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• When I left the house the morning of 1/21/17, I was scared. I was alone, going to a place where I didn't know if I was going to be meeting friendly people or not, I decided to leave any form of weapon behind, including my trusty pocket knife that I carry every day. If I was going to do this, I was going to do this to the best of my abilities. I didn't know if there were going to be like, 20 people standing on the Common because everyone else got apathetic and stayed home.

• I agonized over how I dressed like someone preparing to hike the Whites in January. Layers rather than bulk, and clothes I could move in easy but that were abrasion resistant. Who knew my official brand of Protesting would be Duluth Trading Co.? What shoes? Sturdy hiking boots or running sneakers? (I settled on the boots.)

• When I got to the Commuter Rail platform, There was a sizable crowd already gathered, people in groups of 2, 4, +. Some singletons like myself.
There was a curious group of 4 white males, approx. late 20's/early 30's, who carried no signs, wore nothing to suggest they were going to the rally, at least not with good intentions. Their group, which I observed from the far side of the tracks, seemed nervous, agitated. They moved forward as if to get on the train headed east, reversed course, circled around as if to get on the platform again, and then eventually left. I observed no one being aggressive towards them, but their group dynamic and body language was peculiar.
The train was approaching capacity by Ashland, and was full in Framingham.

• I got off in Back Bay, and walked over to the Garden, very slowly made my way to the Common. It was already packed.

• The mood was cautiously optimistic. Resolute, determined, yet warm. I don't know how that makes any sense, but it did at the time. People were friendly.

• People liked my sign. I was shy, I didn't think anyone would care, because there were no swears, no colors, and no witty sayings. But history. One cop really complemented it, really liked it. I wanted to hug him, but the sign was in the way.

• I still hate crowds like that. 150k people can suck the life right out of you. Not being able to move was a test in mental control. I still don't like it, and all I could think about was the crush in Kenmore right before the bombing, when Ian and I mused about population densities and biological weapons. Not a joyful thing to keep your heart light when you're shuffling along by inches.

• I saw every age, and every skin tone, and every gender reflected in the crowd. Children were everywhere. I really liked that.

• Bringing a granola bar was a very good idea. Not drinking water so I wouldn't need to find a bathroom was a mixed bag. It turned out to be partly sunny and about 50*, so I wound up dehydrated and spent the next two days chugging water.

• Meeting Shu_Al was wonderful luck. Thought I had resolved to being ok with being there "alone" it was better to have a buddy. Cell phone use was spotty. True texts were the way to go.

• My feet really hurt after that, and it was good to sit down and have a beer.

• The Free Hugs Pitbull was the best.

I don't know what to take away from this, other than if we could get all women and people who are allies of women's concerns pointed in the same direction, we could be an unstoppable force. That people still believe in kindness. That people still do desire to do good. That maybe it isn't always pointed in exactly the direction this specific cause or that specific cause would like, but people want to do good.

There are still good people in the world. That's what I have to hold onto from all of this. That we aren't all apathetic and cynical to the point of in-action.


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