Friday morning started normal enough. I crawled out of bed poured my coffee and opened up the New York Times app on my phone. 5:55 am. That is the exact moment reality hit me like a ton of lead. In a few hours Trump would be sworn in as president. This was really happening.
I think that I’ve been living in denial for a long time. The reality of this man as our president has been too bizarre to wrap my head around. But when the reality hit me I couldn’t hold back the tears. I cried all day long. It was hard to even find something to keep my mind off of it. I had this weird compulsion to go online so I could connect with my friends and talk to them about this, but at the same time the online world was not doing anything for my mental health.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling a sense of dread. I searched my mind to find a reason to get up. A reason to be happy but I came up short. Several of my friends were going to the Woman’s March in Portland on that day but I couldn’t go because I am a Saturday Librarian. I honestly wasn’t super excited about the women’s march, to be honest. Again, I think that denial caused me to not care about much of anything. I think I felt powerless and not seeing the point of protests. I didn’t even knit a pussy hat, and I’m an avid knitter! But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get excited about it.
Regardless, I learned a few days ago that my small town was having it’s own women’s march. My schedule worked out that I was able to take an hour off to check it out. I thought, if anything, It would be an opportunity to shoot some film.
I am generally very shy about doing social things by myself and I was so tempted to just not go. But something deep inside compelled me to get away from the desk and start moving in the direction of the meetup spot. I honestly didn’t expect much because I live in a conservative town. I thought maybe 25 people would show up. But as I started walking I noticed small groups of women with pink hats walking in the same direction I was. My heart started beating faster. I found myself smiling a little bit. As I walked closer a small, pink headed crowd was gathered in the square.
I was instantly heartened by the positive vibes and the crowd waiting to start. As I walked up I saw the faces of a few good friends. We hugged and talked about how happy we were to be able to march together in Sandy. We talked about how difficult the day before had been. And to see all of these people here, ready to march, seemed to have the same effect on all of us. It woke us up and empowered us a little bit.
More and more people gathered and when it came close to 10:00 my friend said, “Gloria Steinem is doing a minute of silence at 1:00 in DC, we should do that here!” So the organizer quickly made this happen.
Then we were off! As we started marching I saw more and more friendly faces. My heart filled with so much joy. I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it was to march with my fellow townspeople, these people I have known and served at the library for 7 years. And we were all part of a much bigger thing. But we didn’t have to travel outside our town to be a part of it. I was in awe of the moment, as my fellow marchers were. And I was so grateful that the Universe conspired to get me to this place, despite my best effort to not be there. I needed this moment desperately. As I watched the news over the rest of the day and saw all of the women march in solidarity all over the world, the millions of women who came together, well, I am speechless. I have tears in my eyes even thinking about this and writing about it now. It is truly awe inspiring. We are powerful together.
It was a peaceful march. Around 200 women, men, and children marched. We stayed on the sidewalk and even waited for the light to cross streets. Many cars honked encouragement as they whizzed by us on the highway to Mt Hood. A few people yelled, “Trump” out the window but you know what? They weren’t aggressive and they were expressing their opinion. It was all good. Generally really good energy. I can honestly say it was one of the best hours of my life.
Here are a few more iPhone photos from the march. I also brought an Olympus Trip and took several portraits. I will post them when I develop the film.