The rationale for why I am choosing to attend the Women’s March in DC is complex. I saw this hashtag the Women’s March will be using for tweets and was perplexed that I did not have a 140 character response. Surely I should be able to arrive at a simple summation.

But I can’t.

Why I march is visceral; it is part of my make up and my hard wiring. Saying why I march is like saying “I love you” and knowing that sentence doesn’t do justice to the powerful feelings and commitment you are experiencing. The moment I heard about the march I knew I had to go. I needed to be present at this moment in history with all of the many men and women who will be there speaking our truth. I needed to be there to hold true to who I AM.

The answer to the question of why I march is another question: who am I?

I am an empath. I am a person who walks out her front door and hears the world’s needs, concerns, and fears at full concert volume all the time. All the time.

I am the person who tries for a year to become friends with the angry woman who works in the cafeteria because I know there is an unknown pain behind that anger.

I am the person who could not slap a girl back in the sixth grade when the other girl slapped her.

I am the person who, at five years old, would surround myself with 13 stuffed animals, stretch my arms around all of them, and try to go to sleep facing the ceiling so none of the stuffed animals would think I had turned away from them.

I am the person who loved her roommate at the mental hospital despite of and because she had a talking mouse on her pillow at night.

I am the person who chooses to adopt her animals (and best friends) from the kill shelter because the penalty for abandonment should not be death and who does not see a greater or lesser being when she looks into the eyes of an animal.

I am the person whose second favorite song in high school–and still in the top 5 today–was “Galileo” by the Indigo Girls because the lyrics are beautifully written and profound and Emily and Amy’s LGBT status was of little or no consequence to their artistry.

I cried in my car going to work listening to President Barack Obama’s inaugural address because of what it meant for so many people of color and what it meant for all Americans to have this brilliant mind and orator be our president.

I am brave enough to call it murder when a black man is gunned down while his hands are on the car, and I also know our law enforcement officers have difficult jobs and are not all cut from the same cloth.

I joined the NC NAACP and the ACLU before the recent elections to help donate to their cause and get out the vote.

I believe pro-life means being for lives young and old and never want to see a penny of my money spent to kill an innocent person in prison.

I believe pro-choice means that you get to make a personal decision to be pro-life.

I believe what conversations and difficult decisions that take place between a woman and her doctor should be protected and private.

I sob on the couch when I come home from watching the General Assembly make their constituents feel less than human through the use of verbal attacks against ALL North Carolina residents’ intelligence and inhumane legislation.

I have had a man try to put his hands on me as a child and do not tolerate jokes or quips about such acts.

I am a woman who has joys, sorrows, fears, beliefs, values, and a VOICE.

I am a proud member of Stronger NC, a group of people 10,000 strong who believe that everyone should be treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the hearts of us all.

I am Dora Phyllis Jernigan. And that is why I march.