I was recently inspired by one of my own characters. You see, in most of my writing there is an undercurrent. I have always been aware of the differences with which men and women are thought of and treated, and the differences in the opportunities afforded each gender, not just in my home country here in the U.S., but globally. These differences have never been subtle, in fact, it was at the tender age of seven that these differences began to rankle. Seven. How obvious do things need to be for a seven-year old to be able to notice. And so my antagonists are usually women and my writing usually highlights ability and self-reliance to a degree, but also what can be achieved through friendship, and people having one-another's back.
And so when the Women's March on Washington began to be organized several months ago, my first thought was, "I have to be there," - for me, for Yazidi girls and women, for child brides, for victims of FGM, for the woman who is controlled by her boyfriend/husband, who is abused by her boyfriend/husband, for victims of sexual assault and violence, for the woman who is suddenly afraid of that man walking behind her, or who suddenly has to calculate her every word or gesture because things at the party, the bar, her workplace just became questionable. And the list goes on.
The only thing is that after having bouts of feeling really terrible over the past several years, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Which sucks. I used to be really active but I've slowed down quite a bit lately because of the hurting all over thing. Getting to the march (from northeast Ohio), and then marching seemed like it might be kind of painful.
Then I heard about the pussyhat project. That made me really happy. I'm a knitter, so I knitted a lot of hats grateful that I could do this to contribute. But as the date for the march drew nearer, I can't tell you how deeply I felt I was letting myself and my convictions down by not attending. And then my daughter suggested that we go. She's newly married and lives a couple of hours away. How could I not go with my daughter who is strong and doesn't take things from anybody and wanted to be a part of this wonderful thing.
So I thought about it. And my character Gwyn from my book, "The Errand Rider," came to mind. She is traveling alone, by horseback at one point in the book and is injured. I'm sure she's tired and uncomfortable and pain is involved, but she goes on. She has quite a big journey still ahead of her and she will be in even more uncomfortable places and have to deal with other aches and pains, but she never complains and she doesn't stop. She goes on and gets the job done, and in the process saves a little prince and two realms to boot.
Now, by myself I can't save anything, but as part of a collective movement, who knows what can be accomplished? So in the end, my daughter and I followed all of those hats I made to Washington and together with hundreds of thousands of others, we got the job done. We added our voices to the millions around the world who roared with the message that women will be heard. And we're not stopping there. We will do what we can when we can to further women's causes and voices around the world.
So thank you Gwyn, for being an inspiration to me.