It started last week, my boyfriend and I were at lunch on Friday talking about the inauguration and the women's marches that were scheduled to happen the next day. Neither one of us really understood why people were marching, or what the hope of outcome was. So, this week I talked to some lovely people in my life who had either attended a march, or thought about attending one. I was skeptical about reaching out to people especially since some of the people I talked to, I had never met! I'm really glad I did though. While I personally did not feel compelled to participate in a march it really opened up my eyes talking to women who did. I now better understand the attraction and why women all over the country felt it was so important to share their voices. Here are some of the stories I heard over the past week.

" I waffled a lot about whether I was going to go or not, But then yesterday, I met these two women who flew here from Oregon. They were awesome and so excited for the march. I figured, if they can fly across the country, I can take a 20 minute Uber. Since the election, I have had a lot of fear about not just my rights, but the rights of all minorities. It felt important to stand together. I don't know if it will change anything, but, for a day, it felt nice to be surrounded by people who shared my fears and weren't giving up. It gave me a lot more hope than I had yesterday. The marches themselves might not have changed anything but if this many people feel this way, then they need to keep working. Contact their congressmen, donate time and money, and most importantly, vote in the midterm elections. Those matter just as much as the presidential ones." -A Beautiful Human

" I've realized, as a college student, when I'm at home, in a place surrounded by opposition, I feel passionate, ready, compelled to fight and to stand up for what I believe in. When I get back to college, however, (I drove back this past Monday), I am surrounded by people who agree with me. I'm in an environment where Trump is condemned and the Trump mindset would NEVER be condoned or accepted, so I feel calm. Safe. At peace. It's then that I no longer feel as compelled to make a statement, because I feel it's not necessary, living in my comforting fishbowl of support." -A Beautiful Human

" My fiance and I had tripped plan to Boston. We go about once a year. When we booked the trip we didn't even think about the fact that it was the coinciding with the inauguration and the events surrounding it. Once we got to the city and realized the march was going to happen, I felt like I had to be a part of it. For me, it was just a matter of being a part of a movement that may not directly change anything, but makes it clear that people in this country will not tolerate hatred or injustice. It is not about who won or lost the presidency, it is about making a statement. The people there were not contesting the election. They were expressing their frustration with the current state of our nation's policies and beliefs. I cannot even articulate the feelings and emotions I had walking around Boston Common. There were certainly feelings of anger and frustration, but the peaceful protest also gave me an overwhelming sense of hope for the future. The Women's Marches across the world may not directly change opinions or affect legislation but they have shown that citizens are willing to express their anger and fight for what they believe is right. " -A Beautiful Human

" I decided to go today by myself on a whim! I really wanted to attend the one in DC but I found out about the one in Birmingham so I decided to go this morning! It felt so empowering to march. I was surrounded by love and both men, women and children were there for the same reason: rights and equality for everyone. As I was marching I felt that even though I am just one person in a crowd of thousands, I was making a different and I was allowing others to hear my voice. I've never felt so empowered in my life. They had speakers in the beginning of the march and hearing them preach and rally up the crowd and saying what we were all thinking was truly amazing. The march was MORE than I expected. Everyone was so excited and happy about what we were about to do. Today made me realize that if people come together with love and peace we really can make a difference and advocate for a cause." -A Beautiful Human

" The only thing I can think to talk about would be my roommate's sister. She recently broke her engagement with her boyfriend of four years to follow her heart. She is now happily living with her girlfriend in D.C., and I'm telling you, I've never seen a happier pair. They march today out of love. They march today to protect their Tomorrow. I've never felt such a sense of purity. Two people fighting for love. Love that someone, upon our highest position of respect, denies them. If woman march for anything, I find there's no greater cause than that" -A Beautiful Human

"As a psychiatrist in Alaska, I’ve already seen negative effects from this election. I hospitalized 2 people the day after the election for suicide attempts: one has autism and has only begun to qualify for healthcare (expanded medicaid), so despaired of continuing to receive help, the other is homosexual and had only just put his “big toe” out of the closet. Since then, a middle aged woman had her windshield smashed in a “road rage” incident (she drives a Prius and has a “Black Lives Matter” bumpersticker, although she is a white nurse), a 30-ish year old woman had her crotch grabbed in the University of Alaska Anchorage parking garage (and when she told security, the response was, “what were you wearing”?) (answer: heavy snowgear!) and a black (American born) teenager whose mother was born in Africa was taunted in class because his name is Mohammed (“go back to where you came from!”). It is up to ALL of us to make America a safe country for ALL of us." -A Beautiful Human

These stories are beautiful, inspiring, and all of them are eye opening. This article is not taking any sides in anything, it is simply showing some insight into why women marched, and how it impacted their lives. As you may have noticed, all of the quotes above are credited to A Beautiful Human. This is both to protect the identities of the people who bravely talked about their experiences this week, and to demonstrate that we are all beautiful humans no matter our experiences, opinions, or political affiliations. Some of these stories have been edited for clarity, and all of these stories have been shared with permission.