Women's March 2017

2017 is going to be a great year. 2017 is going to strengthen and grow my marriage, my career, and my writing. When I think about this year and what it has in store for me, for my husband, and my friends and family, I know it's going to be filled with good things. 

But 2017 comes with an edge. An edge that has a very real physical, mental, and emotional presence. The edge I feel comes from our 45th President. The edge manifests itself in my body and psyche as nervous anxiety, persistent headaches, emotional distress, temporary depression, a throbbing rage, and fatigue. These symptoms comes in waves and have been present since November 9th, but became increasingly exacerbated during the week of January 16th. 

Needless to say, I am not feeling very cushy at the prospect of our leadership during the next four years. 

But all of that gunk in my body and my head got some relief this past Saturday, January 21st as m and I joined our community in our local Women's March - one of many sister marches that took place not just nationally, but globally. I cried tears of happiness and hope scrolling through my social media feeds and seeing my friends across the US and abroad marching in their sister cities together. Seeing images from those sister marches across the globe and the mass turn outs, is powerful. 

It's Monday, and I'm still riding high from Saturday. The edge is still present, but it's been subdued by the forces of love, compassion, and solidarity. I'm taking that day, that feeling, this moment, and I'm committing it to memory. If I can hold on to it, just right, I can continue to draw strength from it; I can leverage it against the edge I'll inevitably feel, in waves, for the next 1,460 days. 

I'm a sensory creature - I learn best visually and I understand more when I get to use my hands. I remember most through smell and textures of things once held, and I write to keep the details fresh in my mind. When my mom told me about the #PussyHatProject accompanying the Women's March, I knew I had to make one to help me commemorate and remember a historical and very meanginful moment in my lifetime. 

In my experience, making something is a joyous act. Creating something from seemingly nothing is exhilarating; and an excellent reminder of how capable we are as people. Pattern in hand, my fingers twitched in anticipation when I pulled out my soft pink yarn and No. 8 knitting needles to make my own pussyhat. 

I started my hat late - Friday morning to be exact, during the wee hours between 1:00 - 4:00 am. By Saturday midday morning, I was nearly through with my hat, and ecstatic to be able to wear it to the march, when I made a big error. Distracted by what was going on around me, I messed up the stock knit portion of the pattern at the very end, right before I was about to start the final ribbing. I enjoy knitting immensely, but I'm not great at it. Seeing my mistake, I knew that there were shortcuts to fixing it without having to take out all the work I had already done, but, I didn't know how to do those shortcuts. 

Knitting requires extreme patience (maybe it's only extreme in my case because I have so little patience to start with). Unlike sewing, where patterns and clothing come together relatively quickly, knitting is laborious and time consuming. You have to focus on what you're doing, otherwise you could make a careless mistake, as I had done. I had literally put hours into the project, and was now faced with either having to scrap the project entirely, or start again. 

I screamed in frustration.

Like, really really screamed. A banshee yell from my gut that burst my poor husband's eardrums. 

My first instinct, I'm ashamed to say, was to quit.

"Fuck it," I thought to myself, already unwinding my work, creating a large pool of unwound pink yarn. 

But then I felt the edge surge, my head throb, and whether out of spite or stubbornness or both, I persisted. 

My hat wasn't complete for the march, but march I did. And in the end, I did complete my hat. On Saturday, after the march, I sat at Bow and Arrow brewery with m, feeling the surge of energy and hope that came from being a part of the march, and using that feeling to help me make each stitch, until it stood complete. 

 I'm glad I fucked up my first try. I'm glad I got angry and tried again, instead of getting complacent giving myself a pass for trying. 

2017 is going to be a good year, but it's going to have its own set of fuck ups and frustrations. I can admit that I've been a little too cushy these past eight years. I got comfortable - too comfortable. 

Everything isn't always going to be right, or go the way I want them to. But that doesn't mean I get to quit or give up trying. It means I have to take these frustrations, and this edge, and leverage them into something productive: into making, into service, into speaking out. There might be shortcuts to getting there, but there might not. In those instances where there is not quick solution or easy fix, I have to roll up my sleeves, unwind the yarn, start again, and see it through.   

Erin E BarrioComment