well, life's taken on a new focus today. i went to bed last night with the words "president trump" pounded into my head like an octagon-shaped block of wood where i only have circle-shaped holes. i truly never thought this would be possible, so it took awhile for the reality to settle in. like i was still laughing when everyone around me was freaking out. i've always been a little slow to react to bad news, though. maybe as a defense mechanism.
i am deeply hurt, and discouraged, and afraid. i thought we'd be celebrating a totally different symbolic moment in history today. most upsetting, though, i thought i knew who i shared a country with -- i grew up in wyoming and lived in central florida for christ's sake! i saw some shit. but i had no idea. to be utterly clear: there is no good reason to support a man whose entire campaign was based on appealing to white nationalist sentiments, on fear and intolerance. even people who voted for trump "just to shake things up" or "as a lesser of two evils" are in the wrong, and participating in deeply disturbing trend against human progress.
but there's no giving up now. what can we do but make choices and take actions that contribute to the type of society we want to live in? i've been lazy up until now. i relied on my faith in the goodness of people. i was a passive participant in our political system -- it's no longer enough to vote in elections and sign online petitions and add some hashtags to your social media posts. here's what i'm doing:
- not wasting any more time on unproductive media. i've signed off facebook, twitter, and instagram; i'm not reading the news and blogs all day long -- i'll listen to NPR in the morning and on my way home from work some days if i can take it, and otherwise i'm protecting my mental health by knowing what i need to know to help out, and blocking all the extra noise. i used to consume news as a way to fill gaps in time, but it wasn't purposeful knowledge-seeking, and it often didn't help anything. i can let those gaps just be space and i bet it will be more productive. i've enlisted my friends to keep me informed about movements and groups i need to know about, and otherwise i'll find out about them by being out in the community. i'll replace that wasted time with volunteering to protect those most vulnerable, and writing meaningful words. instead of watching netflix tonight, i'll listen to the podcast my friend jenna recommended on the judicial system. instead of scrolling through tweets, i'll meditate. when i post silly jokes, it'll be because i believe in the power of humor to heal, and not as a way to get likes.
- not wasting any more money on superficial things. first i need to feel more financially secure -- i don't know what a trump economy looks like. second my money can go toward the same things i invest my time in. today i'm returning $130 worth of new clothes i just bought for work and canceling a $40 salon appointment. i even canceled my $2.50/paycheck contribution to the political action committee that supports the industry i work in, because i haven't been paying enough attention to how that money's used, and found out it goes to fund the campaigns of politicians i do not agree with. this morning, in the shower, i even became the person who waters down their bodywash instead of buying a new bottle. AND I LOVE BUYING NEW BODYWASH.
- not wasting any more time messing with my skin. unrelated, but i spend too much of my life on this, and have wanted to quit for almost 20 years now. throw it in the bag with the rest of them!
- cultivating my relationships. i do a lot of this already, but i wonder how much more connected we could be with fewer distractions and a common purpose beneath us. already i'm finding such comfort and inspiration from the conversations i'm having with my sister and friends. i won't let those fires burn out.
- empowering myself. i started a self-defense class monday and nothing's ever felt more timely. i also signed up for a car care class so i can finally learn how to change my oil and fix a flat. i'm reading all sorts of books you'd find in the self-help section, but not the ones that say you need to change anything about yourself -- the ones that say "be yourself, in a real big way." i momentarily considered cutting my gym and bouldering memberships as a way to save money, but realized how important it is for me to feel strong and capable and physically fit.
hey thanks for reading. writing stuff out solidifies it for me, and honestly i'll miss interacting with people on social media -- maybe this will be a space to do that in its absence. and i know everyone's in different places right now, and i'm going through phases myself, but i'm committed to being the friend who believes in progress and light. you can always find that here.