Hannah Drake

Why Wasn't I There?

CommentaryHannah DrakeComment

As I mentioned in my first post this month (Okay, Let's Do This), I want to start posting more regularly about things going on in the world. At times it can feel really scary and overwhelming and some days I'm constantly consuming news and politics. I appreciate that so many people want to get away from it, but these are also the realities of our world and we have to deal with it. So instead of turning into a political blog, I want to use this space from time to time to talk about things going on in our society, which sometimes might involve politics.

During my entire hiatus, I couldn't for the life of me think of what I might post about today as I sat down to plan my posts for the month. And then it occurred to me there might be a reason for that: I've been on the sidelines for about a year and a half due to what I now recognise is anxiety. Let me explain.

On 20 January 2017, the first Women's March was held in DC, across the country and across the globe. The closest march was in Denver and even though when rumours first started surfacing, I spoke with some co-workers about going, I didn't. I didn't leave my room that morning, but I did donate to Planned Parenthood from the comfort of my own bed. My friend Taylor did go however and at work on Monday, she described what an incredible experience it had been. I was so jealous that she was a part of history, that she would be able to tell her kids about being a part of it one day. I vowed that I wouldn't miss that opportunity again.

But then there was the Climate Change March and the Tax March and the First Anniversary of the Women's March and then the March of Our Lives. I missed every single one of them, even though every single one of them was about something that's important to me.

Now I realise that sitting them out is a result of anxiety I didn't recognise before. I was terrified that people would use marches for causes that I believe in to attack peaceful protesters and incite fear and chaos. As far as I know, that hasn't happened at any of these protests, and yet I continue to choose to hang out at home, on the sidelines, with my anxiety.

I'm not really sure where to go from here, but I hope that I can overcome that fear and that anxiety to participate in something meaningful in the future. I always come back to a question from David Letterman's interview of President Obama on his new Netflix series. It was something like this: What will I tell my children I did to fight injustice in the world? Why wasn't I there?

I need to come up with an awfully better answer than hiding in my house, avoiding the crowds and afraid of what might happen.

If you're out there peacefully fighting for what you believe in, I appreciate what you're doing and the courage it takes to do that. If you, like me, struggle to take the steps to getting there due to anxiety, it's okay. There are other ways to participate and other ways to make your voice heard. Maybe one day you'll be able to show up at a march, maybe you'll only be able to show up in another way. The important piece is fighting for what you believe in with the tools you have.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King Jr.