As my alarm went off, I pondered for a moment excusing myself and staying in bed just a little bit longer. My week had been busier than normal, three days at the State House in Augusta and three days at my normal job. My husband’s rhythmic breathing lulled me into justifying why I shouldn’t drive to Boston with friends, neighbors, acquaintances. My mind reasoned why my time would be better spent with my two girls bringing them to their activities and listening to all their rants and raves about school. Our dog stretched out at my feet and pushed her entire ninety pounds against me, nudging me out of bed. At least one of us seemed to be intent on me getting out of bed.
People usually tilt their head to the right when I try to explain that I’m an introvert at heart. Doubt fills their face and their usual response is, “really?”. Large groups, parties of more than just a hand few of friends have always been the most challenging for me, and I usually find a way out before it’s time to commit to joining in on the festivities. When I had read that someone I knew was driving by herself to Boston, I quickly reached out to her and said I would be her wingman. Before I knew it she had opened up the invitation to Facebook and a group of eight of us were slated to march together in Boston, we would be referred to as Sobo Women.
As I turned on the hot water in the shower, Ruby, our dog began barking excitedly. I quickly jumped in the shower as I heard a strange voice in the kitchen. I must have gotten the pick up time wrong. I lathered and rinsed as quickly as I could, leaving no time to opt out of this adventure. I pulled on some jeans and a sweater, grabbed my boots and swept my wet hair back into a knot. I raced down the stairs apologizing for not being ready. We had celebrated a friend’s birthday the night before and I missed a string of emails changing the time for departure. I gazed quickly around the kitchen, we had missed clean up the night before as well. More apologies flowed from a guilt ridden mouth as it kissed my husband quickly and called out last minute directions for drop offs and pick ups and I was off to March in Boston along with millions of others feeling the need to just do something.
It’s now weeks after the march and life has refused to slow down. I’m traveling to Augusta Tuesday through Friday and continuing to work my full time job remotely. The kids have adjusted as best they can and my husband has quietly taken over our home with nothing but words of encouragement and little notes left to inspire me along the way. As the girls and I were in the kitchen tonight, making dinner, doing homework, and getting caught up on constituent emails, I received a message from a dear friend. She requested that I share why I marched in Boston and then email it to Senator Feinstein via Sean_Elsbernd@feinstein.senate.gov and Caitlin_Meyer@feinstein.senate.gov. So after reflecting a bit as I drove and picked up my daughter from Student Government this evening, I’ve finally settled in for the night and ready to share why I marched in Boston.
When I was a little girl, I believed if I pulled my blankets up tight enough over my head that they could protect me from all the monsters in the world. I knew they couldn’t. Harm could come to anyone, at anytime. I learned what hate, rage, and violence could reap before I was even old enough to know how to read. I quickly lost my voice in favor of a quiet respite as I counted the days to the next upheaval. When I was a little girl, I believed that if you were good enough, and did everything that you were told to do that you would be safe from the harms that existed.
When I was a teenager, covered in acne looming over my peers, I learned that names do hurt and cut through you like a sharp steel blade. I felt judgment’s eyes pierce my soul and make me wonder if I was good enough to speak up and ask for my share of the world.
When I graduated from business school and began working in an environment where I stood out like a sore thumb, the only woman except for the CEO’s secretary, I would pretend that I was one of the guys on the sales team and would simply say “you’re so funny” when they would ask me to grab coffee, or make copies for them when I had sold just as much as they had if not more.
When I was a mum for the first time, I remember people having more interest in whether my baby was Mexican or Italian, than him being able to walk before nine months old. I refused to believe that people couldn’t see past the color of his skin, I preferred to stay in a place of denial like I always had.
There are so many things in life for so many of us that are simply just “unfair”. Whether we like it or not, it’s just the way it has been and most likely will always be. So knowing this, accepting this, why did I decide to march in Boston? With everything that life has thrown at me, and believe me I have had my own fair share, I was always able to hold tight to the ideals of our nation as it was intended by our founding fathers and those who marched and fought for the advancement of civil liberties for all. I knew that as a nation we were not perfect but yet I always felt movement, progress forward in the ideal and realization that we were moving towards equality.
“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equally.” As I watched these truths that form the very architecture of our nation, the genetic make up of our citizens being chipped away at by hateful words,falsehoods supported by circular reasoning, and fear driven sensationalism, my heart began to ache. If I could no longer believe in a government that would strive to care for all people not just certain archetypes, then where and what would I stand for? Why would I stand instead of simply lying down and accepting that in the face of uncertainty I truly had no voice at all.
I marched in Boston to be heard. I marched in Boston for the little girl inside who never felt quite safe enough. I marched in Boston for the teen who hated her own reflection because it brought nothing but torment and teasing her way. I marched in Boston for my bi-racial child who is as just as deserving as any child next door. I marched in Boston for my daughters so that they might not be asked to get coffee or run errands for their male equivalents in their work place. I marched in Boston so that I might finally hear my own voice proudly say that this is my body and you cannot choose or decide what will be done with it.
I marched in Boston because if I had stayed in bed and slept in that Saturday morning I would have been left with regret that I didn’t stand up for what I believe is each of our own god given rights to be heard and be justified in the pursuit of liberty and happiness.
It’s late and I’m the last one up in our home. This has turned out to be much longer than I ever intended and messier in its presentation than I had hoped, but for what it’s worth, it is my story, my truth of why I marched in Boston.