I’m a pretty lucky resister.
I don’t have a Trump-voting family who barrages me with empty rhetoric. I don’t work with a boss who brings in donuts when the President signs an executive order stomping on our rights while shifting the most dangerous people around him into power roles. My family of mixed party affiliation votes mainly on fact. The churches in my neighborhood have had Black Lives Matter signs hanging for well over a year and the homes around me emptied out on the day of the Women’s March and again for the Anti-Ban march this past weekend.
So, when people raise concerns about my activism, they are generally one of two groups. Those closest to me remind me to practice self-care. When I assure them that I am, they believe me (or don’t) but respect my stance. Others–friends, neighbors, family members, people I love and I know love me, express the same concerns. But when I make assurances they continue, “Really? You don’t seem okay!”
They may mention to my mother or husband how much they appreciate my thoughts, are in total agreement and am so glad I speak up but have noticed I seem pretty angry. This seems unnatural and unhealthy to them.
Well, here’s my response. I am angry. I’m disgusted by us. I think about our political and cultural state a lot. They probably do too—I wouldn’t assume they don’t.
But, I also stayed up late watching Netflix last night then woke up with my kids, made breakfast and built rocket ships with them. We played jokes on each other, went out on our scooters to the playground, then drove out of state for a family birthday and had a great visit with their grandmother.
I haven’t stopped eating or starting drinking heavily (although I will admit to more snacking and maybe a few extra hard ciders). I work, shower regularly, do laundry, buy groceries and all the usual stuff so you couldn’t classify my feelings as debilitating, although I have no doubt they are for some.
But still, the outrage is there. I wonder if people have an idea of me that doesn’t support anger. I strive to be levelheaded and positive. I appreciate that people don’t want to see me distressed but is it really their concern for me that is bothering them? I am well-equipped to deal with a range of emotions and have fought through many battles in life. These experiences and skills are in fact how I manage to be a reasonable person.
I wonder if maybe my posts simply make others uncomfortable because it’s all just too much for them. I know they share the majority of my views but this onslaught is hard to digest. The reality is this upheaval is a great disturbance to our daily lives and its difficult to cope with the despair, shame, confusion and outrage that come with it. This isn’t a comfortable place to dwell.
I understand this. There are dozens or more articles out there advocating self-care and techniques to avoid outrage fatigue and I am totally onboard. Audre Lorde, one of my favorite feminist leaders, said “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
This my official endorsement of laughter, joy, music, dance and anything of personal importance to you.
With that said, if you find yourself uncomfortable by my three posts today, just remember there were opportunities for 50. If you feel like you are at the batting cages and the machine has gone haywire via your most political friends’ social media accounts, well, it has but it isn’t us that’s broken. We really are being pelted with substantial threats at an alarming rate.
As I hit post or tweet, call my Senator or book a sitter to march, I often think to myself “That’s it for today!” Then I get a notification about another legislation being brought forward and it’s not making the news because ten other horrible things happened that day.
Yes, I’m angry. It’s valid.
I realize that people are going to die because of a rule written to deceive voters of both parties. I consider friends who could not confidently leave our country to see their parents abroad because they may not be allowed back to their jobs, home or children. I learn about an appointment and a dismissal that slipped by while we slept or were all focused on the most shocking issue of the day. Often times those quiet moves are the worst.
It’s hard to keep track of all of this so I share. I share so friends who don’t have time to scour stay informed. I share for those who don’t have the mental or emotional energy to scour. I share because I am overwhelmed at the speed of the swings, and I don’t want any of us to get hit with an uppercut when we are defending the jab.
“Hands up!” my boxing coach used to say. “Get your hands up and keep your eyes open or you’ll get knocked out!”
It’s true that I’ve never been this extreme because I have never lived in a world that felt like this before.
I have lived in a world where I felt safe and forgot that vigilance is the price we pay for democracy. It landed us here–with this Congress and administration.
I know my loved ones also see that things are not right. Some don’t speak out as much as me for whatever reasons that they don’t. I’m not judging them. I still enjoy hearing about their kids and the dancing man on the Orange Line this morning and their Wednesday Wisecracks still make me laugh.
I understand that they make donations and calls but maybe can’t listen all the time. I appreciate their role. I’m not offended.
I won’t apologize for my posts and I won’t silence my thoughts. I can’t do that and I don’t want to do that. I have seen on small levels and grand levels how those in power rely on complacency. Rely on exhaustion. On manners. On quiet.
Let’s make a deal that after you check on my well-being and I check on yours (what a beautiful gift that we all have each other) we skip the unsolicited suggestions on how to charter this terrain. We’ve never been here and are all figuring it out.
For my part, I choose to resist.