We had moved maybe 100 feet in two hours. Sitting in her car, we are both hungry and I’m needing to pee bad. Out of the silence she blurts, “If I could just give someone some feedback about this situation, I would feel a lot better!” I turn my head to look at her expression and I explode in laughter. I throw back my head and then throw it forward. It’s one of those horse laughs where my top gums show because I use my whole face. It’s not pretty but it feels so good. She looks surprised at my reaction, but quickly starts laughing too. The day had been amazing. We were shocked at how smooth it went despite the underestimated 100’s of 1000’s of mostly women who showed up and crammed into a relatively small area. We are now on the third level of a 4 tier parking deck after one of the largest human gatherings in DC, and this is where we get stuck – not moving – for 3 hours.
I had been friends with Melissa for over 37 years and her comment was unexpected, new, and endearing. We were born 2 weeks apart so astrologically, we should be similar in personality. But I have always seen her as more confident and less fearful in ways than me. She wasn’t as afraid of getting ‘caught’ when we would go out and drink as teenagers. She was the friend who basically said ‘Do what you want but I can’t be part of this anymore’ when I was in a secretive and abusive relationship with a high school coach. Her strong opinion and God-honesty helped me more than she’ll ever know to get out of that situation.
When I shared my interest in going to the Women’s March, I was excitedly surprised when she texted back, ‘Yes! let me know – I was also thinking of going too!’ She lives an hour outside of D.C. so I was just hoping to spend the night with her and catch up. Her interest in actually attending this soon-to-be monumental event made my decision a no-brainer.
We hadn’t spent more than a few weekends together over the past 25 years. She got married right out of college, raised two boys all while finishing two more degrees and moving up the corp ladder. We would go months and possibly years where we didn’t connect and then… we would. And we always picked up right where we left off.
Now it was January 2017 and we were both turning 50 in the Spring. While some friends chose to travel to far off places or celebrate their half-century on earth with a big party, I decided that I would use the year reconnecting with my ‘lifetime’ friends. I teased my hubby who barely acknowledged his 50th a year earlier, that I was going to celebrate for a whole year. It was an intention that sounded fun but I wasn’t sure how it would play out.
Melissa and I held hands or onto each other’s sweatshirts most of the day so we wouldn’t get separated. I had never been part of such a massive event. We were able to make our way to a spot where we could see the main stage about 200 yards away. We gazed over a sea of pink pussy hats as we watched the speeches on a jumbo screen. I hadn’t felt this inspired in a long time. Hearing all of the speeches, singing, and calls to action felt like taking an emotional raft ride down a powerful river. Feelings of pride, anger, disbelief, and awe washed over me like the river swiftly rolling over the rocks. At times I would get a wave of claustrophobic panic as our bodies were pushed tighter and closer together by the swelling crowd. There were moments when I would have a negative, fear-ridden thought ‘what if someone throws a firecracker or just decides to have a massive panic attack?’ But it never happened. By the time we were to start marching around the designated mile, there was nowhere to go. Melissa and I decided we should move to the outside of the expanding crowd just to be safe. We climbed and jumped and slowly made our way to a cross street that opened up and was off of the main march route. Joining a small group of mostly women, we hoisted ourselves up to the top level of bleachers that had been used for the inauguration the day before. We had a birds eye view of the massive sea of pink hatted, sign holding people moving slowly together in unity. Not since my sons birth 6 years earlier had I felt my heart ache and swell and beat so hard to this new awakening; to this burgeoning sense of responsibility as a woman at this place in history. And I got to experience it with one of my best friends.
Since that amazing day, I have watched my intention of reinvesting my energy and love into my female relationships unfold. I’ve traveled to San Diego and visited with another bestie who I consider my big sister-byanother mother. I traveled to NYC to visit my sister and her husband while attending the Gloria Steinem Awards, taking in one of my favorite cities that I had spent so many of my single days exploring. Soon I will spend a few days in CA with two new girlfriends who are part of a mastermind group and interested in bringing our strengthening voices to the world for good. One of my core beliefs is that the inner reflects the outer and vice versa. Without consciously knowing it at the time, my inner intention of reconnecting with girlfriends has been an outer reflection of the feminine shift in our country and world.