A lot of
people talk about mental illness as if it spontaneously occurs one day. Maybe
they assume that the person was born with the issue, or it is simply a chemical
imbalance. That there is something inherently or biologically wrong with the
person who has depression, anxiety or similar issues. And that may be true for
certain advanced disorders.
someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety in the past, I don’t
believe that it is all about biology. I believe many mental issues are deeply
rooted in circumstance.
don’t really like calling them “illnesses.” I think that many mental health
issues are symptoms of things that
are going on in that person’s life.
my experience, a lot of people who struggle with their mental health have those
issues due to the toxic people in their lives. Toxic people are those who may
or may not be aware of their negativity and choose to spread it around any
chance they get. They feed off of making other people feel sad, angry,
frustrated, or defeated.
be that “friend” who makes you feel less than, as if you are lucky to
be in their presence. Constantly launching veiled insults. Insecurity and
parent who either ignores you, mistreats you, or treats you like you don’t
really matter. And when you say something in your defense, they tell you to
stop being a crybaby because that’s how they were raised (who knows why someone
would want to raise another generation that way when they’re miserable!). I think
this begins to breed low self-esteem and depression in very young people.
sibling who constantly puts you down instead of bringing you up as they should.
Depression, low self-esteem, and imposter syndrome.
bully who bothered you every day you went to school, because he or she was
miserable and probably being bullied at home. Anxiety and depression.
a loved one be abused or treated badly for a long period of time. Anxiety.
people who struggle with substance abuse problems are affected by the toxic
people in their lives who don’t understand them or don’t even care to
people who struggle with depression feel abandoned and judged by the people who
they would expect to support them.
Guilt and Shame
said before in my books and blog posts that guilt and shame are two of the most
useless emotions. If you are feeling guilt and shame around your mental wellness,
you shouldn’t. These two emotions are used to make people feel low and like
they cannot rebound from whatever challenges they are experiencing.
guilt and shame aside, and look forward to the future. What’s in the past is in
the past—leave it there. Believe that there are better things on the horizon.
Many people give up on life because they fall victim to guilt and shame and do
Limit Your Contact with Toxic People
always possible to completely remove yourself from the presence of toxic people,
whether they are friends or family members. But if you can, at the very least
limit your contact with them. And when they start to affect you in a negative
way, whether with actions or words, leave the situation as soon as
Do not allow
yourself to mix in with their misery soup.
that if you are dealing with mental health issues, it is not necessarily you or
your biology that is the main problem. It could be overexposure to toxic people
who you are forced to be around whether due to familial ties, work, or people
who want you to believe they are friends. See how things go if you stay away
from toxic folks for two weeks or more and spend more time with yourself, in
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been numerous studies
and conversations surrounding the epidemic of loneliness. Even before covid,
people were becoming increasingly isolated due to social media, technology,
cellphones (texting instead of talking), depression, grief, and other reasons.
Post-pandemic, a lot of people are really feeling the struggle
when it comes to being alone almost all the time, including those who have
found no other choice than to quarantine and avoid meeting up with others.
Experts have revealed that loneliness could have numerous effects on people,
including physical and mental health issues, if this lifestyle isn’t managed
We can forge better relationships with friends and family so
that we increase the possibilities of having meaningful social interactions now
and in the future. At the same time, unfortunately, we can’t force people to
spend more time with us to “cure” our loneliness. But we can learn how to get
more comfortable with being alone and enjoying our own company over time. Here
are a few tips for how we can overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness, and
think more optimistically for the future.
Maintain High Standards
I talk about this in my book Sing While You’re Single. No matter how low, alone, or sad you may
feel, strive to maintain a certain standard for yourself (personal hygiene and
looks) and the place where you live (keeping it tidy, organized, and smelling
good). Even if it’s just brushing and flossing your teeth meticulously each day
or wiping down your kitchen counter so that it gleams. Just do it, it’s for
you. You might feel lonely every now and again, but at least you can look good
and feel good in your home—make it your Oasis.
Be Good to the Good
People You Still Have in Your Life
Nearly a decade ago I was angry and resentful of pretty much
everyone in my life because I felt that they abandoned me in my time of need.
Well, you know what? I had to get over that because it was
making me increasingly isolated and even more angry at life and people. That
approach wasn’t working. So, I began to study Universal principles and listen
to motivational speakers and authors. It calmed me and gave me some sense of
hope. I worked on myself and forgave whoever I thought wronged me. Truth be
told, most people do not care if you are mad at them. Some don’t even know. There
is no point hanging onto negative feelings about others—instead, focus on the
decent people you know or encounter and build better relationships with them.
