Women’s March on Washington DC Meets Chronic Illness

I just spent the last three days in DC. And the last day and a half I was holed up in Aaron’s (my boyfriend) apartment unable to leave because of the inauguration. So many roads were blocked off it was nearly impossible to get out. The March on Washington DC (and sister marches being held in other places) is happening now. So this morning I went home.

I left DC when the march happened. Why? I wanted to go to the march…very much so. I had been contemplating going to it for weeks. I talked to friends about it. My friend, Shelby and I made tentative but unrealistic plans to go. Neither of us went. My mom wanted to go too. How amazing it would have been if I could have gone with my mom and stand there with all those women for a purpose? That would have been amazing. But we didn’t go. Why?

Accessibility is a privilege that not everyone always has the benefit of having. Everyone has certain privileges. But today I want to talk about the privilege of being able to march and protest. All you have to do is pull up the live feed to see how many people are there, how much standing you have to do and how cold it is. It also makes me wonder how many bathrooms are around since I have IC and need a bathroom a frequently. I have back, leg and bladder pain which means I need to sit down a lot. And it’s very noisy and loud there which for me is a huge migraine trigger.

Just think about your triggers and what gives you a flare. Is it loud crowded places? Or standing for long periods of time? Is it walking for miles on end? Is it the stress of being in such an emotionally turbulent environment? It can be a plethora of things that set a flare off. We are all different. We don’t have the physical stamina or the ability to go for whatever health reason. But we have this in common…we are unable to go.

And now I sit here in my pajamas with my cat, Stanley, and I wonder…how many women wanted to gimage-selfie-of-rachel-and-stanley-rachel-with-glasses-on-and-hood-up-stanley-looking-slightly-dismayed-that-he-is-being-made-to-take-a-pictureo to the march but were unable to attend because of a chronic illness, disability or other health issues? How many men wanted to go to support the women they love but were unable to go because of chronic illness, disability or other health issues. Isn’t that sad? Chronic illness strikes again.  

Feeling left out is a terrible feeling. I feel left out all the time because of my chronic illness. I have to conserve my energy all the time so I can’t do things. And I’m on a restricted diet so I can’t eat things that my friends eat. Those of us who live our lives with a chronic illness know how frustrating it can be…feeling left out. And feeling left out of the march is no different.

Disability issues…chronic illness issues…these are women’s issues too. Any issue that is important to us…that is a women’s issue

But as it turns out there is a virtual march to make the march more accessible to people with disabilities. We don’t have to be left out or left behind. We have a right to be involved. And the internet is the perfect way for us to do so. Now is the time for us to be loud and make ourselves heard. Now is the time for change because change is coming. Change is inevitable at this moment and we need to stand strong together as a community to make sure we have the changes we want and need. So be active and be involved.

Please don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Rest. Take your meds. Take a nap. Don’t allow the day’s events to stress you out too much.  But I hope that everyone takes time today to watch the live feed on facebook, pull it up their twitter feed or just google it. Participate and get involved.

Afterall….this is history herstory. 

#disabilitymarch #womensmarch #womensmarchonwashington




2 thoughts on “Women’s March on Washington DC Meets Chronic Illness

  1. I am so sorry that you weren’t able to go to the march. And so glad that you didn’t. I was lucky enough to be able to go and feel privileged to have been a part of something that monumentally…right. And needed. But over a week later, and after a trip to the chiropractor and the masseuse, I still have moderate lower back pain, enough that working out is off the table and walking the dog is unpleasant. Being in the march was inspirational. Being in the crowd during the talks before the march was something close to frightening. I have never experienced so many people involuntarily touching me at one time. The two women I was there with and myself spent about 3 solid hours in the morning simply trying to Get Out of the crowd. I am lucky that I managed a happy balance of drinking enough water to avoid a bout of vertigo while abstaining enough to only need a few bathroom (and by bathroom I mean porta potty with urine everywhere and likely no toilet paper and long lines) runs. I also brought all my food with me for the day since there is nothing I can eat out at restaurants (much like you). While I managed to carry enough food to not feel too horribly hypoglycemic, this meant that my cross body clear plastic bag was heavy enough to give me a tension headache that lasted for a week and is still not resolved. I am very happy to have been a part of this march, and thankful to my body for getting me through it. That being said, I’m not sure it was really a “good idea” for me to have gone, in terms of my health. I know that, as you said, there are women, men, gender queer individuals and children all who were at that march in person but who were unable to attend because of their health, the health of a loved one, or perhaps just the financial inability to take off work or get to the march. There were a million people at the march last Saturday, and at least ten fold more who were unable to come but there in spirit. I am counting on us all, all classes, races, sexes and ethnicities, able-bodied and not, to come together in whatever way we can to fight for justice.

    1. You’re right…going to the March was not in my best interest. It would have been a health disaster for me. You’re somewhat better off than me healthwise so you went and came out of it kind of messed up because it took a toll on you. But I was already messed up, so if I had gone I probably would have ended up in the hospital. And that would not benefit anyone. While I am still wistful about not having gone, I can see why it was important for me to stay home. And I’d like to think that I helped some people by writing this blog post about how they could be involved if they couldn’t go. We don’t need to go to be involved. While people do need to show up to show representation of how the people feel…. not everyone needs to be there for that. I am grateful that you went to represent me. And good news, a friend of mine had a pussy had made for me! I’ll be getting it this week. so get ready for some pics of that goodness lol

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