The Women’s March on Washington

Three of my friends and I from school decided that it was important to us to attend the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017. So we figured out a way to get ourselves to Washington D.C. and it turned into a fun adventure if a long car ride. I’m really happy I went. The people I went with all live on my floor at Wooster, and I count them among my closest friends at school. Their names are Mary, Chelsea, and Ingrid.

On the Thursday before the march, we took a bus to to Columbus, Ohio. We decided that the march was important enough to us that it was worth missing one to two days of school for. (Incidentally, my professors seemed more interested in telling me to report back on how the march went than telling me that my absence would be excused. My clarinet professor even thanked me for fulfilling my civic duty.)

On the bus!

The bus was a charter bus that took us to Columbus by going via the windiest route it possibly could. We went through tiny towns, picked up a few Mennonite couples along the way, and saw picturesque scenes of rolling hills and farmland. We also met some rather entertaining characters on the way (one guy admonished us because we didn’t know the county that Columbus is in; “You’re white college girls and you don’t know the county of the town you’re going to?” Um.) It was rather fun if a little bit (or a lot) nausea inducing, but we finally made it to our stop at the Columbus airport. At the airport, we were picked up by Ingrid’s father, Geoff, where we drove about an hour or so to Athens, Ohio, which is Ingrid’s hometown.

Ingrid’s house is on the top of a hill, and the only thing you have to do to get to town is climb down about a hundred or more steps of stairs and you end up an an adorable down town area. Athens is the home of Ohio University and her house is also about a ten minute walk away from the campus. We received a lovely tour (thanks, Ingrid!) and watched James Bond and had pizza for dinner and played with the cats and spent the night at Ingrid’s house.

At Ingrid’s house!

On Friday morning, we packed the car up and took a six hour drive to the house of a friend of Ingrid’s dad who lives in Friendship Heights on the Maryland/D.C. border. Geoff drove, since he also wanted to go to the march. Ingrid’s mom and little brothers stayed in Athens. We drove from Ohio to West Virginia and then to Maryland and we passed the time by eating a ton of snacks, listening to music, sleeping, and doing homework. We avoided listening to the news and really anything to do with the inauguration. I think everyone was in deep denial that President Obama is no longer in office.

When we finally made it to the D.C. area, we dropped Mary at a family friend of hers, and then made our way to our hosts: Ali and Mark. We could not have asked for better hosts. Both of them work at Georgetown University and have had such interesting lives. We heard a lot of stories, as well as amazing food and beyond generous hospitality overall.

we were giddy

It was hard to sleep that night we were so excited for what was to come the next day. We were so giddy. The next morning was no different, with us going out of our minds. After eating breakfast, Ingrid’s cousin Claire (surprise, surprise) came over as she was going to march with us, and then Ali, Geoff, Claire, Ingrid, Chelsea, and myself walked over to the nearest metro stop to make our way to the Washington Mall.

pre march photo

And that’s where the crowds really started. The stairs and escalators were already full of people with pink hats and signs to get on the Metro. We squeezed onto a train, and with each stop that we came to, more and more people with pussy hats and signs and bright lipstick squeezed on. The mood was already euphoric. Renditions of This Little Light of Mine and This Land is Your Land broke out. Everyone was smiling and laughing and singing and taking pictures. The energy was so enthusiastic and just fun. We all exited the train en masse, quickly crowding the metro station, along with people from other trains who all were going to the march too. The metro attendants looked so happy as well, and I overheard one of them remark that the crowds were already so much larger then they had been the day before, for Donald Trump’s inauguration. “This is awesome,” she said.

subway selfie!

on the subway

We started making our way to 13th Street and Independence Ave. where the march was said to start. However, a rally was supposed to start at around 10am, with the official march happening at 1:15pm. At about 9:30am we found ourselves in front of the capital surrounded by more people than I’ve ever seen at one place in one time. We decided to try to make our way to a jumbotron to watch the rally, and that is when we really got caught up in the crowd. We were forced to form a kind of conga line with us grabbing onto each other’s hoods and coats so we wouldn’t be separated. We quickly realized that getting to a jumbotron would be near impossible, and our new goal was just to try to get near the periphery of the crowds so we could do some people watching. It probably took us an hour and a half to achieve that goal, and we were nowhere near the center of the masses or even in the center of the Mall.