Be About Your Business
It is difficult to feel lonely, unhappy, and caught up in
negative thoughts when you are busy with something that you are passionate
about. Get busy doing something that you love, whether it is working on a plan
to generate extra income, studying your craft to become a high-end expert, or working
on your artwork.
Remember though: everything in moderation. Avoid becoming a
workaholic to the point where you lose yourself or get distracted from other
aspects of living well, such as preparing healthy meals, getting exercise, and
staying in touch with loved ones.
Continue to Actively
Participate in the World
Feelings of loneliness are exacerbated when you start to
isolate yourself in your home and not actively participate in the world. Make
efforts to go outside as much as possible and stay active. You can take a walk
in a park with an ice-cold Snapple or smoothie, go to a shopping center even
just to window shop, or just go outside your house and have a short
conversation with a neighbor.
Just make every effort to go outside and interact with the
world in some way. Breathe in the fresh air. Regular exercise outdoors is renewing
and invigorating. See if there may be an outdoor fitness class you can join
that allows for proper social distancing or find a quiet, safe place where you
can practice yoga stretches.
Recognize When You’re
Talking to Your Higher Power
When you feel like you may be talking to yourself, it might
really be that you’re talking to your Higher Power, a guardian angel, or maybe
a loved one who passed. I don’t think you are really alone if you believe that.
Deep down you know that someone who cares about you is listening. Be comforted
by that when you are feeling lonely.
It Takes Time to Get
Used to Being with Yourself
It can take months or years before you finally become
comfortable with just being alone with yourself, whether it’s at home cooking, going
to an outdoor restaurant by yourself for a special meal, or just going for a
walk on the beach. But there’s a good chance that you might learn to like it:
the peace of not having to entertain other people’s personalities or
proclivities and just do whatever YOU want.
Sometimes when I am with others, I look forward to getting
back to my solitude, peace, and calm. I love myself, I like myself, and I enjoy
spending time alone. But that took time.
Despite a number of personal tragedies that were out of my
control, I am still optimistic that things can get better. You may be able to
relate. This “epidemic of loneliness” does not have to become our new normal. I
believe that we can return to having stronger connections with others while
also being safe and responsible. We take things day by day, step by step, show
genuine care for ourselves and our loved ones, and focus on positive thoughts
for the future.
should be a place of respite, where you feel relaxed and happy. It’s where you
recharge to face your day boldly. To achieve that feeling, you should you have
everything that you might need in your house or apartment. Some things that
seem like wants are actually needs, because they make your life easier and more
comfortable. Consider these 21 items you would want to keep in your house to
make it feel more like home.
1. A Good Cup (Or 3)
There are so many beverages that you probably consume on a daily basis, whether it’s tea, milk, a smoothie, or a health drink. Sometimes all you need is the right cup to make your beverage more appetizing and appealing. For example, I like to drink green health drinks, so I purchased a green blender bottle to use just for this reason. And have you ever watched British television shows where they are always having a “spot of tea.” They use the most delightful tea cups and tea sets to serve it. It’s better to sip tea from a beautiful little cup and saucer than from a plain mug.
2. A Covered Trash Can
If you own or lease a home and have to take your garbage out weekly, those rascally night creatures are sure to start jumping in your food trash. The result is a mess you’ll have to clean up in the morning. So, it’s important to have a solid trash can with a secure lid. You can buy lids by themselves, separate from the trash can, on Amazon. I recently purchased this one.
3. A Back Support Pillow
If you’re among the millions of people who are working from home now, you might miss the stability of sitting in an office chair that has some support for your back. Invest in a back support pillow to help keep your back aligned properly as you work, or even when you’re just watching television. You can also get a back girdle for support to wear when you’re sitting.
4. Disinfectant Wipes
It may be difficult to find them right now, but if you can find disinfectant wipes, get a few bottles for your house. Keep one in the bathroom, one in the kitchen, and one in the living area of your house. Use them sparingly for quick disinfecting of surfaces, items you bring into the house, and your electronics.
5. Candles (For Multiple Reasons Including Self Care)
A friend of mine invited me to a candle making event. It was surprisingly fun and enlightening. I made a candle with lavender and jasmine scents. I was (and is) wonderful. Sometimes you just have to light a candle and get a whiff of those lovely smells to make your home feel more comfortable and relaxed. It’s also nice to have a candle’s soothing scents while you’re having a bath or listening to music.
