"In the midst of winter I found in me an Invincible Summer." - Camus ...On exploring strength in its many forms:
strong people, strong writing, strong curiosity, obsessions, stances, and loves.
Strength as a concept wide enough to encompass fear, truth, vulnerability, and joy.
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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?
I've been avoiding putting this together, because a part of me really doesn't want this year's Litquake festival to be over already. The other part of me is still cranky-tired, wandering around trying to get to all those projects I said I'd get to after Litquake, and feeling post-Christmas like.
In short, this year's Litquake was AMAZING. Every year has been awesome, but this one was particularly special for me because I got to actually help plan the awesome. As a volunteer during the festival for the past several years, I definitely felt like I contributed to making each event I helped at awesome, but this year, being on the committee,* I got to witness the tremendous build up to the festival that happens the whole year prior. The amount of love, sweat and time that goes into it is incredible, and I'm not sure I've ever been part of something so cool. Which is not to say I'm not still cranky-tired and looking forward to feeling fully recovered.
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
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…
Having a baby is not unlike accidentally slipping into a science fiction universe, everything you know is so completely upended. I wrote an essay about how my sense of time shifted out from under me in the first months of my daughter's life.
Excerpts in italics are from
the essay The Beginning Of Time, by Stephen W. Hawking
1. The time scale of the universe is very long compared to that for
human life. It was therefore not surprising that until recently, the universe
was thought to be essentially static and unchanging in time.
The Longest Shortest Time is
the name of a podcast on parenting that I heard about several years before
becoming a parent and filed away mentally. “The days are long but the years are
short” is another phrase used to both comfort and cajole new parents. The
implication is that parenting shifts your experience of time, as if life simply
advancing in years wasn’t enough to do the same. One hour of an infant
screaming inconsolably after her two month immunizatio…