One week ago today America’s ugly truth was la
id bare. But don’t fret.
This article isn’t about how terrifying the election of a known demagogue to the highest office in the Western Hemisphere is.
It’s not about how aware many black, indigenous, Latino, immigrant, femme and femme presenting, LGBTQ, poor and Muslim people have always been about the discrimination and violence that plagues marginalized communities and the intersections that increase that violence ten fold.
It’s not chock full of hope in the form of safety pin solidarity and supposed ‘backtracking’ on the part of our newly minted President elect.
And it certainly won’t tell you how to feel.
If you’re already in organizing mode it’s ok.
If you’re still grieving it’s ok.
If you’ve been shocked awake I’m going to try my damndest not to be mean but please understand your horror is just a reminder that you haven’t been listening to us this whole time as we begged and pleaded with you to meet us in the streets in defense of our collective humanity and the sanctity of black lives.
But this isn’t about that either.
Like millions of people I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for the latest news out of Washington and simultaneously praying for a miracle while preparing for the worst mentally, socially and yes- physically.
Here are some of the things that have helped keep me sane as we complete our first full week living in Trump’s America.
He may be the President, but we’ve always had the numbers and the power in our own lives and at the structural level. We simply have to commit to seeing injustice undone and discontinued at all costs by standing with those most endangered beyond a hashtag or an election cycle and challenging those who refuse to do so.
In the meantime and in between time here’s how I’ve been getting by.
There is nothing like a hot cup of creamy deliciousness in the morning. Or the evening. Or roundabout noon. I just love coffee guys. I stopped drinking it for a while but I put it back in my repertoire a couple weeks back and I must say life is definitely better when it’s vanilla or salted caramel flavored and drizzled with whipped cream. If you’re not a coffee drinker I completely support the tea lovers out there. There’s just something soothing about a hot beverage.
The day after the election results were announced I sat in front of the television in my very comfy wine colored robe and the fuzziest of slippers hoping to snap out of my funk. It definitely helped. It just so happens that I prioritize watching television shows that celebrate different cultures and experiences.
By simply tuning into Jane The Virgin and Insecure I inadvertently reminded myself that although FAR more Americans suck severely than a lot of people would like to admit, there are many who rock and they are working to bring us art that celebrates humanity in all its splendor. (Women of Color! Woot woot!)
Chopped. Is. My. Jam. I love watching cooking shows with my 8 year old son and we are always trying new recipes and making up our own creations- usually to our pleasant surprise.
Throwing down in the kitchen can be hard work but it’s also very therapeutic and the results always bring us even more joy in the form of good eats!
7. Arts & Crafts
While my children were at their grandparents house this weekend I custom made them some wish lists to fill out for the upcoming holidays. My fiancé and I always mean to do it and somehow the holidays creep up on us every year. Except this one!
Paint. Pipe cleaners. Crayons. Christmas and Kwanzaa details. I went all out. Why? Because art is love. If you have a knack for Crafts, and even if you don’t- consider making something to pass the time and ease your mind.
When I wasn’t being a dork and making Christmas crafts for my children, I was enjoying their presence and that of other relatives and extended family. My dad came to get the kids Friday so I could hang out with my fiancé since I have a birthday coming up.
We went out Saturday night to see a movie (Doctor Strange was awesome) and grab some dinner and dessert (Rabbithole + Martha’s Country Bakery = everything.) Then Sunday I had the pleasure of attending a Harry Potter book club meeting hosted by my God mother with my munchkins. I got to see my nieces and nephews and my sister. I got to revel in the joy of books and childhood and imagination. We watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone and had a Hogwarts ‘feast.’ It was the best. Ever.
And I encourage you to create the same kind of moments with those close to you. You need them now more than ever not only to calm your spirit, but to remind you what’s at stake and what we’re fighting for.
5. Talking about it
Most people think talking about politics is the worst possible thing you could do, even and especially after the most traumatic election in history has just taken place. But I think the truth is only scary for those who haven’t accepted it or don’t want to effect positive change.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself in times of trouble is find a space to let it all out where you don’t have to apologize for experiencing human emotions.
On the other hand it’s true what they say. The company you keep effects you, and if you’re on social media all day long being anxious with other anxious people, you’ll all end up even MORE anxious.
We must allow ourselves the space and time to feel and process so called ‘negative’ emotions without getting stuck in them. If you notice you’ve been online for several hours ONLY posting about a topic that causes you stress perhaps it’s time to get some air, make a snack or make a phone call to someone you know can cheer you up. Those who feel how you feel will be waiting for you when you get back, and perhaps you’ll have an encouraging word to offer after giving yourself a break from the discouraging news.
3. Rest & Relaxation
Sleep is life. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am famous for my insomnia but motherhood has taught me the value of rest and relaxation. Emotional stress in the past year has confirmed that lesson. Many people might say you can’t sleep your problems away but sometimes a nap or a day of laying about can give you the mental and emotional break you need to carry on. Even if you can’t fall asleep, consider doing something that relaxes you like yoga, taking a long bath or turning off your phone and curling up with a book.
Long gone are the days when I equated fashion, make up and physical maintenance with superficiality. It’s a scientific fact that looking good makes us feel good. So whatever that looks like for you- whether it’s a fresh face, a full beat or something in between, head wraps or hoodies, sweats or stilettos- be sure to bask in your element and take special care to look your best. It’s a simple and very effective mood booster.
You probably think I’m referring to community organizing but nope. I’m referring to good ole fashion tidying, planning and goal setting.
What does a good day look like for you?
How are you working toward your goals?
Are you practicing living your best life?
And how can you create actionable, tangible goals that will help you as well as others as we strive to be better and think bigger?
Organize your living space as well as your thoughts and watch your world transform.
This is not a demand or even a plea for you to feel any other way than you are feeling right now. But if you don’t like how you’re feeling I hope I’ve provided a couple helpful hints that will put you in better spirits.
Righteous rage and even angst can change the world, but only when those who possess them also activate their knowledge of self and know when it’s best to rest, reflect, plan and act.
Here’s to self care and solidarity beyond safety pins.