6. A Package of Hot Oil Caps or Thermal Hair Cap
When your hair is dry and crackly, it is more likely to start breaking off at the ends. A hot oil treatment or deep conditioning leave in can help repair some of the damage. Keep a package of hot oil caps in your bathroom for those days when you decide to treat your hair–you can find them in the dollar store. Or just invest in a thermal cap for your hair. It helps keep the heat in so that the product can do its job.
7. A Good Chair or Recliner
Everyone needs their own chair. A place where they sit with regularity. A place where they feel the most comfortable, like they are where they are supposed to be. Find a special chair or recliner that fits you, your style (color, fabric, etc.), and your space.
8. A Comfy Robe
Have you ever been to a hotel where they provided plush robes? It’s heavenly. You can have that at home. Get yourself an oversized, thick, plush robe in whatever color you prefer to use for your showers or baths. You can also just use it to walk around the house on Saturdays and Sundays in the fall or winter.
9. Air Purifier
Do you have cats or dogs as pets? If so, you can bet that their hair is flying in the air constantly. Pet dander isn’t the only thing that can irritate your nose, also the pollen that flies in the air during the spring and summer. An air purifier can help clear up a lot of the irritants that float in the air during the year. You can find one for under $100, set it up in the room where you sneeze the most, then move it to other rooms throughout the day. Totally worth it.
10. Water Filtering Pitcher
I like to drink high quality water from springs, reverse osmosis, or with electrolytes. When there was a potential issue finding these waters I realized that I needed a back-up plan. So, I bought a water filtering pitcher. It removes unwanted materials from your faucet water. If you have pets, this is a very useful item to have in your home.
11. Chromecast Device or Compatible TV
When you’re forced to stay in the house for a long period of time, it helps to have access to great shows to keep you occupied. I mean of course you can always read a book or busy yourself with a hobby, but sometimes it just helps to watch a television show. I prefer shows that teach me things about human nature, science, or things of the past. One item you might want to keep in your house is a Chromecast device or similar, or a television that has the casting capability built in.
12. Privacy Curtains
What’s the point of having a window if you can’t look out of it or let the sun shine in? A privacy curtain allows you to look out and bring light into your home while blocking viewing from the outside. They come usually in white, but I believe they may be available in other colors.
13. A High-Quality Moisturizer and Lotion
The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it needs nourishment on a regular basis. It’s important to have a good moisturizer for your face and lotion for the rest of your body. I like Gold Bond products. For my face, I currently prefer SheaMoisture products. Find what works for you, and keep an ample supply in your bathroom or bedroom.
14. Beans and Rice
In the early weeks of the 2020 crisis, I told everyone I cared about to stock up on beans and rice. They laughed at me. But when it comes down to it, these are two of the most reliable ingredients you can have in your pantry. They last a long time and really fill you up Just get a few bags and store them away. Then carry on with life as usual.
15. A Pair of Oversized Sweats and Hoodie
Everyone doesn’t have the time to get dressed to the nines to go out to grocery shop or run errands. It helps to have a handy pair of sweatpants and a hoodie to put on when you just have to run out quickly or do some work in your yard.
16. Organizing Baskets
Are your things strewn all over a table or on your bathroom sink? You will be pleasantly surprised by how wonderful you’ll feel when it’s all organized into baskets. Finally, you can find things quickly and feel good about how your space looks.
17. Lawn Mower or Trimmer
If you’re a homeowner, you know how important it is to maintain your yard. You need tools to keep things in order. At the very least have a trimmer to get rid of weeds. If you can, invest in a lawn mower to keep things tidy.
18. A Good Non-Stick Pan
Most of your meals are probably going to have to be prepared or heated up in a frying pan, so make sure you have a good one. Non-stick pans like this one are usually very easy to use and clean. Pick a non-stick pan that will last you for at least a year or two.
19. Wall Power Station with Cellphone Charging Slots and Surge Protection
Turn two plugs into three or more when you buy a wall power station. Simply plug the wall power station into your existing power slots and add the screws provided as needed. Have a handyman or professional help you with this if you’re unfamiliar. This will allow you to charge your cellphones quickly and easily. You’ll also have more space for other electronic needs.
20. Large Tote Containers
If there is one thing you’ve probably learned after having to quarantine in your house for months, it’s that you need a stash of food, cleaners, and other household needs. Make sure you have one or two large tote containers that you can seal and keep in your pantry or a cool room.
