I am curious if anyone who went to the Women’s March in DC (or anywhere else) had the same experience that I did.

When I arrived at the airport in Seattle, ready to fly to DC, there were 100+ women in pink pussy hats at the gate. I was on the fence about going, and I hadn’t heard much about those hats. I was nervous about being a part of this club. I felt shy and these women did not seem like the same species as me.

As we boarded the plane and took our seats, we all realized there were only two men on the flight. TWO! I can’t remember any time when I was somewhere where women were the dominant group. I’ve been in the technology industry for 20+ years, surrounded by men. I was exhilarated and frightened (much like the two men).

When I got to DC, people were giving out pussy hats at the airport–handmade, suitcases full–and I got one for me and a friend. When I got to the house where I was staying with a group of women, there were hats for everyone.

And we marched. And I got teary-eyed when I saw a particular sign that said Protect Girls Rights. It was written in a sort-of third-grade-style cursive font, and it made me feel I was failing my daughter and I started to cry.

The president could grab my daughter’s pussy if he wanted, because when you’re rich, they let you do it.

I was mad. And ecstatic. And confused. And chanting. My body, my motherfucking choice.

Recently I was listening to a podcast called “Hysteria” and the host said, “What if someone needed a kidney and you were the only one who was a match to donate? Could the government compel you to give that kidney? And make you pay for the person’s medical bills for the rest of their life?”

But enough about abortion.

Back to my point, which is this.

When I went back to the airport after the march, the hats were fewer and fewer. My fellow women had put away their hats, and so I tucked mine away too. After all, the inauguration had just happened and people (mostly men), were at the airport wearing their MAGA hats and I was afraid of angering them.

When I got on the plane back to Seattle, I acted as though I hadn’t even been at the march, though the two women sitting next to me were reminiscing about it. I don’t know why I didn’t associate myself with them. Just one day earlier, I had been proud of being a woman. But now I felt shame.

I thought we were all going to wear those hats everywhere from now on. Until we had equal representation in Congress. Until we ran most of the US’s largest corporations. Until women of every color and heritage were with us at the top. Until there was never an unanswered question about our power and our abilities.

Am I the only one who felt strange, putting the hat away? Did we admit defeat? Or are we spies in hiding?