photo: Katie Orlinksy
2017 has been a weird year so far. And it’s only February. So. Let’s just try to hang in there for the next 10 months and see what happens.
See, I turned 26 in January. And not just any day in January, but a January day that will live in infamy… at least for the foreseeable future. Because this day was January 20th, 2017: the beginning of the Trump era.
Believe what you will, and feel what you feel, but we can definitely all agree that this has been a controversial election season. Those of us born on either November 8th or January 20th would probably have been okay with trading in our dates of birth for more neutral, less aggressive 24 hour increments of time. It’s nearly impossible to successfully get everyone you care about it one room (with significant quantities of sugar and alcohol) under normal circumstances. Throw in the aggravating factor of a country divided and celebrations can get really awkward, really quickly. Suddenly “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” is replaced by a heated political debate interspersed with videos of very loud and contradictory YouTube personalities.
To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of beginning a new year of my life with the installation of an unqualified and incompetent reality television star as the Commander-in-Chief of the United States. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to see sexual predators end up in the jailhouse, not the White House. As I wasn’t feeling all that jubilant anyways, I decided to skip a party and make the drive to D.C. with my wife Kayla for the Women’s March on Washington.
We didn’t book a hotel room, we didn’t know where we would park, we didn’t buy a Metro pass, we weren’t sure what we would do if things became violent… essentially, we had no plan at all. But we drove through the night and got to the National Mall in time to see the sun come up over the Capitol… sort of, because it was rainy and foggy, and you could only kind of make out the general location of the sun all day. But it’s a good visual image, so go with it.
I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced at the march. The crowd was unbelievable in every way. The size, the diversity, the passion, the generosity expressed between strangers. I expected to feel righteous and assured of my own views, ready to be combative where I had been too quiet. Thankfully, I didn’t feel those things. What I felt was hopeful. I felt inspired. And not just by the hundreds of thousands of Americans who surrounded me, but by Mr. Donald Trump himself. Because if a man of his character can rise to the highest office in this land, what can I, a sentient, compassionate, educated human being possibly not accomplish?
With the spirit of unity and the power of sisterhood in my heart, I drove back home to my regularly scheduled life, with a new mantra: “Welcome to 2017, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.” (True, I am borrowing that from ‘Whose Line’ but I don’t expect they’ll mind.) What it comes down to is this: Absolutely anything is possible. November 2016 proved that to be true. So I’m challenging myself for the remainder of the year to chase every dream, to work endlessly and tirelessly on the things that bring me joy, and to do it with grace and positivity.
Too often we doubt ourselves and our abilities. I want to put a stop to that and I don’t want to do it alone; I want you to join me. I want you to feel emboldened to share the beautiful, intelligent thoughts in your brain because they are powerful. I want you to use your voice because it is confident and belittles no one. I want you to rise up and act as a beacon of light, unwilling to accept darkness.
I want you to join the Ms. Millennial project.
P.S. Thanks for the motivation, DJT.
photo: Kayla McGrath