Here we are.
I’ve sat down a few times in the past month to write and I truly didn’t have much coherent to say. I pondered writing an entire post on self-care in uncertain times then realized I had zero clue how to care for myself right now. My concept of self-care involves wine, listening to the Chainsmokers and watching reruns of Law & Order SVU. (btw – shouts to self-care. It’s uber important and in the past two weeks I’ve bought all the candles and sheet masks from Urban Outfitters and ALL the wine from Trader Joe’s but there are plenty of think pieces that may be more helpful than me on that topic.) Further, is it necessary for me to devolve into a sentient (older) millennial liberal cliché during a difficult political time? Not really. There is plenty of that content on social media. Just check my posts from the days following the election which prompted a worried phone call from my mother (and a gentle reminder that she had lived through Nixon). I could lament that the sky is falling, provide analysis for the outcome of the election or espouse my personal feelings as a marginalize person in the wake of the election results. If I wasn’t going to write about any of those topics, what would I write about? Ways to survive the reign of Notorious DJT? Since my brain is still processing the election of the former host (and current executive producer) of Celebrity Apprentice as leader of the free world, I have no clue how to survive. My thoughts would be pure speculation. For the past month, I’ve opened my eyes each morning and felt peaceful until the jolt of uncertainty came crashing into my consciousness: “Oh crap. We’re going to have a crappy reality TV star with a bad weave as president.” Don’t fight me on this. Celebrity Apprentice is not a good show and his hair? *side eye*
Perhaps my energy would be better spent figuring out the answer that has been on my mind since I checked my Twitter account at 1:37 am on November 9, 2016: “Oh my god. Well…what do I do now?” Later that morning, after a restless night, I texted a friend to inquire as to whether the collective “we” would be okay. I was only greeted with an ominous and frightening response: “I actually don’t know.” Another friend remarked, “We won’t be alright but we’ll be okay.” A Black colleague sought to comfort me by listing the number of challenges that Black people have faced whilst a part of the American experiment. Middle passage. The Civil Rights Act. Jim Crow. Mass incarceration. I appreciated the sentiment; however, I wasn’t aiming to fill out my “adventures in human suffering” bingo card in this life time. But, alas, here we are. Practically speaking, I’ve been turning to every source imaginable for guidance because, regardless of how you voted, we all have to agree that our country is in uncharted territory. So I’ve been brainstorming about what I should do now and, while I’m still processing, I have a few suggestions.
Keep Your Tribe Close – Stay tight, reconnect and keep in touch with the people who bring positive energy to your life. I’m a California hippie and am a firm believer in good vibes. (Oh. That was cringeworthy to type. Sorry.) Make a mental list of those people who enrich your life and feel good to be around. Be sure to keep them on speed dial. Dinners, drinks and coffees with those members of your tribe are invaluable in times of instability. I’ll admit it, I’ve been extra needy this past month. I’ve needed drinks, BYOB dinners in Lakeview (my favorite restaurant is there but I won’t tell you which one because I don’t want you making reservations there), trips to Dave and Busters and movie marathons with friends.
Find Your Niche – What gives you life? (As the kids say…) What motivates you? What do you care about? Single out those things, activities, and issues and keep your focus there. In the days after the election, I got overwhelmed with how many civil rights and social issues may be threatened under the new administration. How exactly was I going to prevent climate change, while restructuring our justice system to stop institutional racism, ensure equal pay for women, preserve a woman’s right to choose, continue pushing for equal rights for the LGBT community and stop voter suppression. I have a full time job and a life. Becoming a full time civil rights, environmental rights and equal rights champion sounded daunting. Plus, I like wine, mindless pop culture, flower crowns (don’t @ me) and art museums. How would I balance all of these issues? When I was in college my main goal in life was to have a nice boy take me to Grand Lux Café (as an aside, I have yet to have a date take me to Grand Lux. It’s now made its way to the bucket list). But suddenly it seemed like my main goal became: “save the republic”. That’s too much for any one person to handle. I took a deep breath and remembered which issues were most important to me. I remembered there were issues I had spent years giving money and time towards. Now was the time to rededicate and double my efforts towards those particular issues.
Read Everything – If you’re on Twitter, follow a few people who think different than you. Once in a while, read a couple articles from a publication you’d usually ignore. Expand your so-called bubble in purposeful and effective ways. A few days after the election, a friend suggested that we all move to Wisconsin or get deeply embedded in coal country to learn more about Trump voters. First, I’m not trying to take another bar exam. Second, I live in Chicago because I want to live here. Third, I know plenty of people who voted for Trump who do not live in the rust belt. So this thesis that all Trump voters are rust belt white working class people is factually inaccurate. (Though it’s very accurate that 80,000 people from the rust belt determined the election. Thanks guys. Hope you kept your voting sticker. Meanwhile, I’ll go find my birth certificate and prep for the forthcoming purge.) Fourth, if you want to know more about people who are different than you there are plenty of resources on the internet for that. Fifth, there are only three Whole Foods in all of Wisconsin. I’m gonna get up on my liberal elite high horse and tell you that three Whole Foods is not gonna cut it for me. What if one is out of my favorite type of Kombucha? What am I supposed to do then? And don’t say: “Make your own”.
Be Happy – It’s a choice. No one is naturally happy. Well…maybe some people are. But, frankly, I don’t trust people who are overly happy all the time. I assume they’re hiding a secret or dead bodies. So check-in with yourself. Make the conscious decision to be positive, stay happy and try optimism. I get it. This is advice I need to focus on. My default setting is pessimism and anxiety so I’m truly truly working on this one.
That’s all I got for now. This past month I’ve been a bundle of tears, wine, working out and that MTV show Awkward. Have you guys seen that? It was cancelled but it was super cute. Anyway, it’s a process. Since I spoke ill of the President-Elect and I firmly believe Big Brother (also known as NSA) is always watching us, there’s a good chance this is my last post. If I don’t see you again, please know that: (1) I always loved you; (2) Whitney was the best part of “the Hills” (if you don’t know what the Hills are, get off my blog dude); (3) Pinot Grigio is trash; (4) my parents are the coolest; and (5) I listened to the Chainsmokers more than I should have. Oh and (6) Lil Wayne’s old stuff is better than his new stuff (Don’t @ me).