Is blogger’s block a thing? If it is, then I have been suffering from it for a couple of weeks. So much is happening, at lightning speed, my mind is struggling to sort out facts and deal with the emotions. I suspect many are experiencing a similar phenomenon lately and hope I am not alone in this camp.
Many have been reaching out and asking me to share my thoughts and plans for fighting the battle against hate, inequality, and fear. Those who have asked have not been given a definitive answer, because I have yet to come up with one.
The lack of an answer is not rooted in apathy or confusion but in my tendency to analyze and apply logic. Lately, logic is at a premium and analyzing the illogical is like a dog chasing its tail. Basically, someone threw a giant glass of water on the circuit board in my brain. Sparks. Smoke. Not good.
Finding a balance between staying informed and becoming bogged down with information is challenging. Creating a personal strategy which will contribute to the greater good seems like a no brainer for many. Rise up. Fight. Win.
Is this the only approach? What other options are there? Being an activist requires great passion, energy, and an unwavering belief in whichever cause is being championed. Most are passionate about something, but how we choose to express it can differ.
The definition of the word activist is one who is active and actively doing something for a cause. Got it. Does activism require being loud, vocal, or even leaving the house? As silly as this sounds, this has been something I have been thoughtfully considering as I decide what my contribution to the resistance should be.
As an introvert, I have never been one to get up in anyone’s grill or engage in group activities like protests. My efforts are more low key, but still important.
At this moment, the extent of my contribution has been to join the ACLU. As someone who has operated under the things will work themselves out philosophy for most of my life, I feel like I am rolling down an unfamiliar street in a new subdivision.
I am hesitant to admit that my usual confidence has been shaken and I am concerned on many fronts not only for myself, but for all those who are not a part of the traditional, Caucasian, and non-Christian parts of our society.
Just six years ago my life was completely different. Discovering I was a lesbian and coming out later in life was a complicated process. I felt the sting of going from a comfortable traditionally accepted life to a life that was anything but traditional in the eyes of the world.
Since coming out, I am acutely aware our family is more vulnerable to issues which were never present when I was married to a man. Our ability to make a living, have access to health care, or live without fear of violence is front and center.
The challenges to being a member of the LGBTQ community are many, but fortunately much progress has been made in the fight for equality and protections under the law. The success and progress was possible because our government was under a more friendly administration.
My kids, ages 19, 17 and 14, are baffled by what they see happening around them in the world and are quite pissed off about it. Each of them express anger and disgust in their own unique way. My oldest perfected the gagging sound when he sees or hears anything which offends his sensibilities. My other two prefer colorful language as their coping mechanism.
As a mother, I made it my mission to raise my sons with the belief that regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, or ethnicity, everyone is equal. Apparently it took.
I am proud they belong to the most inclusive and accepting generation yet and have confidence that they will be the catalyst to long term change. They are the future and the future looks bright. The presence of widespread division, conflict, and moments of darkness will pass.
Until then, our mental, physical, and emotional survival relies on figuring out how to maintain course and not run out of fuel on the long ride. Controlling the situation is not always an option. Clearly. Damn. Feeling out of control triggers fear and the response is often to overcorrect. Jump in and just let loose the fury.
Yesterday was a bad day for me. My emotional gas tank was empty, which was a harsh reminder that control is a rare commodity. I watched C-span and listened as the Senators shared the negative feedback received from their constituents regarding approving the nomination. After which, they voted in favor anyway.
My takeaway was the people’s voice does not matter, which happens to be one of my own personal triggers. What is the point of all of our protests, phone calls, and petitions if nothing is taken to heart by elected official who decide they know better? It is hard to shake feeling discouraged or hopeless after watching that.
How do we move past this? Making gagging noises or cursing like sailors only goes so far.
Get on the radio and ask for a tow. My tow yesterday came in the form of my wife allowing only cooking shows to be watched for the rest of the day and showing me silly videos of dogs. I got lost in my own head and let fear win.
Determining the outcome of situations on a large scale may not always be possible but choosing to focus on what we can control helps ease the fear or disappointment. This week make a list of things that you can control even if it is as insignificant as choosing which pair of socks to wear.
Spend time thinking about what you can contribute to bettering the world. There are no rules for this except kindness. Guard your own peace as you present your message. Tone matters. If you detest hate, do not be hateful. Fighting against discrimination is not a sprint.
Resist the temptation to let information overload hijack your emotions and create unnecessary stress. Duly noted after yesterday. Yes, without question, these are stressful times, but we can combat the impact of the stress by choosing to limit our exposure to negativity. Unplug. Breathe. Move. Repeat.
If all else fails, just choose love. Anything, anyone, anywhere. Just love.