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    To Go or Not to Go?

    By Jill Soloway–

    I remember the first Facebook post that popped up, a friend saying, “We’re going to march.” And soon everyone was saying, “We’re going to march.”

    But then, almost immediately, another friend said, “They don’t have a permit. None of this is real. Don’t go. I’m not going.”

    Now, I’m the kind of person who’s always wandering around saying, “Let’s have a revolution! Let’s go out in the street and demonstrate!” I say that every other Tuesday under normal circumstances. But my friend saying that they didn’t have a permit was enough to stop me in my tracks.

    And as a Jewish person over age 50, I focus on bathrooms. Which is why I don’t go to Burning Man or Coachella. Where am I going to pee?

    “I’m not going,” I said. “I can’t go. This thing is going to be a clusterf–k.”

    Even worse than the bathroom issue was the infighting. I was surprised—I didn’t know the name Million Woman March was already taken, and that it was specific to the black community. This idea that at first had seemed so great became a huge problem in an instant. Not only was there no permit, but the march was also racist, a f–k-up in all regards.

    I thought to myself, “You know what? It’s good that I never believed in a revolution because it’s too hard anyway. I’m staying home.”

    But then … I watched something happen: On social media, no less, where nothing real ever really happens. I started to see people on my Instagram feed posting pictures from the Women’s March office. There was ShiShi Rose and Sarah Sophie Flicker and they were all in the same room, and they had amazing art and great branding and whoa!

    Something had been fixed. They’d figured it out. Rather than falling apart under the weight of the challenges, they were rising. I was ready to root for the march again. Maybe this could be everyone’s march. But there was still a problem.

    The march was at the same time as Sundance, and my show I Love Dick was premiering there. Maybe I Love Dick could be my feminist contribution, maybe the emails going around about setting up a march in Park City would work out and I could skip D.C.

    Another day passed. The days were coming fast and furious and people were talking about pink pussy hats. Every single person who had been like, “I’m not going,” was suddenly going. My sister-in-law in Virginia was going. People in New York were taking the train down. But even if I could move my Sundance dates around, I had a new problem: How do you go from L.A. to D.C. to Utah in two days? This is also something that Jewish people don’t do. A five-hour flight means you have to stay for one week. You can’t go for one day. It’s not allowed.

    As the date grew closer, my head was spinning with how I couldn’t make this plane flight work, and I couldn’t imagine being out on the streets in D.C. without a bathroom, and I can’t figure out how to deal with my travel anxiety. But I can’t miss this day. I can’t let this day happen and say I wasn’t there. I want to be there and I’m going to go … and I’m going to take my son Isaac, who is 20 and needs to have this in his memory bank, too. I’m going to take my son, and I’ll move mountains to be there.

    And at that moment, it was an absolute. I was going. I needed to prove to myself that I believed in revolution, that my body mattered, and that I could take my body—this one body that had been witness to decades of patriarchy thieving me out of my power and protagonism—and put it in the streets.

    This was four days before the march. Within 12 hours I had booked my hotel room and I had purchased four pink pussy hats from Amazon and then collected 10 more from friends. I was stockpiling pussy hats in bulk, terrified that none of the ones I ordered would be there in time. It was like eclipse glasses. Or fidget spinners. We were all getting them and we were getting them right now.

    And then everybody was going. And suddenly my son and I were at the airport, waiting to get the flight, and all my friends were there. And we all had our hats on. On the airplane, we all took photo after photo of ourselves crowding into rows. The flight attendants were on our side. The seat belt rules seemed to have been waived. We were on our way.

    From “Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World” by the Women’s March Organizers and Conde Nast. Copyright © 2018 by The Women’s March Foundation. Dey Street Books. Reprinted by permission.