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16 January 2017

Feeling guilty about not going on the March [More:]
In solidarity with the Women's March in Washington, there's a march in London on Saturday afternoon. Lots of people I know are going, but I've decided not to, and I'm feeling really guilty about it.

I've been on my share of marches and protests in the past, and every time it's ended for me with an anxiety attack. I hate crowds because I'm so short (under 5ft) that all I see are people's backs. I can't see where I'm going, I can't see what's around me, or if there's danger around.

I can get a bit panicky on the Tube sometimes when I'm crammed into a packed train carriage. The last time I freaked out in a crowd happened a year ago when I went to the 'Festival of Lights' in Central London and the crowds were so vast that it was impossible to navigate the streets. It was awful.

I'm worried that, if the march is very crowded and the police decide there's too many people, the marchers will be 'kettled'. This would not end well for me. Even without my worst nightmare of kettling, I think it will be too busy for me to be able to navigate the crowds and I'll have a panic attack.

I feel as if I'm letting people down - particularly friends who are going on marches all over the world. But on the other hand, I also feel I need to take account of past experiences and not put myself in a situation that is unlikely to be a positive one for me.

Sorry, dear! I don't think anyone should feel guilty about not attending, for any reason at all. There are so many ways to be supportive that don't involve cold weather and large crowds!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 16 January | 14:48
I'm feeling guilty about not making to the local Pittsburgh one. I have class on Saturday morning right at the time it's on. My wife and some friends are going. Pittsburgh (at least the city itself) is very liberal and the mayor is 100% supportive of the protest so there probably won't be any issues with the police.
posted by octothorpe 16 January | 21:04
I am a cynic and don't believe marches help very much, so I see no reason for you to feel guilty. There are gazillions of ways to show support and solidarity. One example would be to financially support groups that are making good legislation happen, but I'm not suggesting that in particular.
posted by JanetLand 17 January | 09:10
Never forget to be kind to yourself first. By looking after yourself you are in a better place that you can provide support via your unique talents.

There is never any obligation to volunteer for a specific event or organization: there are too many good groups out there and we must make a choice because we cannot do all things.

I unfortunately cannot go because I am working, and I must look out for me first since this country will not give a damn about me once the new demagogue has his way.
posted by mightshould 17 January | 10:47
Yeah, I'm not going either. I was invited by my union to the one in D.C. and/or NYC, but I'm not big on crowds either (and the D.C. one involved a 5am bus). Don't worry, I fear there will be plenty more opportunities for protest in the next four years, should the need become even more urgent.

For my part, I do what I can to calm the fears of my very diverse Bronx students (and my own fears) and read some works by Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou and Ralph Ellison and MLK together that help give voice to the frustrations and a platform for discussion.

I'm considering boycotting the news for the next four years, in service of my blood pressure and mental health.
posted by Pips 17 January | 11:21
I wouldn't worry. We'll have lots and lots of opportunities to resist over the next four years. Stay home and warm.
posted by bearwife 17 January | 12:27
Don't feel guilty about things beyond your ability or control. If someone needed brain surgery to remove a tumor you would not have any reason to feel guilty for not performing brain surgery. If crowds are not something you can deal with just wait until you can show support in another way.
posted by arse_hat 18 January | 02:33
Monday question NOT from the Book of Questions || OMG Bunny Bird!