Celebrated my 60th birthday at the Women's March in Washington DC among more than 500,00 protesters. Best birthday ever!
When I first heard about the Women's March back in late November, there was something about it that intrigued me. I felt drawn to the possibility of being a part of American history.
So I started looking into buying a bus ticket through the CT Chapter of the Women's March facebook page. But then I got distracted over my Christmas trip plans to Florida where I would be hosting an early 60th birthday party among family and friends.
When I returned to Connecticut and as my birthday--January 21--started drawing near, I thought what the hell? Why not celebrate in the name of something that I really care about? The problem was all the Connecticut buses to DC were booking up. Luckily, I got a notification that two tickets opened up on the 4th bus going out of New Haven due to a cancellation. I jumped on it and nabbed a ticket at the last minute.
Getting on a bus at 2:00 AM out of New Haven, CT to get to Washington DC was not comfortable or fun. It was a challenge to sleep. But once we arrived in Washington DC, at 8:30 in the morning, everything changed. As we walked towards the mall, residents of the Capital Hill neighborhood came running out of their beautiful brownstones welcoming us with coffee, donuts, and even hugs. We passed the National Armory where dozens of National Guards waved and took pictures of us. One handsome black National Guard came bouncing down the steps with his fist raised and shouted "Welcome to DC sisters, you rock! Of course we all cheered back to his response.
The police were smiling and clapping for us as we walked by and were happy to take pictures of us with our cellphones. We thanked them for their service. They thanked us for coming. Right away, it became clear this would be no violent protest, this was more like a love fest. In fact, there was not ONE arrest at the biggest Washington DC protest in American history. That's what I call positive female energy.
Yet even with all that uplifting energy that infused the nation's capital, it was far from comfortable. For starters, the city just couldn't handle the massive amount of people. There were not enough port-a-potties. And even the food trucks had long lines where people had to wait over an hour just to get a hot dog. It was so crowded, you couldn't get anything to eat, drink or find a place to pee. But we women our resourceful. After waiting an hour and a half to go to the bathroom, I spotted a ring of women surrounding a bush against a building. There was a roll of toilet paper sitting on the window sill. We lined up and concealed each other as each of us squatted down behind the bush to do our business.
I was hungry. I was thirsty. I held my bladder for as long as I could. After pushing and shoving my way through the subway system back to the bus parking lot--that held 200 buses--I was lost in the maze and could not find my own departing bus. It was frightening. I called the bus captain and she finally retrieved me as I waited at a designated spot under silver balloons.
But for the first time since November's presidential election, my depression was lifted. I felt joined as one with those who felt like me. Serenity at last had befallen me. In the words of Oprah, I had an aha moment. I felt I had the power to actually impact my country. Yes, there truly is strength in numbers. And that's why attending The Women's March in Washington DC will forever be one the most pivotal moments of my lifetime.