When it started out, I was moving along with the intentions I set forth the winter before: investing time in planning adventures with outdoorsy friends, working on growing my birding year list, trying new state parks with my family, hiking, camping, taking little trips to explore nature, doing a little geocaching and biking here and there – the typical things my family does, usually because this is what I want to be doing.
But then something happened, and I guess really the seeds of what happened were planted in November, with the election. I had some feelings about the election that I was working through. I wanted to take the feelings of despair I was feeling and use them for motivation but I didn’t know what to do. On the way to work, I would typically listen to the Thom Hartmann show, because it came on before one of my favorite programs, Democracy Now. Thom’s radio show would usually end with some call for people to get involved in our democracy, and he also made some statement that resonated with me about “now is the time to double down our efforts”. Also, I had this desire to find people in my community who were more “like me”, who thought like I did.
Somewhere in there, I had been spending an occasional Sunday afternoon in a cooking group that I had found via Facebook. It seems we must have gotten together soon after the election and found ourselves talking about it. We all realized we were all on the same page with our thoughts. Later, the woman who hosted those events invited me to another group. We started meeting in homes together about once a month following the Women’s March.
In the spring, the March for Science was happening and I planned to go. My friend from the cooking club and then the neighborhood club had introduced me to yet another group or two, and next thing I know, I was making signs at the house of another woman, and meeting a few other women from this other new group at the march with our signs. There were so many new groups forming and so many people to meet, so many chances to get involved. By the time March rolled around, I had fully become a part of the Resistance.
In the end, I found my tribe through all this. I became much more interested in these efforts than in the hobbies that I previously was spending my time in. This is why I wasn’t writing much in here anymore. I felt like this journal was mostly for my outdoor experiences, and I was having tribal experiences instead.
I made like 50 new friends this year, several of them that I consider my “inner circle” now, and we did so much together. We met to write postcards, to meet candidates, to hear speeches, to plan events, to support those running for office, to engage voters, to stand up for the things that meant something to us. We were calling our representatives on a regular basis to voice our opinions. Some of us were able to sit down with our local reps and talk to them, or be involved in virtual town halls. We attended rallies and marches together. We ate and met for drinks together, even howled at the moon together to express our frustration with the political theater and yet our strength in our female pack. We made signs, hosted fundraisers, listened to (and sometimes critiqued) speeches, and went block walking. We spent time learning about election strategies from various courses and classes, learned about environmental issues from the Citizens Climate Lobby, and went to listen to former politicians talk to learn from their experience (Al Gore, Joe Biden come to mind). Many of those people in the group were getting on the ballot themselves, running for everything from precinct chair to running for Congress. We were registering voters and working on getting the vote out. And we will be doing MORE of those things this year, to prepare for the 2018 midterms.
This is a photo from an event I planned in September to bring candidates and voters together. I was very proud of this event. This was a helpful kickoff event for some campaigns and helped the candidates get their petitions signed to get on the ballot without having to pay a fee:
I feel like through all of this, I have learned so much about myself, about what matters to other people, about leadership and about politics. This is something that is bigger than any of us as individuals, and it is part of the legacy we will be leaving. I was so proud to see my middle son decide on his own to write a letter to his Congressman expressing his thoughts on climate change and a desire to move away from the use of fossil fuels, and it was so exciting to see that he got a letter back in response (even though it was full of typical GOP speak). It has not been in vain, this example we are setting.
There were a few other surprises this year. I did not think at the beginning of the year that I would be invited to speak at a conference in Connecticut and get to go exploring their wineries with a former colleague and her friend, or that I would end up visiting Reno’s wild horses and hiking in Lake Tahoe, and the trip to Switzerland came out of nowhere. I still have stories I want to write about that trip.
This coming year, I know a little about where it will lead but not all. I just found out that I was confirmed to be a speaker at a HUGE conference in Denver in the summer, so I know there will be a trip to Colorado next summer, and that I will visit Bastrop again in the spring, and I am sure I will keep birding, geocaching, hiking, biking and exploring the state parks with my family. Also, though, I will be keeping the Resistance alive, because it has become a part of me now that I feel I won’t be able to let go. I know there is a tough fight ahead of us but I really feel like the left has been energized so much through this past year, that there is no way that there will not be a blue wave coming in 2018, and it will be so exciting to feel like I was a part of it.
I still don’t have a pussy hat, though. 😉