While we were incrementally inching ourselves towards the periphery, the energy was contagious. There were thousands of people there, with even more still coming in, there were waves of noise and screaming and chants would come from one direction and go to the other, with people clapping and screaming. I have never felt the kind of exhilaration before as I did when thousands upon thousands of people started screaming, “YES WE CAN!” at the same time. I find it hard to put into words how fantastic it was to experience something like that. Other chants swept through the crowd, with the most popular ones (that I heard) being, “Tell me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like!” and “Tell me what a feminist looks like, this is what a feminist looks like!” and “We are the popular vote!” and “We need a leader, not a creepy tweeter!” and “Can’t build a wall, hands are too small!”  More renditions of This Land is Your Land broke out.

Furthermore, I have never seen such a fundamentally nice crowd of people. You would think, with so many people in one place, that there would be at least a little bit of chaos, at least in terms of frustration and anger, but everyone was patient and nice. Friends were made within the span of one second, all you had to do was say hi, tell them where you were from, and there you were, friends. We were all united, all there for the same purpose, and everyone was so happy and kind.

When we finally made it to the periphery, we had lost Ali somewhere in the crowds. At this point, there were so many people there that cellphone service was not working. It was really amazing that we didn’t lose anymore people than we did, but we figured we would meet Ali back at her house later that day, as we could not get in touch with her by phone. We decided to stay where we were, which was slightly less claustrophobic and did a lot of people watching. We saw so many amazing signs, and spent many hours there, hours in which I honestly did not notice the time passing there were so many interesting people to watch and things happening.

And the signs! So many clever and funny signs, everything was worth it just for having seen the signs. I have included some of my favorites.

About forty five minutes before the march was supposed to start, we realized that we were no where near where the march was supposed to start, or, more accurately, we would have to go through masses upon masses of people to get to the start of the march, which would take an unknown amount of time. So we decided to try to make our way to a point where we would meet the march as it passed by, instead of starting the march. While we were making our way to the meet up point, everyone around us seemed to have the same idea because a kind of “unofficial” march had formed, with everyone streaming down the street parallel of Independence Ave. by the Smithsonians: Madison Dr. So many people! Everybody going along the march was asking each other, “Is this the march route?” “No, I don’t think so, but now it is.” And then, after going down Madison for a while, we looked another block over to Constitution Ave. and saw a great throng of people there, too, with pussy hats and signs galore! It was so exciting to see! So we decided to go down to Constitution and join that mass of people. There were police lining the roads and yet, still, everyone seemed to still be in such good cheer and it didn’t seem like the police were doing anything beyond crowd control. It makes me so happy just to go through my photos and write about it a week later. 

So we went down Constitution Ave. until we came to the Washington monument, and then to the White House lawn, and people were taking photos and waving signs and chanting all over again. We decided that we had had our fill of protesting, so we decided to make our way to the subway. In doing so, other impromptu parade routes were formed, with people just trying to leave the march to make their ways to their cars or homes or the subway. At one point the police even had to block out an entire half of a road to let marchers go through, and that was just to leave! 

We walked a few blocks to go to the subway, but every train that went through was full of marchers, so we ended up walking about three and a half miles, getting food along the way and then finally making our way to a less crowded, but still quite full subway stop, where we squeezed onto a train full of satisfied if tired folks wearing pussy hats and carrying signs. We found Ali at her house, and then Mary showed up after having marched with her family, and the mood continued to be euphoric with everyone still so excited with how many people had showed up and how courteously everyone had been. And everyone’s good mood just increased as crowd counts started being released, along with pictures of the marches in sister cities, and people calling it perhaps the biggest mass organized protest in American history. We were all so happy to have gotten the opportunity to have participated.

We got in the car and drove six hours back to Athens, Ohio that same night. By the time we got back, we were all exhausted but everyone agreed that the march was worth going to. The next day, Ingrid’s mom drove us back to Wooster. We’ve estimated that over the course of the weekend, we were in the car for a total of about 23 hours. Worth it.

Like I said, the mood was nothing short of euphoric. And again, I still struggle finding a way to put this into words to explain how exciting it was and how big it was and what the atmosphere was like. I am just so happy I got the opportunity to go and that I had amazing friends to go with. It definitely was an experience that I will never forget.

All photo credit goes to Chelsea. 🙂

Too Much Potter?

 

In the back: The Golden Snitch. On the left (me): Luna Lovegood. On the right: Member of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team

In the back: The Golden Snitch. On the left (me): Luna Lovegood. On the right: Member of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team

A fact about me that is relevant to the rest of this post: I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I LOVE Harry Potter. I obsess over Harry Potter. I spend a lot of time thinking about Harry Potter.

In the summer of 2012, a website called Pottermore was launched in beta. In July of this year, a two-part play called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open. And a movie called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them premieres in November of 2016. Each of these projects are extensions of the Potter universe. And yet, I can’t bring it in me to be too excited.

