On participating

“Flights packed with Women’s March participants are cheering all the way to DC.” x

“BREAKING: @CNN reports more people on National Mall for #WomensMarch than yesterday at this time for inauguration.” x

“The Women’s March movement is taking place on every continent, even Antarctica.” x

“Aerials over Chicago, Boston show large crowds that have gathered for regional Women’s Marches x

“Metro was half empty for Today: Crowds overwhelming Metro for x

“BREAKING: AP sources say crowd packs entire route of Women’s March, preventing organizers from leading formal march toward White House.” x

“It’s official. The is now the largest presidential protest march in history.” x

Today is important.

Already, the Women’s March (on Washington, Raleigh, Boston, London, Chicago, and NYC, to name a few out of the 600 worldwide) is a movement spanning continents, while just two months ago was a “mere seed of an idea” posted on Facebook by Teresa Shook, an older woman in Hawaii (x).

The closest Women’s March to me is at most an hour drive away.

And I am not there.

There is absolutely no excuse for my absence; one of my Facebook friends is the co-emcee for the event and I’ve seen no shortage of posts about it, I have coworkers and friends that would have gone with me, I have coworkers and friends that are there, my day is free, it is not freezing outside, I’m not sick, I’d have transportation to get there, and I care furiously about this message.

But not enough, clearly.

This post is one I needed to use to say definitively that I am not doing enough. As the immortal words of Kylie Jenner warned us at the beginning of 2016, it’s time to start realizing things — and I’ve realized that I am not participating. In this maybe-4th wave of feminism, in other causes I care about, in hobbies I insist I don’t have time for, in practicing mindfulness, and even in conversations and outings with friends, I am not engaging as genuinely as I know I am able to. I often say how much more I prefer to listen than to talk, but I’m not here to live my live passively, and I’m certainly not doing myself or others any favors by remaining a wallflower.

I care about feminism, because it matters to me how I and other women are perceived and treated by this country and the rest of the world. I care about empowering girls in STEM fields, because I was interested but wasn’t pushed to pursue them when I was still learning the basics, and my brother was. I care about being compassionate toward one another and aspiring toward a future of learning and understanding, because I believe that is the only way humanity will progress into a group of compelling leaders, explorers, educators, and caretakers. But no one knows any of this about me, and I haven’t made even a dent in any sort of movement, because I don’t participate. So that’s going to change.

First, I’m publishing this — which is a small step, but it’s relatively huge for me to admit an enormous character flaw, and one I’m going to have to do a lot of work on.

Next, I’m going to stop scrolling. I’m going to call my representatives when their phone numbers pop up from activist (participating) friends on my Facebook or Twitter feeds, I’m going to click “Going” more often, and I’m going to close my computer when I’ve done whatever task I opened it to accomplish — hopefully, most often, adding to this blog.

I’m going to send my application into the Smithsonian for an internship encouraging and educating girls in STEM, and I’m going to work harder at my job now to implement those same ideals in the after school program, and not just copy activity ideas from Pinterest.

I’m going to reach out to friends first, and show the ones I still have close that they mean the world to me. I’m going to take walks, and take pictures, and take chances on opportunities I often ignore or shy away from entirely. I’m what, 1/5th of the way through my life? At best? What am I doing?

This year I am going to care deeply, and then I’m going to prove it.

What are you going to do?

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Published by

Tiffany Joy Clark

Assistant Coordinator for Education at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center B.A. Media and Journalism

One thought on “On participating”

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