To be seen.
Last night I had a great talk with my Dad. He is the one who I call when I need to problem solve, he's great at logistics, and he is unwaveringly my biggest cheerleader.
This time my Dad and I were discussing his concerns about how to participate in the Women's March.
He was worried about what people would think of a group of liberal city-folk showing up in a small town unannounced for an impromptu rally. You see, he is going to be skiing in a small town this weekend with a group of friends who want to have a tiny "Solidarity" March. What if the locals think they are rude? What if the locals are Republicans? What if they are so put-off by the mini-rally that they dig in their heels and fight harder for conservative platforms that are the ones we are marching against? He had been trying to convince our friends not to march.
I explained that most of the "city-folk" going with him are middle-aged white people who live in the Philadelphia suburbs, and the rally is likely to be less than 12 people. Because of his privilege, the worst that could happen is that some locals think they are loony.
Then I told him this:
As a woman I have been taught my entire life not to take up space. Not to be too loud. Not to bother. Not to annoy. Other's needs are always more important than my own.
Last year at the Women's March I felt expansive. I felt free. I felt heard. I felt that I belonged.
I felt seen.
We need to make space for women to be seen and heard and listened to.
On this one day, I told him, please think about what it means to women, to me, to show up. Please think about how it feels to be told there is a right and wrong way to speak, a right and wrong way to ask for what we need. Whatever worries you have about what other people think shouldn't take priority over women's need take up space on this day.
They shouldn't take priority on other days either.
You know what? He listened. He really did.