21. Battery Powered Radio (And All Types of Batteries)
While you may only listen to the radio when you’re in your car, it’s important to have one in your home as well. A battery powered radio is and always will be a reliable way to get updates about what is going on in the world. It’s battery powered, so it’s not reliant on electricity. Just make sure you always have plenty of AA, C, and D batteries.
Of course, there are other needs that could be added to your list of 21 things to keep in your house, like plenty of pet food, video cameras, and protective devices. This is a good start though. Take good care of yourself, your home, and your loved ones.
When I lost my best friend, my “person,” who had also been my
fiancé at one point, my life went into a tailspin. I expected my friends, who
extended across numerous backgrounds and experiences, to come to my aid at that
difficult time. In tears, I texted about seven of them to tell them the news
right after I heard. I got a few “sorry for your loss” messages back.
Then nothing. For months. From anyone. Not even my close family members.
I was in a state of shock, and I changed a lot in those months, which extended to years. I lost my lightness, my humor, and my confidence in people. I finally came to the realization that I no longer had any true friends after my best friend’s passing—I just had a lot of acquaintances. I just had people I know who knew me at one point.
As time went on, I started to get the impression that many of my former “friends” were quietly happy to learn that I was in distress. I was just a topic of gossip. In school and social settings, I had always been the life of the party, the one who always got the guy, and the one who took the lead. Now I was the depressed, grieving woman who was gaining weight, detaching from humanity, and losing her personality.
I wrote about this in several of my books. And I came to realize recently, all these years later, that this experience continues to have a very real effect on me, and how I navigate my relationships. I have a really hard time trusting people.
What Is a Friend?
A friend is someone who comes through for you when times are the toughest. Like a hero, she doesn’t run away from the problem, she charges forward to your rescue because she loves you and cares about your well-being. A friend tells you the truth. She isn’t secretly jealous of you. She invites you out because she genuinely wants to see you. She also makes time to come see you when she knows you need some company. She texts or contacts you at least a few times a week to see how you’re doing. To make sure you’re OK.
If you are blessed to have someone like this in your life, a real friend, cherish them and treat them the same way. It’s so important.
With each day, I see more evidence that social media has become a major distraction and that it may be negatively effecting the quality of our lives. Anxiety, confusion, depression, and a general lack of focus are plaguing many social media users. Television used to be the major distraction, but now Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have become a daily obsession for many people.
I am guilty of being too easily distracted by social media apps. Almost every day the first thing I grab is my cell phone. The second thing I usually do is open Twitter and check the trending topics. So basically, the first thing I see when I awaken to a brand new day is the chaos and confusion that’s going on in the world at the moment.
Sometimes there’s a horrific story of something that happened the night before. Other times the news stories are completely focused on the latest atrocity committed by the person currently occupying the oval office. The rest of it is mostly chitter-chatter and topics that can make you feel like you’re losing a few IQ points with each scroll.
In my book You Matter I mentioned the need to take social media breaks. I think there is great value in “unplugging” and taking regular breaks from the chaos of social media. Here are a few tips for how to better manage your social media usage.
Understand that Too Much Information Isn’t Useful
Imagine going to college for four years and trying to get 20 different degrees at once. There’s no way that you will be able to retain enough information from all 20 of those subjects to become enlightened on any of them. That’s basically what happens when you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with too much information on social media apps. Choose one or two points of focus and become educated/enlightened/an expert on those subjects.
Choose an App, Just One App
There are so many social media apps available now, including dating apps, that it can be very overwhelming keeping up with them all. Choose one social media account to focus on and stick with that. Here are a few insights about the most common apps from my personal experience:
· Facebook is for people who like to connect with the people they already know.
· Twitter is for people who are more cerebral and like to express their quiet thoughts.
· Instagram is for exhibitionists (think “show and tell”) who want to be noticed.
· Snapchat seems to be more appealing to young teens who are looking for a distraction.
Create Lists and Segmented Timelines
As mentioned earlier, social media is chaotic because you’re bombarded with so many different topics at once. One minute you’re reading a story about a loving llama and the next thing you know you’re presented with a news story about a violent attack abroad. It’s no wonder so many people struggle with anxiety.
Create lists or segments of people who will provide you with the topics that you want to read on your timeline. Search for specific hashtags of interest (#GirlTalk or #PoliticsChat) instead of looking at general trending topics. I’m not that familiar with social media sites outside of Twitter, but I know they have a way of limiting what shows up on your timeline.
