When I was a newly-minted college graduate, I filled a suitcase and a backpack, rolled up my sleeping bag and moved to New York City.
It was June of 1972, the year Ms. magazine began publishing, and I daydreamed about walking into the Ms. offices, meeting the iconic Gloria Steinem, and volunteering my services. But I was too chicken to do that.
Instead, I moved into a tiny Manhattan apartment, got an office job at Rockefeller Center, read a lot of depressing Existentialist writing, prowled around the city, and watched on the sidelines as New York women marched down Fifth Avenue one day that summer.
I thought of joining them, but I didn’t. I knew their causes were my causes. But instead of stepping into the street, I stood on the sidewalk and watched as the women swarmed past St. Patrick’s and Saks and the Channel Gardens.
I remember watching the marchers with curiosity and interest. I remember wondering who they were and where they hung out and where they were headed that day.
I was too afraid to discover the answers to my questions — although I never identified my feeling as fear at the time.
I have few regrets in life, but not joining that march is one of them. Feeling too timid to volunteer at Ms. magazine is another.
The moral of my story is this: Don’t let fear keep you still or silent. Take action. Speak out. You might get to meet an icon of your own.