Today, I participated in something I had never thought I would; or could.
This weekend has involved a lot of political riots, protests, and rallies across the United States. Today multiple cities held their own Women’s March rally. Now, as someone who deals with anxiety, attending large rallies for causes that I care about was never a thing I got to participate in. Even attending sports events would cause anxiety, especially after I had to stop participating in Marching Band.
Over the past five years, I’ve been able to manage being around large crowds, but some little moments can cause a mental breakdown. As an activist over many categories, I have slowly been working on attending these events. For example, two years ago I was in Columbus, Ohio for a convention, and there was still a rally for Wendy’s to give rights to farmers. I wasn’t ready for the crowd, so I continued going to the convention. Here is an article about said event.
In 2015, I had an opportunity to go to a rally at my University. You may recall this event occurring at the University of Oklahoma back in 2015. I never made it because of my anxiety, but I wore solid black that day to class, protesting still. I joined the OU Unheard activist group, and have been cheering them on from the sidelines. If you want to follow OU Unheard on Twitter, do so here!
Oh, and even attending WrestleMania 32 in Dallas, Texas was a stretch for me. I mean, 100,000 people took a toll on me. I avoided people for a week afterwards. But I think it was my love for the Wrestling business that kept me alive for several hours that day.
Today, I embraced my anxiety once more, and joined thousands of Oklahoman’s in the worldwide Women’s March. I had knew about the Women’s March going on at the capitol, but I did not know that “Sister Marches” were going on in fifty stares. I found this out via social media on Wednesday, and knew that I would need to prepare for the mental anxiety and awareness it takes to attend this event.
When I saw the large amount of people signed up on Facebook for this event, I about cried and was in fear of my anxiety again. I made a deal with myself, that if I was able to at least attend an hour of the event, than it would be a victory for me. I had to remind myself, that I’ve been on the fifty yard line with a Trombone in the Houston Reliant/NGR stadium (marching band, yay!). That helped me out in the end, except for the marching part, but more on that later.
Deciding what to wear was more difficult than it should’ve been. I could not afford buying a rally shirt, but needed to use what I could from my closet. This refinery 29 article was helpful in relation to the history of Women’s Marches and colors worn. In the end, I decided to wear solid black cardigan, and black leggings to go with my flowery dress that showed colors of pink.
Even deciding on wearing make-up or not drove me nuts the morning of (this morning). What if I am asked to speak to the press? What about all those photos I’ll be in because I’m standing next to a sign?
Yeah, in the end I was already running “late” to the event, and never put on make-up anyways.I’m glad that I was able to find a parking spot close to the capitol thirty minutes before it was supposed to start. While I had friends who were also attending this event and I could’ve easily met up with them. In the end, I needed to conquer this anxiety over large events and crowds for myself.
So I went, and while I have realized I am one to not say much during these events, I couldn’t help but chuckle at signs that were created to bring change. Some were down right funny, and brutally honest. Weaving in between the crowds at a slow rate helped me manage the large crowd. While waiting on the march to start, I ran into a friend, which was really cool. I didn’t march next to them, because he was with a group of friends and family.
After doing half the march at a slow pace that I am not a fan of, I took this video of the march, from an inside the oval perspective:
I signed a few petitions, and left before the minute of silence, because my anxiety was slowly coming back after being there for a hour. And guess what? It was a good day, even if I could only attend one hour of this event. I feel like my presence was still felt, during and after the rally.
When I got to my truck, I had to sit inside my vehicle in silence and concentrate on my breathing, so I could resume my day. I actually just took a break from writing this, and I just saw this poster at a rally in NYC. #sobadevenintrovertsarehere This said photo is the header for this blog for a reason.
If you are a introvert, or have anxiety and was able to participate in the rallies that were worldwide today, shout out to you. To the fact that you were able to wake up this morning, and say “hey, lets face this together.”. Facing our daily fears and knocking them out, is a beautiful process.
And on my next shopping item is to finally purchase a homemade pink hat with ears. Better known as the “Pussy Hat Project.”
Cheers to Democracy,
I created a petition on change.org for Starbucks to start recycling in stores. I’ve seen that some stores have recycling cans for coffee cups, but not all. Please consider signing, or even taking an active “Eco-friendly” lifestyle. As always, thank you for reading!