Wednesday, November 9, 2016 was a tragic day for me. I woke up, though I had barely slept, to shock and disbelief. Had the election results from the night before been just a bad dream? Or was, in fact, the groper from hell elected as our next president? I was so wrought with sadness that I could scarcely make myself go into work.
The idea of leaving the U.S had entered my mind even as I was watching the election results. It was not outside the realm of possibility. As an ESL teacher,I can easily get a job pretty much anywhere in the world. Brazil was calling to me. Rather than try to stomach seeing that orange-haired pussy-grabber take the helm of this country, I would distance myself from the debacle and wait out the next four years on the beaches of Brazil with a caipirinha. Brazilian beaches (and Brazilian beach boys) might be able to lessen the intense depression and sadness I felt. My country had let me down.
The new year arrived. Every fiber of my being cringed as I thought of him being sworn in as president. I wanted more than anything to escape before Inauguration Day, but it just wasn’t feasible. As that day approached, I felt more and more despondent. Maybe the last two months had been a long nightmare and I would wake up to see a woman sworn into office for the first time.
Life went on, but it was far from normal. My Inbox was more full than usual, and I waded through far too many emails that expressed the same kind of sadness and outrage I felt. One such email which announced the Women’s March the day after the inauguration, got filed away in the back of my mind. Funny thing, the back of the mind. It is a storage place for some pretty important things if we find our way back to them.
Then one night in January of 2017, I had a dream. In my dream I was in a beautiful oak-tree-lined neighborhood which looked somewhat like Key West. I went inside a bar that was in a historic old house. It could have been Sloppy Joe’s by the look of the wooden floors, antique mahogany bar and the taxidermied marlins on the wall. The bar was full of an older clientele, probably locals. One white-haired old man approached me and asked if I wanted to join him for a beer. My instincts were to decline, but he did somewhat resemble Papa Hemingway himself, so I figured why not?
I sat across from this old guy knowing full well we probably had little in common other than the fact we were both white and over the age of 50, but then almost everyone else in the bar fit that description. Just as we were about to engage in meaningless small talk, I heard a commotion outside the bar. It was the sound of numerous voices chanting in unison. I walked to the window to look outside.
Marching down the street was a large throng of women. There were dozens and dozens of them. Some were dressed in bright pink, while others wore white. Some wore purple. They marched in groups according to their color, so that the pinks were together and the whites were together and the purples were together. This made the colors all the more noticeable. The significance of the colors were not lost on me. Pink has been adopted by various women’s causes. White was the color the suffragettes wore. And purple has also long been associated with women’s rights activists. The different-colored groups of women made this look like a parade with a purpose.
I was overwhelmed by the energy of these marching women. Suddenly, I knew I had a purpose. “These are my people!” I thought to myself. “I belong with them!” And I joined their ranks and marched along with them towards the town square and government buildings where the march ended in a rally. Women of all ages and colors milled about and gave attention to the speakers. I was in my place!
After the rally ended, I realized I had left the bar without saying anything to the old guy with whom I had been sharing a beer. I went back to the bar to find him to apologize, but was told by the waitress (also a white woman over 50) that he had left. I offered to pay my tab, but she said he had taken care of it. I felt bad that I had ditched him. Then I woke up.
The next morning I wondered about my dream. Why had I dreamt that? What did it mean? Then I remembered what I had filed away in the back of my mind. There really was a Women’s March! When was it? Had I missed it? I checked my email to find that the march was the very next day! My dream was my subconscious telling me not to miss the march. I texted my friend Elia. “Let’s go together to the Women’s March!”
I attended the 2017 Women’s March in Miami with my friends Elia and Paulino. It was unlike any march I have ever attended. It was as if all the bad energy that resulted after the election was turned around and channeled into the most amazing and powerful energy. We weren’t just pissed off. We were pissed off and DOING something about it. We were not going to stand around being massively insulted by the groper-in-chief and his horrendous cabinet. We were not going to tolerate the kind of bigotry and misogyny that brought him to his position. We were standing up and fighting back!
I would not have gone to the Women’s March Miami had it not been for my dream. My dream told me that my place was with those women (and men). My dream told me that my purpose was to fight alongside my sisters and brothers for a more just, inclusive, egalitarian and peaceful world. My dream told me that as I had been an activist for decades, now was not the time to abandon my country and find solace on foreign shores, but to stay and fight for what is right.
Interpreting that part of my dream was easy. Perhaps the old white guy and the old white clientele in the bar were also symbolic. Could they have represented the typical Trump voter? Rather than seeing them as the enemy, perhaps my dream was telling me that they are people worthy of compassion themselves. They should not be abandoned as we fight for a better world.
The Women’s March inspired me and empowered me. It is not a one-time event for myself or for thousands and thousands of others who participated around the country and around the world. I have been re-activated, while others are just now finding their activism. I am now actively volunteering with Planned Parenthood (#floridaplannedparenthood) and the New Florida Majority (#newfloridamajority), not just to combat Trump policies, but because it is the right thing to do.
This is how I met my new friend, Luz Buitrago (@luzbuitrago). We have both volunteered with the New Florida Majority on the Say Yes to Second Chances Campaign to restore voting rights to felons who have served their prison sentences.
Luz also had a dream about the Women’s March before she went to Washington to attend. “I wonder how many other women had a dream about the Women’s March?” She commented to me. Thus, she had the idea to share our stories and put that question out to others.
My dream led me to the Women’s March, and the Women’s March has given me a renewed energy and drive. It has connected me already to dozens of other energized and fired-up folks. I am psyched about attending the upcoming First Anniversary – Women’s March Power to the Polls in Miami, January 21, 2018.
Brazil will have to wait. I have a lot of work to do!
If you also had a dream about the Women’s March as Luz and I did, please share it with us via Facebook.