Pottermore is a website that J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, has used to expand the Potter-verse (Potter Universe), by becoming a new medium for news, articles, and interactive features. The site has revealed the backgrounds of certain characters such as Professor McGonagall, the origins of the Potter family, famous wizards from the different houses of Hogwarts, information about different wizarding schools located around the world, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the soon to be released movie with screenplay by J.K. Rowling. It is loosely based on a book released by Rowling with the same title, but instead follows Newt Scamander as he discovers some of the “fantastic beasts” in question. Finally, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play, written by J.K. Rowling that details the “19 Years Later” that fans everywhere have been speculating about.

All of these new expansions are very interesting and exciting, but I’m having a hard time being interested and excited.

I read the Harry Potter books, and a whole new world opened up in my imagination. I watched the movies, and the world that I saw in my head took warped a little and became a little closer to that of the movies. Now when I think of Hermione Granger, I’m more likely to think of Emma Watson than the book loving, bushy haired, know-it-all that I saw in my head. I’ve had several different opportunities to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a theme park in Universal Studios Orlando, but have declined because I don’t want to ruin the land the land of Harry Potter in my mind any more than it’s already been. Why can’t we just let Potter stay as it is? I, for one, would much rather speculate on the backstories of the characters and write fanfiction about it than have it spoon fed to us. J.K. Rowling, I love you, but isn’t it good enough for you to know explicitly Professor McGonagall’s backstory and leave the rest of us to think about it for ourselves?

I think that this is the problem with story lines and universes and the continuous thought of, oh let’s just release one more movie and one more book that’s been happening lately. The more cynical part of me thinks that the only reason that these universes appear to be expanding needlessly (in my mind) is because of money. Harry Potter is already popular, so of course people will line up outside the movie theatres for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Star Wars already had a hugely loyal fan base, so of course releasing three new movies isn’t out of the question. And people have already embraced the idea of Iron Man and Captain America fighting together, so now let’s see what people are going to see when we put them against each other.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But all of the bows were neatly tied, so can’t we just let sleeping dragons lie? It’s for this reason that I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be seeing Captain America: Civil War. I like where Marvel’s left it off at the end of The Winter Soldier and am not the hugest fan of the all of the extras – Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

 Yes, I’m still most definitely going to buy the book formatted scripts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and go see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It doesn’t mean that I think these expansions of the Harry Potter universe are the best thing that’s happened since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out.

Exchange Students Support World Peace

One of the long lasting objectives of Rotary Youth Exchange, and any exchange program in general, is world peace. If you personally know someone from Poland, you aren’t as likely to encourage your government to go to war against Poland. (These are just hypothetical situations here, I don’t actually want to go to war against Poland.)

Obviously, this is a very idealistic point of view and aim, but it is also one that I agree with whole heartedly. Every country is different. Every country has its weaknesses and strengths. I don’t believe there is one country that is truly better than every other country. Suffice to say I don’t think it is good or moral to kill people over differences.

Differences are what make us great. Scientifically speaking, without the introduction of different genes and different mutations, species would die off from inbreeding. The world wouldn’t be able to exist without differences.

#ExchangeStudentsSupportWorldPeace

Spread the Word

Post Paris

peaceI was surfing Facebook when I saw the first of the articles hitting the news stream about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Then my phone went crazy, when every exchange student whatsapp group that I’m a part of lit up, with everyone asking each other if they had seen the news and can you believe what’s happening?

This is likely an event that will become of those moments that everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they found out about it. Where were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you when you found out about 9/11?

I was on a couch in the main room in my host mom’s apartment in Brazil when I heard about the ISIS attacks in Paris.

I ended up turning my phone off and reading a book, because while I wanted to know what was happening, I was also sad and couldn’t handle scores of misinformation and terror.

Now we are five days post the moment, and we have entered the world of debate. The big question gracing social media these days is why did Facebook put up a profile picture filter in support of Paris, but not is support of Beirut? Articles are being written about the tragedies in Beirut and Baghdad, and that we are a cold and callous people to have ignored those attacks, when instead the only thing dominating CNN is the attack in Paris. I’m seeing posts reminding people that Paris isn’t the only tragedy that happened recently, and that we should pray for world peace instead. I’m in groups that are talking of making videos with messages to the survivors and the families of the victims in Paris, and yet the loudest voices are those of the people asking why it matters that we stand in support of a country reeling from a huge body count when nobody is going to watch the video anyway.

My response to these outcries of who is more important than who is simple.