Set a Timer
If hours go by and you’re still on Facebook or Instagram scrolling through pictures, you have to start setting some limits for yourself. It’s unlikely that you’re being as productive as possible in your day if you spend hours looking at posts by other people. So set a 10 or 15-minute timer on your phone right before you open your favorite social media app. That is enough time to get a quick update about what’s going on in the world so that you can then get back to your world.
Make Your Password Impossible to Remember
Taking extended social media breaks are necessary, but it can be easier said than done. If you find yourself spending too much time on a particular app, fix it so that it’s easier to resist temptation. Create a long and complicated password that you’ll never remember. Reset the password on your social media account and then log off. Now, when you feel tempted to pop into Twitter to see what’s trending you’ll be forced to go through the whole password reset process again.
Getting off of social media and getting back to real life may not be that easy since we’ve largely become addicted to our cellphones over the past decade. But we at least have to start having a conversation about this. Recognize how social media addiction may be affecting your life. Take steps to balance out your day and better manage the information that you’re consuming.
Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth.
There was another high-profile suicide of an entertainer in the news recently. This person had been seriously depressed and distressed. He said so in an interview and in many of his songs. After reading a few posts on social media and learning more about his struggles, I feel compelled to write about the topic of depression again.
A lot of people get nervous when they learn that their friend or family member is depressed and instead of being there for them they run or ignore it. If you know that someone is depressed and you sincerely care about them, here are five ways that you can be there for them.
Text or Call: How Are You Doing? I Love You
It sounds so simple and basic but it means the world. When someone is in a depressed state they feel as if no one cares and no one is there for them. Taking two minutes out of your schedule to have a quick text conversation or phone conversation with your loved one means a lot. It interrupts that voice that’s playing over over and over in their head telling them that no one gives a damn if they live. It matters.
Hear Them Out
Some people are natural fixers, meaning that they always want to come up with a quick and simple solution to a problem. They’ll say something like, “Just exercise and you’ll feel better” or “there are so many people out there worse off than you, look at what you have going for you.”
Refrain from talking too much or minimizing your depressed friend’s feelings. There is a negative, oppressive energy talking to them, constantly telling them they’re worthless — it’s beyond your understanding or “easy fixes.” You can’t tell them how to feel because you are not in their shoes, so just hear them out. Allowing them to release their thoughts and feelings without judgment is therapeutic for them. Be patient with a depressed person.
Spend Quality Time with Them
In the age of social media, people think it’s perfectly fine to go weeks, sometimes even months without seeing or visiting their loved ones. If you know someone who is depressed, this may be one of the reasons why.
I personally believe that the lack of human connection between people of today is a main reason why depression is more prevalent. We’re human beings and we need human connections. Not in a chat room, but actually sitting in a room with someone, talking, laughing and watching television together or sharing ideas. Also when you are with someone in the same room, it’s harder for those negative voices to overwhelm their thoughts. A lot of people get into a depressive state because they are alone and start thinking too much.
Even if the person isn’t talkative when you visit, just being there with them means a whole lot. Regular visits will give them something to look forward to.
Don’t Flaunt Your Happiness in Their Presence
I’m always amazed by people who insist on advertising their happiness to the world at every opportunity. It’s rampant in social media. Every win doesn’t have to be flaunted and bragged about to those who are still struggling.
If you have a depressed friend who feels as if he or she is nothing, the worst thing you can do is present yourself as having everything. They will eventually withdraw them selves from you because they just can’t take it. Seeing someone who appears to have it all only intensities feelings of lack and unworthiness in a depressed person.
Instead of keeping up a facade of happiness and perfection, talk honestly about your own life challenges so that the depressed person will feel like he or she is not alone after all. If you can’t relate to going through major challenges in life, you probably aren’t the person who can help your friend or family member.
Go With Them to See a Therapist
Telling someone to go to a therapist is not as powerful as offering to go with them. Some people still believe that there is a stigma attached to going to therapy. But if you show your support by going to the appointment with them and sitting in the waiting room that may encourage them to take that scary but often necessary step.
If You Genuinely Care…
I’m tired of people rallying around a depressed person after it’s too late. There are things you can do to help your loved ones when they are experiencing a hard time to help them pull through it.
But it will only make a difference if you genuinely care, are able to empathize, and are non-judgmental.
Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth.
The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is basically the worst nightmare of any women who has come to learn that it is OK to think for herself. It is the story of what would happen if women allowed men and the world in general to completely devalue them.
In it, women are reduced to the lowest common denominator: a womb.
