A couple of weeks ago I had a curious encounter with the friend of a friend. I live in a small town. In some ways we’re all at least neighbors. Huddled in a small group at the local grocery store, we were chatting about our experiences with the Women’s March.
I’ve always wanted to participate in protest activism with my girls. However, this remains a bucket list item yet to achieve. I was unable to go into the city to march due to a previous obligation involving one of my grown daughters. My other daughter was unable to attend due to work obligations.
I shared in the group that I took part in the local march. “Aw, that’s all?” said the friend of a friend. I shrugged. “There will be other marches,” I said, and I do believe that to be true.
She looked me in the eye and said, “Wow, you really couldn’t make it a higher priority? You do know you missed the biggest march of your lifetime.” I stared back silently until things got awkward, then repeated, “There will be other marches.”
Others in our group echoed my sentiment. Regardless, I felt lame.
Choosing self over community
Secretly, I was glad I couldn’t make the big one in Seattle. I’d seen the traffic, the throngs, I’d heard the epic tales. My friends were there for upwards of 10 hours, and returned feeling equal parts exhausted and elated. Not my brain’s idea of a picnic.
Crowds are a huge energy sucker for me. My MS leeches energy through cognitive overkill. The sounds, the sights, the constant chatter, and emotional energy—it’s my personal kryptonite.
The march in Seattle was HUGE. Had I gone, even a few minutes at the march would have caused my ears to start ringing, my focus to scatter, my breathing and walking to become slow and leaden. I would have had to leave early with a dead battery requiring about 36 hours to recharge.
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