Little points of light

The world has continued turning and so far it doesn’t appear that the election of Ivanka’s dad (thanks for that, Call Your Girlfriend) is just a really long nightmare from which I’ve yet to awaken. It’s real, it’s awful, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and planning how I’m going to spend the next few years. I set up a few monthly donations (will probably set up one or two more after the holidays), subscribed to the Washington Post, and have been trying to check in with friends of mine who are having a hard time right now. Plus I yelled at a guy friend of mine who didn’t vote this election, and I think I got through to him and at least got him to promise he’d vote in the midterms. So that’s a small success.

I’ve lost a little weight. I feel older, and horribly wiser. I made a lot of bargains in the early hours of this disaster: take back the Cubs winning the world series. Double or triple my anxiety. Give me incurable acne for life. I’ll take it all, as long as this guy didn’t actually win the election.

As grief tends to go, things get a little easier over time. Earlier this week I woke up in the morning and realized it was the first time I’d woken up normally without a bout of insomnia in the middle of the night. I’m slowly piecing myself back together. Not normalizing this fuckery, or becoming complacent–definitely not. But I’m getting myself back, which is a good and necessary part of the fight that the next several years will be.

With that in mind, here are a few things that have helped me immensely to get through my devastation over the past week:

Deactivating my Facebook and Twitter for a little bit. I didn’t look at either in a week, and I felt a little weird going back to them this morning. Both sites were instrumental to me in the first few days after The Incident, but after a while I got too sucked in. There’s so much infighting even among those of us on the right side of history. Taking time away allowed me to get more in touch with my own feelings and figure out what I need to do next.

A little game called Stardew Valley. In this video game, you inherit a farm from your grandfather and spend all of your time tending your crops and animals, mining for minerals, foraging for materials and food, and socializing with the townsfolk. There is no president here; nothing bad ever really happens. Distraction and escapism is a really important part of getting through grief, and this has absolutely worked for me.

Folk music by women. Since I deactivated Facebook I didn’t have access to my Spotify account, so I went old-school and booted up Pandora again. The Tracy Chapman channel is really perfect for blending anger and revolution with comfort and mellowness. The Indigo Girls and Joni Mitchell pop up there regularly, and it’s just what I need. (I have decidedly mainstream taste in music, but it’s fine.)

The WTF episode with Lin-Manuel Miranda. Because occasionally things turn out perfectly, this episode of Marc Maron’s podcast was recorded the day after The Incident. So while the meat of the show is a regular interview (and who doesn’t want to hear more about LMM’s blessed life?), there’s also a lot of really good reflection by both men about what this means and where we go from here.

The…holiday season? Since I became an adult and capable of making my own travel decisions, I’ve fallen back in love with Thanksgiving and Christmas, which were a hellscape during my teens and early twenties (divorced parents who refuse to be civil with one another can really do a number on their gloomy 17-year-old who just found out about the idea that Christmas has become a consumerist holiday). But now I love it–the lights, the decorations, the gifts, the music. I KNOW, guys, I know, it’s cheesy as hell, but it’s true, and this year all that stuff is especially comforting. There are reasons why it will be difficult, too, but I’m ready for that. I’m ready to talk honestly with my racist grandfather about his abhorrent beliefs for the first time. I’ve asked my mom not to get me anything but a Planned Parenthood donation. I’m going to fight against this new reality in the most cheerful and generous ways I know. Happy Holidays.


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