So how do you keep going when it’s the war years? I’m tired of the only answers that question being connected to organizing, so I decided to write up something that centers ‘taking care of yourself’ that doesn’t dare to presume what you’ll be doing once you’ve taken care of yourself.
- One of the worst things that happened post-election was that there was just no escaping 45. No matter where I was at or what I was doing, the conversation inevitably flipped to 45, and either fighting or angry bitch sessions started. Don’t even get me started on social media. It’s hard to escape 45 for a few minutes and get yourself centered again when he’s tweeting ever 32 minutes. So what I’ve done is block his name on every social media site that I can. Trust, I still find out about what he’s doing anyway, but not having to deal with it every single time I breath has been helpful. What I do to ‘catch up’ is check the website, What the Fuck Just Happened, Today. There are daily wrap ups of what happened that day and even helpful links as to contextualize what the fuck just happened. I feel more in control of my space (no more 45 invasion!) and I only have to be officially pissed off once a day.
- I’ve been going on walks. Lots of them. This clears my head and helps me to remember the universe is bigger than the mess we’re facing right now. And because we’re the universe, we are bigger than the mess too. It doesn’t help me to understand or figure out what the hell we’re going to do–but it calms me down. There are other people who don’t know what the hell we’re going to do either. I’m not alone. None of us are.
- I have bitch sessions. I’ve learned that I can’t spend all my time doing this because then I just get mad and upset because it all feels circular and it reminds me that none of us know what the hell we’re going to do. But having a good clean bitch session with a friend that knows the right point to end it and knows the laughter is as much a part of a bitch session as being angry is–it’s pure relief.
- I’ve meditated. A lot. Of course the fear of ‘omg what the hell are we going to do?’ is partially a fear because we’re trying to control the future, which is impossible. Even spending five minutes doing conscious breathing helps to bring you out of that impossible future space and into the present. Where we have enough to be getting on with. No use being anxious about the future when we need all of our strength for the now. Breath. Feel your lungs expand. Pay attention to your eyes as they open and close. End with a prayer. It helps. It really does.
- I collect beautiful words. As a lover of words that can slip into you and stay there for a while, nourishing you right when you need it most–the ugliness, the ignorance steeped in ugliness, has been hard to bear. So the beautiful words I do find, I’ve been collecting, writing on paper, then posting the paper on my walls. Some of my current favorites:
- “I felt like a blackberry in a pail of milk.” ~Harriet Tubman
- “Every time I comb my hair
Thoughts of you get in my eyes” ~Prince
- “Day and night, she threw herself against the rock. The scales that were scraped from her body flew up into the air and danced in the wind like blood-stained cherry petals.” ~Yoko Tawada, Where Europe Begins
- “There are things about you that you’ll want to change
But these are all the little pieces of you that I love.” ~Ben Hartley, Little Pieces Of You
- I read books about herbs. I am an herbalist. I don’t talk about it a lot online, as herbs are a very hands on thing–you experience herbs in your body and senses and because I still am a young herbalist, it’s really hard for me translate this into blog posts so far. But even if I don’t quite have the skill to do so yet, many others do–Matthew Wood is one of the best for a general practical overview of a plant. Rebecca Altman at King’s Road Apothocary has a lovely newsletter that she puts out every week that are helpful/practical but also beautiful and lovely to sit down with a cup of tea and read.
- I listen to this song on rotation. :p
There are other things, but for now, the above has been what I’ve been relying on. If you feel like sharing what you do to survive, I’d love to hear from you in comments!