest)
After taking a week off from blogging, I have decided that it wasn’t long enough.
This will be the last post I write for a while.
Reflecting on the blog this past week, I realized I’m no longer happy with the content I’m creating. The blog has turned into the same shit everyone else writes about, and that was never my goal. The design of the blog has also frustrated me since day one. No matter how hard I work to find a design scheme I like, it never felt right.
I also feel let down that for all the work I put into creating beautiful photos and writing strong, meaningful content, I haven’t gotten much in return. The blog’s readership hasn’t grown since the beginning. That’s not good enough.
I also stopped reading blogs this week, and found I didn’t miss most of them. I’m not alone in this. Perhaps this is the beginning of the end for blogging? Lately I have found more enjoyment from reading magazines, books, and letters from friends than anything online. Maybe it’s a phase. I’m not sure.
I am going to take a longer break to figure out what the future holds for Afternoon Glow, and what the future holds for life in general. Maybe someday I’ll come back to this. Maybe I won’t. I might be back in a month, a few months, or a year. I don’t know.
For all of you who have been reading from the beginning, thank you for sticking it out for so long. I appreciate that you’ve been there to read, comment, and engage in whatever ways you did. Hopefully I’ll be back soon, but if not, thank you either way.
If you want to keep up with me away from Afternoon Glow, I’ll still be on social media (Instagram and Twitter mainly).
Goodbye for now. I’ll be back when I have something to say.
October is here, and I can’t be happier about it!
Frankly, last month sucked. I was sick for most of it and am still not totally back to normal. Dealing with daily construction on our apartment building isn’t helping, either. It’s so hard to think straight with people hammering on your walls and shouting at each other all day long. I managed to get out more once I felt healthy, but even then it wasn’t enough.
Since I have a lot of work to catch up on, I’m going to take this week off of blogging. I need to focus on kicking this cold/allergy/stress thing once and for all, and work on some blog-related things I didn’t get to while I was ill. Hell, Friday was the first time I vacuumed in almost a month – and it was so needed!
I hope everyone has a great week, and I’ll see you back here next week!
Happy Friday everyone!
This week has been so much better. I’m finally over being sick, the weather cooled off, and the leaves seemed to change overnight. Fall is officially here, and I’m excited to get out and enjoy it!
Since I haven’t done a Friday Favorites in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some things I’ve been loving online since then:
I’m looking forward to spending the weekend hiking, enjoying the cool weather and changing colors. It’s also football season, so I will hopefully get some time to read more too. There is nothing like getting cozy with a book, am I right?
What are your plans this weekend? How have you been ringing in fall where you live?
(#TBT to some amazing fall hiking from last year!)
While it has felt like fall around here for a couple weeks now, I’m so glad it’s officially here. Now I won’t feel bad about adding pumpkin spice to my coffee, oatmeal, bread – just about everything!
Summer was great, but around here it was just too hot to enjoy. I love being outdoors, and fall is the perfect time of year to get outside and enjoy some amazing weather. Even the rain is something I welcome happily. It’s the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket and read a book…or take a nap. I can’t wait to spend more time hiking, working, and generally being productive instead of hiding from the heat.
Fall also signifies the start of a new school year for most people. Even though I’m not a student or teacher anymore, I always considered fall the time of new beginnings. So to ring in the fall, I plan to sit down and carefully make plans and goals to round out the rest of the year. There are so many things I wanted to get done this year that I didn’t get around to, and many more I haven’t started yet. Just because the year is coming to a close doesn’t mean we can’t get shit done, right?
So to all of you like me to consider fall to be their favorite season, get out there and enjoy the changing leaves, damp air, and maybe even a latte or two. Hell, if I remember I’ll even show you how I make my own PSL – they’re easy and oh so tasty!
How do you plan to spend your fall this year? Do you have any traditions you take part in, or favorite foods you like to make? Let me know in the comments!
When I was a kid, I longed for a pen pal. I remember thinking how great it would be to have a friend on the other side of the world or country to talk to. We could bond over our favorite television shows, growing up, and silly things kids talk about. I tried a few times to keep up with old friends after we moved, but it never lasted long. Then the internet happened, and writing letters all but disappeared.
When Kayley Vandenberg, a Michigan-born blogger I’ve followed for years, wanted to start mailing out a monthly letter to her followers, I was hooked. She started “The Year of the Work” as a way to share her journey to find peace within herself, and to work out some things that were too intimate for an online forum. I look forward to getting her letter in the mail every month like I did when I was a kid waiting on a pen pal.
To honor the amount of work she puts into these letters, I make a point of taking each letter to a special place to read them. I also treat myself to a donut (a totally non-intentional thing). When I sit down to read, I take my time to pour through everything – often reading it a couple times. It’s a great time for me to relax and catch up with a woman who feels like an old friend. One month, I even ran into an old friend while reading my letter. He’s someone I know from college, and it was bittersweet to catch up with him. It was a nice reminder of a time when I used to have friends. (I’m only sort of joking about that…)
Kayley has also inspired me to start journaling more for myself, which has been a lifesaver lately. I don’t have people in my life I feel comfortable venting to. Most people I know have a tough time keeping things to themselves. Having a journal is a great alternative. I didn’t know I needed the journal this much. Now that I’m getting the hang of it, I actually miss it on the days I don’t write.
Now all I need to do is muster up the guts to write her back someday! I’m working on it, girl!
If you have been a long-time follower of Kayley, and want to join The Year of The Work: