explaining pussyhats to my mother

The morning after the Women’s March on Washington, Mom and I set up a date to talk over our experiences – mine in Philadelphia, and her march of 200 people in her rural Arizona town 40 minutes north of the wall in Mexico.

“So can we talk about the hats?” Mom asked over Skype. “My friends and I are trying to understand, but can you explain? In my generation – that word – I don’t think I even knew that word, I mean,well, it’s just so … it’s not a word I would ever say in that way. My friends agree that none of us would ever use it.” She looked at her hands. “That word makes me so uncomfortable.”

We went on to talk about the message behind the sea of pink. What it means to reclaim power over the things that make us angry and uncomfortable. What it means to feel like our bodies and even language are being used against us. The importance of creating community and the power of speaking up.

During the week after the election, I wrote three poems. Many of you wrote to thank me or to share your own stories. Thank you – I love hearing from you. Only one of my longtime subscribers unsubscribed from this blog with the message:

“I’m sad to see that this space has gotten political.”

Since when are heartbreak, sadness, and anger political? Always.

If you’re looking for dependably uplifting content, I invite you to follow Viva Institute on Instagram. Over the next few weeks, you’ll receive recordings of the words of writers who remind you about all that’s good in the world. There’s so much to celebrate.

LeighHereNow is me, unfiltered. Here. Now. In the spirit of connection, please do send me some Postage. I love knowing what’s in your heart.



P.S. Over the holidays, surprise! I found this gorgeous stack of your letters lost behind a pile of New Yorker mags. (((Forgive me?))) I’ll be posting them soon.


4 Replies to “explaining pussyhats to my mother”

  1. It reminds me of when my kid referred to themselves as queer. I was very uncomfortable with the word because it had such bad connotations associated with it. Then I understood it was a way to reclaim the word for themselves, and be empowered! ❤

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