I haven’t slept well these past weeks. I toss and turn in the dark hours, waking with alarming images floating through my head: pervy old white men laughing, swastikas painted on playground equipment, fascism in neon lights on tall buildings. Every damn morning I rise up like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, wondering what the hell is going on and how can I possibly escape. I stopped laughing. I stopped dancing around the kitchen to Abba. A deep fog has settled around me and I move like a shadow through my life, as if an enemy is stalking me.
I’m only exaggerating slightly today. I’m having a hard time with the path our country seems to be strolling down, wrapped in white sheets with a gun over it’s shoulder.
My sister came to my rescue last week, in a series of texts pointing out that I need to take the advice that I once gave her. She put my advice into practice, where as I spouted it and quickly forgot it, as is my way. My advice? Don’t waste your time worrying about the things you can’t control.
Now, when she catches herself worrying, she asks herself “can I control this?” If the answer is no, she moves on.
If we can stay in the moment, focus on the things that matter right now and let go (just a little) of the things we can’t control, we can survive with a little more peace. Don’t misunderstand this statement to mean that I will accept all that is dished out, or that I will remain quiet. I will not, for the record, accept or support the president elect, nor will I “just get over it.”
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. –Elie Wiesel
So, I’ll take sides. I’ll also focus on the important things in my life: my little women, my family, my people.
For me, every hour is grace. And I feel gratitude in my heart each time I can meet someone and look at his or her smile. Elie Wiesel
Now for my list. In this moment, I’m thankful for the following:
- My sister, for obvious reasons. She calmed me down and helped me move in a more positive direction. She vents, I vent, then we laugh. It’s our way. I would be lost without her.
- Sarcasm and the freedom to use it in any manner I see fit. This is a necessary part of my life.
- The freedom to write what I want, without the worry of being locked up (yet).
- The right to worship whomever I feel like worshiping. Or not at all.
- This time with my kids. I’m holding them tighter, trying not to worry about their future, and focusing on filling their lives with learning, joy and freedom.
- Hope – that little bit that floats by every now and then. Grab on to it, focus on it, make it grow.
- I’m thankful for Yoko. Seriously. I finally understand her performance art. I know, you’re going to fight me on this one, but she has taught me how to deal with my rage when I see the cheeto supremo pedaling some kind of crap on twitter, or when someone I love can’t fathom why a white nationalist anywhere near the White House is a problem, or when a friend quotes Breitbart as if it’s a legit news source. I damn near lose my mind over these things, and I need a way to channel that anger out of my body without causing any harm. Instead of screaming wtf is wrong with you? right up in their face, I practice what we’ve come to refer to at our house as Yoko Therapy.
Just give it a try. I highly recommend it. Watch:
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope the wine flowed and the insults were few. And if you felt a little weird celebrating this year, you were not the only one.
P.S. I’ve quoted Elie Wiesel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, throughout this post. If you’re not familiar with his life and work, please take the time to learn about him and the Foundation for Humanity.