Skip to main content

Sundays in the New Reality

The world has changed. The world is always changing. Those sentences are both true.
In the current new reality, with a new leader in office for a mere nine days, the change feels exponential. A few hours off social media leaves me anxious that I've missed witnessing another atrocity. A few minutes on it leaves me itching with anxiety. 

A Facebook colleague I admire posted: "Say what you will about Trump but the guy built a new generation of activists in a week." The countless, heartening photos of children alongside parents in protests this week aren't the only generation being activated by activism; the rather silent majority of introverts is also being called to action, me included. 

I marched on DC in protest of the war in 2001 and 2002, but my activism took more of an armchair, donation-style to it in the last decade. The present reality has shaken the stupor. 

But this new reality is not going away any time soon (enter "marathon not a sprint" metaphor here), so I find myself trying to quickly learn how to stay engaged while also refueling, stay curious while also remaining vigilant, being fierce while also being invitational, being an advocate while also being intentional about my involvement, and just plain being human because none of these categories are contradictory to each other. Every hour seems to hold the possibility of going numb or going crazy. And I want neither. To create real difference requires participation, but that participation takes many forms, and as anyone who finds themselves easily overwhelmed even by the fun things in life, it requires a healthy approach if it's going to last. 

So, my current tools to balance protest and online engagement for maximum sustainability are meditation (I'm currently knee-deep in the "anxiety" pack of Headspace, and it's helping), connecting with friends (and sharing not just shared woes and fears, but also all the other things in our lives), aiming for good sleep and nutrition, and also trying to stay really present to the things I love, not just the things I'm afraid of. I suspect the tools will need addition over time. A niggling fear buzzing is that these are forms of denial, and in all truth there is a strong pull to go oblivious. But at the risk of not getting everything correct, but still making incremental progress, I claim them as necessities. 

This new reality still allows for beautiful Sunday mornings, but the beauty looks different than it has before. The experience is different. It is evolving, just as I am trying to.

How are you caring for yourself while also caring deeply about what's going on?


Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.

Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

Writing is a Confidence Game

Some people just naturally walk around the world feeling like they are hot shit. I'd wager most weren't writers. Oh sure, there are some exceptions: some cock-sure arrogant types who truly believe every word from their pen is golden. They've either been praised too much in their youth or never been workshopped before.

In general though, writers are a needy unconfident bunch. An unexpected side effect of going part-time and tripling my writing efforts is to get way more in touch with this part of myself.

My job has its own cycle of feedback and reward, and mine is not generous in either but I generally know how I'm regarded, and I'm quite confident in about 60% of what I do. The other 40% are either things I'm getting better at, or things I don't care if I ever get better at.

It took me a solid one and a half to two years at this job to feel confident. That's a really long ramp-up time, but universally true for my role in my organization. It's compli…

Book Review: Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout

I inadvertently found myself in possession of an advance reader's edition of Elizabeth Strout's newest book, Anything is Possible. It's set to drop on April 25th.

Scrabble's response to the title: Does this mean I can eat ten times a day?
It's a companion, a follow-up if you will (but not a sequel) to her last novel, My Name is Lucy Barton. Which was fantastic and spare and a perfect example of Strout's phenomenal carefulness in her writing. I loved it for all those reasons. I love Anything is Possible for completely different reasons.

It's a collection of linked stories, not unlike Strout's Olive Kitteredge. Each of the stories showcases a particular character referenced in My Name is Lucy Barton. In My Name, conversations with her mother over the span of a few days reference a host of do-you-remembers, and whatever-happened-tos involving offscreen characters that are delightfully interesting in their own right. Anything is Possible is full of these ri…