This morning, I stared at my Facebook status bar for a full five minutes, trying to come up with something non-political to share. I have noticed so many of my progressive friends post about nothing but the Daily Outrage, the one line we thought the new president would never cross, but has. What happened to the pictures of their kids? To the silly images, the inspirational quote?
We’re at Defcon 5. No time for cat videos anymore.
I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want the national horror to derail my beautiful life. I have it good, still, kids healthy, man who loves me, job, home. I started a post. I had found myself unable to draw a full breath that morning, and when I Googled it, WebMD convinced me I was having a heart attack at worst, and atrial tachycardia at best. I started to write, trying to make a joke out of it. It felt sad, not at all funny. I deleted it without posting it. It’s not funny to be so anxious you think your heart is going to stop working.
I have been wondering how one gets through four years of this. Tonight, on CNN, they interviewed a man who owns a business, has been in the country nearly 20 years, and has 3 American-born children, but was swept up in a raid and is about to be deported. There came the shortness of breath again, like they were about to knock on my door. Cop cars look more sinister. The other night, the kids wanted to watch an episode of Cops (which apparently they watch with their father), and I was ranting so much about Fourth Amendment rights violations that the kids just went upstairs to watch on their own.
I don’t want to be this scared. I don’t like the person it turns me into. And I certainly can’t do this for four years.
For two days there, it seemed that the Daily Outrage would slow down. It has to, right? This is not sustainable for four years. And then the big hullabaloo with Jeff Sessions, and he recused himself, and the reminder that our election may have been sullied by interfering foreign hands, and that we’re going through all of this as a result of a foreign power trying to destabilize us.
If current events were a friend, they’d be the one with the boyfriend who is always getting arrested and whose clothes she throws out the second story window while she screams at him about his hussies and what a deadbeat he is. A train wreck. That’s what it feels like these days.
What can we do to get back to a place of civility and normalcy? I think the first step is to step away from the news a bit. Easier said than done if you’re like me and you don’t want unfolding events to blindside you, but probably a healthy thing to do. Try to focus on the changes you can make – volunteer locally, call your representatives, be kind to the people in your life. Get outside, and remember that nature is so much more eternal and unchanging than anything we can dream up. Cuddle a cat. Hug a tree. Coax a plant to bloom. After I first heard the Sessions firestorm this morning, I sat on my steps in the windy air and watched my budding rosebush, delighting in its many burgeoning leaves. Maybe that’s how we cope with this frightening and unwelcome change, one simple moment at a time.
Will we be fine, in the end? We will be? Is it scary now? You bet it is. But it is only in testing our resilience that it grows.
Be well, my friends. This, too, shall pass.