I stopped watching the news the morning of Tuesday November 8th. Overnight I woke a few times and soothed myself back to sleep with the thought of flipping open my laptop the next morning to see "MADAME PRESIDENT" as the headline. Morning instead found me, of course, crying on the floor.
Every day it's getting worse--the rise in hate crimes, the swastikas, the White Supremacist appointees. Every day I said I'm going to fake it until I make it. Media remained on a brown-out. I cried every day. And every day got a little bit better (not in the news, that is apparently going to be on a four-year downward spiral) but in my handling it. Two weeks later I am not crying every single day and the faking it is slowly turning into making it.
1. Faking it: showing up for work, for my family, even for fun outings that I had previously planned but then had no spirit for. I made myself go. I still had a bad underlying feeling in the pit of my stomach but it was better than sitting around at home having that feeling.
2. Faking it: Continuing to be a part of communities that are important to me. The timing of my show with The Moth in Kansas City felt a little rough, but being a part of telling true stories, of sharing human emotions and commonality from diverse lives (other storytellers at the show included a young gay man who found himself while following the Spice Girls on tour, a local celeb-chef, a Sudanese refugee and a 95-year-old World War II veteran) was a good reminder in these polarized times of how much we have in common.
3. Faking it: Going to a lecture on the History of Underwear with a room full of much older ladies. Apparently sitting in a room of older women giggling about underpants serves as some sort of salve.
4. Making it: Planning, organizing, reaching out, delegating. The myriad projects I'm involved with in one shape or another: various donation drives, the Martin Luther King Day of Community Service, the Meta Theatre Company, the One Billion Rising flash mob event . . . being involved keeps me busy, my brain occupied and helps turn my feelings of helplessness around. I'm a warrior. I've got this.
5. Making it: Keeping a sharpie in my purse to deface hate graffiti. Wearing my safety pin when I remember (and I do know there is some backlash against that. But if there's a young person who needs to see a grown up and know that she's safe, I want to be there with one on) and always, always letting my actions speak louder than my safety pin anyhow and teaching my children to do the same.
6. Bonus! Another "making it" to keep things even: Talking to other parents, teachers, the counselor and even the Superintendent at my kids' schools to see what is happening in our community now and discussing action plans before we have any major incidents. Crying sometimes while having these discussions but having them anyway.