Please don’t attack me because I feel sad about the events in Paris. Please don’t tell me what I should feel sad about. The world is a scary place. And I feel sad about the violence and death that occurred five days ago. I feel sad that stopping terrorism can’t be done with me snapping my fingers. I understand that more terrorist attacks happened beyond the one in Paris. Please don’t tell me what I should feel sad about. We should not forget about the events in Paris just because they aren’t the only acts of terrorism to have happened recently. The acts of terrorism, violence, and war around the world are scary and terrible. What happened in Paris was scary and terrible.

Changed Paths

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

October, 2010. I am thirteen years old.

October, 2010. I am thirteen years old.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change, recently, just because I’ve realized I’ve changed. I’ve grown up. I started this blog a little more than five years ago. My first post was on March 20, 2010, a lovely piece entitled “Hi.” The entire content was less than a paragraph. I look back on it and I smile, because I have changed since then. I am not the same person as I was on March 20, 2010. I was in seventh grade and thirteen years old. Now I am a recently graduated eighteen year old. I am a very different person than who I used to be.

When I started this blog, my entire life was centered on the daily ins and outs of living with type one diabetes. At this point in my life journey, I am interested in other things, too. You may or may not have noticed that my posts as of late have had almost nothing to do with diabetes. And yet the title of this blog is Diabetic Rockstar.

While I identify as a Diabetic Rockstar, this is not what I want to write about anymore. I’m not saying that I’m never going to write about diabetes again. I’m just trying to open myself to more avenues than simply the girl who takes on diabetes by storm and can laugh a little about it.

I still laugh about diabetes. I still spend hours upon hours of my day wondering about my blood sugar and counting carbohydrates. But I want to write about different things now.

When I was thirteen years old, I was completely focused on Tae-Kwon-Do, Harry Potter, diabetes, school, and middle school drama.

My eighteen year old self is focused on Harry Potter, exercising more than I do right now, exploring strange new worlds such as Brazil, travel, Brazil, Star Trek, writing a novel, diabetes, Brazil, Marvel Studios, gay rights, Brazil, voting, learning how to drink responsibly, Brazil, politics, fanfiction, Brazil, various different books, the idea that all grades are simply made up concepts, Brazil, etc. The list goes on and on.

September, 2014

September, 2014

I have grown up since I was thirteen years old. I guess the point that I’m trying to make here is that this blog is going to be changing from its original focus. At some point in the nearish future, I will be changing the title “Diabetic Rockstar” to something that encompasses a more worldly perspective. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to call my blog, but it’s not going to be “Diabetic Rockstar.” Because this Diabetic Rockstar is ready for some change.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill

The Taylor Swift Phenomenon

Taylor_Swift_-_1989or

I FREAKING LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT. IT’S REAL.

First, let’s establish something right off. It’s kind of not cool to be obsessed with Taylor Swift. It is (at least at my high school), however, cool to be on the spectrum of annoyance to hate when it comes to Taylor Swift.

It is also a thing that peer pressure is kind of hard to resist. So I am just kind of a mouse when it comes to people ragging on Taylor Swift. I keep my love inside.

And just saying, I’m kind of done with that. BECAUSE TAYLOR SWIFT IS AWESOME AND I LOVE HER.

Haters gonna hate. (Kudos if you get that reference.)

So. 1989 is awesome. Beyond phenomenal. The only thing I’m kind of upset about is that Style hasn’t become the huge sensation that “Blank Space” has. I think I went through a few days of only listening to “Style” over and over and over again. And over and over and over again. You get the idea?

Dear Taylor, will you pretty please make a music video for “Style”? Thanks.

Speak Now tour in Denver

Speak Now tour in Denver

I’ve been a huge Taylor Swift fan since Fearless came out. Last year the song “Fearless” became my theme song for the year because it was all about me being on top of the world, something that I really think happened last year.

I was listening to National Public Radio (okay, I’m a nerd, sue me) and I heard someone say that Taylor Swift is arguably the biggest name in Pop right now. That made me feel so happy because I feel like I’ve been with Taylor since the beginning. It’s not like I jumped on the Taylor bandwagon when 1989 came out and everyone went nuts. I’ve been here since I was old enough to decide what kind of music I like.

Speak Now tour in Denver

Speak Now tour in Denver

I am lucky enough to have gone to a Taylor Swift concert when she was touring for Speak Now. It was awesome. Just saying. When she was in Denver she performed in the Pepsi Center, which is this circular arena that the Nuggets (our basketball team) and the Aves (Our hockey team) play at. So while I was in the cheap seats and in the way back (why all my pictures show the view screen, not Taylor in person) I was lucky to be center stage.