As disturbing as the themes are in this multipart TV series, I think it is highly important for women and girls to see this show. It demonstrates the *extreme* of what can happen when we give up all of our rights and power. Even the most religious and conservative man-identified woman has to see the detriment of allowing anyone to rob us of our womanhood, strength and independence after watching this series.
The Handmaid’s Tale is an end of world scenario where a crazed religious cult somehow is able to take over what’s left of the American government and become militarized. The cult actively seeks women who are still able to conceive children and turn them into baby-making slaves for powerful men. The wives of these men are barren due to some sort of widespread biological problem. Against their will, the fertile young women are used as sex slaves for the couples and are only properly cared for when they’re carrying a child for them.
The wives are complicit in the enslavement of the young women and in my opinion are just as despicable as the men. Much like the Facebook generation, they pretend to be happy on the outside for their friends but are really absolutely miserable. They elevate themselves above the “handmaids” and treat them like animals. They are easy to despise, but it’s clear for an intuitive eye to see that they are slaves to the situation as well. They are insecure about their womanhood and know deep down that their husbands don’t really want them.
Women who choose love with other women in this unfortunate tale are designated as “abominations” and put to death. This was one of the most disturbing elements of the show for me — the cult makes every effort to break the entire spirit of women in general, take away all of their choices, and deem them useless unless they can have children. What child would want to live in a world like that?
Everyone in the series is secretly unhappy, but only the young women who have been taken hostage actively try to break free from the situation. So in addition to being an apocalyptic tale and gender-related thriller (two of my favorite themes) it is a story about the ever-strong revolutionary spirit of women. A small but powerful minority of women have always fought for their rights and personhood throughout history. It’s why we have the rights we have now. Thank God for them.
The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu is definitely worth watching, but I strongly suggest that if you watch this with a young girl or teen, watch it and give them the proper context of what they are witnessing. Have a conversation with them as you go along. This series should be used as an educational tool — a warning for all women of why it’s important for us to remain independent, educated, and empowered, no matter what.
I’ve been conflicted about a number of things lately. One thing is where America and the world are headed in terms of our values and policies.
I was stunned when I learned that someone who openly bragged about assaulting women was elected the president of what was once considered the most powerful nation in the world. But at the same time it reaffirmed a lot of my beliefs about how resistant many people (both men and women) are to allowing a woman to be in charge — even when she’s the most qualified and sane candidate.
So when details about the Women’s March were announced, I was encouraged. I wasn’t sure if I’d make the trip myself, but I was sure to lend my support.
The night before the Women’s March in DC something told me that I needed to go. I prayed for guidance on whether I should go and eventually decided it was a MUST that I go.
I decided to drive down and since it was so last minute I was on my own. The first indication I had that the Women’s March was going to be a big deal was when I stopped at a rest stop for gas headed for DC and it was JAM PACKED with women, buses and lines.
When I finally arrived at my destination, a garage where I could catch the train into the city, it was sold out — no spaces. I started to panic a little, hoping I wouldn’t have to search for parking for half the day, but thankfully a parking attendant recommended that I try another garage. There were spaces available — yes!
When I parked and got on the train, I was met with more enthusiastic and energetic women who had the same goal as I had — to make it downtown to the March. I sat next to a young lady and struck up a conversation with her. Yes, she was going to the March and was meeting a friend. The train was soon packed with women headed there.
When we finally arrived at our destination, I believe it was Union Square, I was immediately in the thick of the action. I walked with a group of women toward the main stage which I think was the Capitol. They chanted, pumped their fists in the air and held up signs. Despite their intense energy they were extremely polite and respectful.
You see, this is what I love about women. We can be ready for a fight and still show respect and deference for others. My whole time at the Women’s March, I felt safe, protected and encouraged.
I took pictures of various signs and scenes. I wasn’t able to make it to the main stage because again it was PACKED, but I got a good view of what really makes America beautiful. Freedom of speech and expression. Women making sure that their voices were heard, just like the courageous suffragettes before them.
On my way back to the train, I saw a sign that embodies what I think is one of the most important takeaways from this event. It read “We Are the Leaders We’ve Been Looking For.”
If you don’t like how things are going in your part of the world, whether it be your country, state or town, you can choose to be the leader you want. Consider running for anything from PTA President to councilwoman to mayor or more. The main thing that holds us back is our belief that we can’t do it, so we don’t even try. If you have an interest in being a leader in your community, now is the time to start taking action. Just do it.
Lynn Gilliard is an author and blogger. Her new book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth. She is also the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.