I don’t want to talk a lot about the heartbreak and horror I’ve felt for the last week. It’s not new or particularly different from anyone else’s, and I don’t want to revisit it in writing. I do want to talk some about how I’ve been thinking, and what I’m going to do next.
- I’m going to stop talking about 2016 like it’s this anomalous bad year. When I do that, what I’m saying is, “The hard times will be over soon.” It’s so much easier to do that than to face the truth: that hardship and suffering are never far away. I tend to live my life as if there’s a dichotomy between “good times” and “bad times,” because then when I can say I’m in a “good time” I can feel secure. It’s time I found a different way of coping with the uncertainties of life.
- I’m going to take joy whenever and wherever I can find it. This is intimately connected to the above point. Amid the struggles of processing last week, I had a lot of moments of laughter, of connection, of simple happiness in being with people I loved. I’m affirming now that it is okay to take these moments. If I can be happy, it is more than okay to be happy — it is good. I don’t need to wait for some mythical “good time” to feel joy and comfort. Spending a couple of hours feeling pretty good doesn’t mean I’m ignoring the evils that are in the world: it means I’m recharging to help endure and fight them.
- I’m going to continue being much less engaged with social media. This is a very personal decision, based on the effects I’ve observed in myself — I’m not trying to make any kind of blanket statements about the nature of social media or how other people should be. In myself, I have noticed a strong correlation with how much time I spend on Facebook and Twitter, and how depressed, traumatized, and hopeless I feel. That’s not even the fault of the people I follow, because they’re almost all amazing people who are passionate about social justice. It’s just something about the dynamic of hourly scrolling my news feed, that crushes my spirit and saps my energy. So I’m dialing it way back, and putting my energy somewhere else.
- I’m going to make a conscious habit and goal of doing something every day to help. I’m working into my budget a plan of regular, small donations to organizations that are fighting for the good. I’m going to spend the next couple of weeks doing a lot of research on other small, concrete things I can do to stay engaged, stay active, and help make the world better.
I’m in this for the long haul. I am here to fight and to help, every day, come what may.