I am a fifty-five year old woman with a chronic illness. I was the first woman to talk to the grandmother from Hawaii who started the page to invite everyone to the Woman’s March on Washington, when she said on Facebook after Hillary’s election that we need to march. I agreed enthusiastically. We talked for the first time on Facebook, and it grew from there. No we were not professional organizers. I gave my bit of input, I started inviting people to the march, and it grew from there. We felt that we had to do something, and so did thousands of other women who wanted to stand up and say, we are here, and we will not be ignored.
This is my personal blog, so and I am expressing my thoughts and views. They are all mine. Period. I’m not expressing the views of the organizers of the march. Now that I have said that……
I wanted to go to the march from the beginning, but I struggled with the decision due to my chronic illness which limits my energy and leaves me feeling fatigued for sometimes up to a week after a simple activity. My doctor does not call it chronic fatigue, but it’s similar. In my enthusiasm and frustration at the election of Trump, I attended a local peaceful protest in St. Petersburg, Florida during the week after his election. I didn’t realize the march would be so long as it went through the familiar streets of downtown St. Petersburg, where only nine seemingly short years prior, I had driven as part of my job as a case manager working with mentally ill adults. It was a stressful job, and certainly not perfect, but I loved interacting with the people dealing with mental health issues, people that I grew to know and respect so much for their kindness, humanity, and even their struggles and the dignity with which they faced them. I thought as I marched how much I missed that job, that life, that feeling of being involved in something important.
I realized I was in that moment involved in something important, no matter how brief the march was. I had asked a friend if she would join me at the march. Another quickly said she would like to go. I hadn’t seen them in years as I have a chronic illness and I rarely get out of the house. I am not exaggerating, ask my neighbors how often they see me. I am not happy or proud of that fact. I hate it. Most chronically ill people hate being ill, but we didn’t’ have a choice. I know I’m lucky to be able to do the things I can do. I know others are sicker than I am. I am simply sharing my story.
The peaceful march in St. Petersburg, Florida reminded me how wonderful it was to do something that was important, and that speaking out for myself and others was vital. As approximately one thousand of us, a diverse crowd of adults from young to elderly, one I saw with a walker, children, people of all colors, straight, gay, transgender, and men and women we walked and shouted peaceful chants. We held out signs, and we marched peacefully through the streets of our small city. It was inspiring. I was hot and sweaty in still warm Florida, at least until the sun went down, and really physically hard for me. There were several bad moments when I thought I might need to just go to the sidewalk and sit down and ask my friend to come get me later. I ‘m not exaggerating. Both friends looked at me more than once and asked if I was okay and if I was going to make it. They were being serious and concerned. I told them, I was going to keep trying. I did. I was happy when we reached the park at the end ,and I was able to sit down and rest while listening to inspiring speeches.
I paid for that march for over a week by staying at home resting, sleeping, and being unable to do anything else. I can’t say it was a mistake as it was an amazing experience. It allowed my body to vent so much of the rage and frustration that I’d been feeling since the election of Trump. I emerged from that walk emotionally strengthened. It was physically exhausting, and I paid the price, but my spirit was flying. I was determined to do whatever I could, in whatever limited way I could.
However, it was a wake up call about my hope to attend the march in Washington. I hesitated for a few days as I felt the aches and pains in my body and had no energy to do anything. A friend who went to the march sent a message on Facebook and asked if I would like to go to a local NOW meeting with her. I would have loved to, and I told her that but declined telling her that I was still recovering from the march and that’s just how my illness worked. She understood. I have amazing and supportive friends.
I decided to check the route and most importantly the length of it on google. So my husband and I did that. We compared it to a length of street in our community that I do not walk, because it’s far for me now. It wasn’t in the past, but it is now. but seemed like something I might be able to do on a good day. I thought about getting a walker with a seat on it, like the one I saw the elderly woman using at the St. Petersburg march, in case I needed it. I thought it would give me support if I got tired, and also a place to sit and rest if I needed it. I hate that I even need to consider this. I grew up in an abusive home so I could not depend on anyone but myself. I have been fiercely independent all of my life, until this illness hit me, and then my body betrayed me. It no longer did what I wanted it to. It simply stopped working.
My husband, who had seen how difficult it was for me to get through this presidential campaign, then the actual election of Donald Trump, was supportive of my desire to participate in the march if I could. I told him I wanted to try it. I decided I would do the best I could, walking as far or as little as I could. Maybe just going to the end destination and waiting, depending on how I felt that day, and hoping that there is some kind of transportation to help me get there or as close as possible.
I want to go to the march for many reasons. I believe that Trump needs to hear from thousands and yes a million of women, if that many show up, that we exist, we will not be ignored, and we will hold him accountable during his presidency. Also, we need to say that women’s rights do matter, and I feel they have been attacked by conservative Republicans in the past administration. I am certainly concerned about reproductive freedoms and basic healthcare for women, and the right to abortion. Women should be able to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives. Period.
I see Donald Trump for who he is. He is a narcissist, like my abusive narcissistic father. I have a college degree and over twenty years of working in social services. I have worked in the mental health field for many years. I know narcissists. Trump is a classic narcissist. He displays all of the classic behaviors. Narcissists, are selfish, self-centered, they create chaos, deflect, project their faults onto others, they lie all of the time, just to lie, even when there is no apparent reason to lie, they have no conscience, they care only about themselves, even their children would and could be sacrificed, (I’ve seen it and lived it.) If they want something, they take it, believing they deserve it because they want it. Trump wants money, obviously, but he also wants adoration as seen by his Thank you and Victory Tour.
I believe Trump’s narcissism is one of the things that makes him so dangerous as a President Elect and certainly even more so as a President. He needs to hear thousands and thousands of women say, we are here, and we will hold you accountable. America and the world needs to see thousands and thousands of women and men on television in Washington, D.C. telling Donald Trump that we stand together, and we will be heard.
Yes, I am going to the Women’s March on Washington, D. C. I will march for as long as I can and as far as I can. Then I will sit down. I may need to go to the end point of the March and greet people if it happens to be a bad day when I wake up. But I am determined to be there and do what I can. It’s important to me and to thousands of other women. It’s important for Trump, America, and the world to see that many women and men and even children standing up together and saying we are here, and we matter, and we won’t be ignored.
I hope you will follow my blog for updates on my experience at the Women’s March on Washington. As a Floridian, former Pennsylvanian from long ago, I know that I will be especially sensitive to the cold, so I’m sure I’ll mention that, but it won’t be my focus. really want to share my experience of the march., the experience of sharing such an amazing, important, and historical event. Everyone be safe, and I hope to see you there.
You can also follow me on Twitter as I will be posting pictures of the march and events that take place that day, January 21. Jamie Bryant @jambie61.