Self-care as a strategy of resistance
As predicted, fake president Donald Trump turned to that tried and true method of all failing autocrats: blow up some stuff.
While from my reading I'm firmly convinced it will do nothing to change the trajectory of his presidency—especially since it was a one-off strike which conveniently avoided killing any Russians, Iranians, or Syrians—there is an apoplexy both on this blog and in the greater commonwealth. "THIS IS WORLD WAR 3!", or "THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE FASCIST COUP!", or "TRUMP DID WHAT OBAMA DIDN'T!". So, to start your weekend, some friendly advice from your neighborhood librarian.
Breathe. Calm down. Reflect. And take care of yourself.
It's very easy to feel guilty in times like these if you're not talking about politics and the current parlous state of our nation 24/7. I myself succumb to that. But that's a dangerous road to go down.
Fierce warriors like Imani Gandy (@angryblacklady), who are no shrinking violets, take breaks to rejuvenate, recuperate, and just get away from the madness. We need those no less than she.
What regimes like Trump's hope to do is to exhaust us to the extent that we're punch drunk, useless as a resistance. Don't be ashamed to take a break. There are millions of others who will pick up the slack while you're gone. And when you return, and they need the break, you can repay the favor.
Disagree with your allies without being disagreeable. Allies have disagreements, or different perspectives, or differing strategies. Listen to them respectfully, respond to them with respect, know that they're on the same side.
Don't panic. Panic is the first step in losing all control. Panic can help you get over an acute stage; but when it becomes chronic, it paralyzes you, and prevents you from taking any action.
Find your center. Find what makes you happy. Rediscover your love of reading, or music. Attend theater. Take in a concert. Go for long walks.
When you feel as if world events are swallowing you up: stop. Shut down the computer. Turn off the TV. Call a friend. Hang out with family. Make the conscious decision that you are more than what happens in Washington or Moscow.
I'm not hectoring or lecturing. I myself have had to learn quickly how to decouple from what's going on in the world. New Year's Day, when I realized what 2017 would be like, fell upon me like a ton of bricks, and I was as depressed for those twenty-four hours as I had ever been. It's very easy to get ensnared in depression, and very understandable. If you feel like you need professional help, seek it. We are facing an existential crisis, and acknowledging that we may need someone to talk to is nothing to be ashamed about.
Be kind to yourselves, and, just as importantly, be kind to others. Love, kindness, compassion, solidarity: those are our weapons, weapons which bring down failed tyrants when exercised with skill and passion.
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