Sorry, I’m rambling.

The moral of the story is: I LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT. Enough to publicly declare my love on the internet.

To those of you still with me: Thanks for putting up with my random free write blog posts that really have nothing to do with diabetes and are kind of long winded and tend to ramble a lot. And that was funny because that sentence is a long winded and rambling sentence.

Love,

Claire

Related Posts:
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Mary PoppinsI sat down to write a blog post and put Pandora on, and of course Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious came on. And then, zam! topic change. I’m rolling with the punches here. (Disclaimer: no diabetes talk here. But I still like to think that I’m an interesting person.)

I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t fall into the range of seriously enjoying or loving Mary Poppins. I may be about to be proved wrong with this blog post, but I really don’t care. I will always love Mary Poppins.

(Side note — my word processor thinks that ‘Poppins’ is spelled wrong. That’s irritating.)

I loved Mary Poppins when I was a kid. When we drove to the mountains, my parents would put show tunes on the stereo, and Mary Poppins was one of the favorites (the other being The Sound of Music, but honestly, who can go wrong with Julie Andrews?)

Mary Poppins came to the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, and my mother bought tickets. I’ve seen a ton of shows there, including The Lion King, and I’ve never been so transported as I’ve been with Mary Poppins. The music was wonderful, the actors were excellent, and she flew out into the audience. I’m writing about it now, and I’m getting goosebumps.

Saving Mr BanksAnd then I went to high school and took a lot of history classes and Mary Poppins took on a whole new meaning. For example, (“one night I said it to me girl, and now me girl’s me wife.” Just kidding. And you’re a champ if you get that reference.) Anyways, I understand why Mrs. Banks had time to be a suffragette, why she would do such a thing anyways, what economic and social class the Banks were in, etc. It’s even more fun to watch Mary Poppins now because I understand it on a whole different level. What a great movie.

About sixish months ago I saw Saving Mr. Banks when it came out in theaters with my grandmother and mom and I just about died when hearing the the Mary Poppins melodies used as the music score. I mean it. Dead.Mary Poppins Musical

And now my school has announced that out school musical this year is Mary Poppins. Oh. My. God. (Sorry, Mom. “Gosh.”) And we even outfitted our auditorium with aerial stuff so Mary can fly and Bert can walk on the ceiling. I’m dying over here of excitement. Holy cow!!

For the past two years I’ve participated in the pit orchestra for the school musicals (and that is a whole story unto itself, so I’ll tell you later) and now I am incredibly excited to try out this year. Mary Poppins here I come!

Lots of love,

Claire MontgomeryMary Poppins

Harry Potter is Awesome

rowlingI love Harry Potter, in case any of you were wondering. I can quote the first line of the first book word for word. I have read them a million bazillion times. I can trump anyone at a Harry Potter quiz. (Ask me something. I dare you.) My number in lacrosse is 7 because according to the Harry Potter books, seven is the most magical and powerful number. I am so obsessed that I am writing a fan fiction of what happens after the seventh Harry Potter book but before the epilogue.

(Fan fiction is where you write in the world that the author has created (ex. Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Trek, etc) and use their characters and make your own plot. There are multiple websites hosting fan fiction. I waste many hours of my life reading fan fiction. Look it up. It’s worth it.)

So one day I was looking for another interesting Harry Potter fan fiction to read, and I came across this really interesting one in which Harry had type 1 diabetes. Wow. So of course I had to read it. It was really interesting. This was a long time ago now, and I haven’t reread it or anything, but I remember Harry fainting a lot from low blood sugars and thinking that was weird because I’ve never fainted from a low or anything like that.

So while I didn’t exclusively enjoy the story, we’ll say, it did get me to thinking. So if Harry really did have diabetes, wouldn’t the magical world of Harry Potter be able to cure him, like, instantly?

Actually, when I was younger, I used to wish that I would get a Hogwarts letter and that I would show up and then Madame Pomfrey would say, “Hey, Claire, come here so I can cure your diabetes really fast,” and then I would never have to worry again.

So I was wondering how it would feel to be cured of diabetes instantly. I don’t think I would know what to do with myself. I feel like I manage myself relatively well so it wouldn’t be strange to just go eat and eat and eat. Though I would escape the whole exercise deal (managing your blood sugars seems like an impossible task while exercising). I don’t know. How would you feel if you had diabetes and then all of the sudden, alakazam, you didn’t anymore! What would you do?

Oh, and if you are interested in any good Harry Potter fan fiction to try out, comment and I will give you a suggestion!

Have a good day! And may all be well with your diabetes!

Claire Montgomery