It’s Time

“So this is what you meant

When you said that you were spent

And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit, right to the top

Don’t hold back…

…This road never looked so lonely

Oh this house doesn’t burn down slowly

To ashes

To ashes

It’s time to begin, isn’t it?”

“It’s Time” – Imagine Dragons

It’s time for us to mourn the great void that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has left, and that John Lewis left earlier this year. We have lost 2 giant champions for equality, and it hurts so deeply.

We are scared. We are sad. We feel hopeless.

Last weekend, I wrote about how angry and tired I was – and that was BEFORE the horrible news about RBG’s passing. The news was devastating, and like so many others I was immediately filled with fear and dread of what may come to pass.

One of my big “ah-ha’s” after my last post came from watching Fred Guttenberg discussing his new book “Find the Helpers…What 9/11 and Parkland Taught Me About Recovery, Purpose, and Hope.” Guttenberg lost his brother to cancer incurred from 9/11 and months later lost his 14-year old daughter Jaime in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I pre-ordered the book after listening to him talk about how he is working through his horrific losses through the kindness and compassion he has received from others as he has worked for change in our gun laws – and as he has become an advocate for Joe Biden. (Video here if you would like to watch:

His interview reminded me that I fortunate to have a community of helpers around me. Since publishing my last post, I have been reassured many times over that I am not alone. Let me reassure all of you – YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

It is time for us to let John Lewis and RBG rest, and it is time for us to march on in their honor. We have no other choice. It is NOT TIME to give up hope. It is NOT TIME to be quiet. It is NOT TIME to give in to what may feel inevitable.

It is time to find your helpers.

It is time to link arms with each other – to help each other push forward. It is time to pick each other up, to carry those who feel weak, to encourage each other to get back up, and to KEEP ON MOVING. I have been encouraged, empowered, uplifted and seen by so many since my last post. I have even met some new friends – something that is not easy to do during a pandemic! I have been inspired and energized by my community of “helpers.” While I grieve the loss of my real life Wonder Woman, I gather strength when I visualize all of us with linked arms, working to save each other. I have seen several videos of people forming human chains to save a person or animal from drowning. Think of your helpers as this giant human chain that is here to prevent you from drowning in sorrow and hopelessness. Imagine the strength that flows through that chain to lift you up and to help you get up again.

I don’t know if this is “rock bottom.” I don’t know if this is the proverbial marathon “wall.” The way this year is going – I seriously doubt it. I am not the only one who keeps thinking that surely this is the turning point, and yet each and every day I am proven wrong.

I know it is daunting. I know it exhausting. Practice self-care, and find your helpers! We are here, and YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am one of your helpers – and I thank you for being one of mine. WE ARE NOT ALONE. We cannot give up, and we cannot give in.

“Do not get lost in a sea of despair. Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful. Be optimistic.”

John Lewis

RBG didn’t just fight for women’s rights. She fought for all of us…for access to healthcare, for dreamers to stay in the only country they know as home, for LBGQT rights, for voting rights for all Americans. Let’s remember how all of us intersect as humans, and how all of these issues tie us together in some way. Imagine the strength in our numbers! Let’s leave no one behind, and remember the power we can wield when we act in solidarity.

Take a deep breath. If you are feeling weak and hopeless – think about who is out there to help you, and reach out for support. Close your eyes and imagine what is possible on the other side of this mess. Dig deep, pull up your big kid pants or your empowering socks, and keep going.

Dissent from surrendering. Dissent from hopelessness. John Lewis and RBG have left us with the tools we need, and have passed the baton to us. It is time.

I’m So Tired

I am so tired of feeling angry all the time, and I am so angry about feeling tired all the time. Can anyone else relate? I have a feeling I am not alone in this.

I am not living my best life, and I am not being my best self. I have reset my expectations. I constantly practice self-care. I have both meditated and medicated. I have gotten acupuncture regularly. I have never worked this hard just to feel ok…

Despite all my efforts in self-care, I have never felt this emotionally spent and physically exhausted in my life. I have read all sorts of articles that describe this fatigue – so I know this is very real, and that there are valid reasons for it. It is just a matter of time until someone comes up with a clever phrase for the special kind of fatigue that we are experiencing in 2020. It is way more than “pandemic fatigue.” The combination of the pandemic, a divisive election, and racial unrest is just overwhelming at times. The wear and tear on my psyche, on my mental and emotional well being is palpable.

I know almost immediately when I am out of balance. I am edgy, am easily irritated and quick to snap (at Jerry since he is the one with me 24/7), and do not sleep well.  Lately, I have become quick to anger – and I often feel rage. My rage is usually caused by our current administration, and sometimes caused by the people who support it. Sometimes – it is caused by people I know. Sometimes – those people are family or friends.

I could try to turn it “off” and survive (I think of this as similar to “turning off my humanity” for any Vampire Diaries fans).  My ability to turn it off would be a manifestation of my privilege, and I no longer want to act from my privilege. I want things to be different – I want a different president, I want racial justice, I want to preserve our earth for future generations, and I want strong leadership, and a cooperative society to help us survive the COVID 19 pandemic. This is a lot. I am not going to give up hope, but the struggle in fighting for these things is very real.

Almost every single day, at any given moment, I feel more frustration, anger and rage – and underneath it, is fear and sadness. I am truly scared that things will continue to get worse before they get better. I truly feel that the election is going to culminate in a constitutional crisis, and that the traditional peaceful transition of power is not likely to be peaceful. In my lifetime, the stakes have never been this high…so to turn off my “caring” is just not a possibility for me. However, acting from my fear and rage is not working for me, nor is it helping to achieve anything that I support.

I care very deeply about our country – I care for our military and their families, I care for the our civil servants including our police and firefighters, for our healthcare workers, for our teachers, for people with disabilities, for dreamers, for BIPOC, for LBGTQ – ALL at the same time.

For example, it is possible – and in my opinion “right” – to support the police while at the same time supporting police reform. I support Black Lives Matters, while at the same time denouncing rioting and also denouncing the brutal use of force against unarmed people of color. The perception that this is an either/or has only divided us. When did we forget that many things can be true at the same time?? When did we start to accept “alternative facts” instead of reckoning with the truths of what is happening in our world? When did we forget that the answers are usually between the extremes, and that we can get to some answers through respectful discussion?

The rhetoric I see around this on a daily basis only feeds my frustration, anger and resentment. It is soooo tempting to lash out – to let the anger and fear control me. It is so easy to forward a tweet, meme, video, article or whatever that only add to the noise. I know because I have done it – many times.

Anger is like a drug. It makes me feel powerful – and can give me some fuel in the tank – but when I act from anger, I am left more depleted, more empty, and end up not only damaging relationships, but also failing to gain any kind of possible momentum for the causes I support. It is a false power as a friend pointed out to me…making us feel that we have control when we do not. It is not sustainable. And while I know this, it is still incredibly hard for me to channel it in a healthy way. And from what I see around me every moment of every day, we are ALL struggling with this.

 Remember this powerful quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I am trying to do this!!! And I definitely do not always get it right. Finding the middle ground is part of the answer. Acting from love instead of fear or anger is a HUGE part of the answer. I have learned that love is a renewable energy – and am trying to remember that in those moments of anger and rage.

More love.
I made this meme out a picture I took of a heart-shaped heirloom tomato. There are signs everywhere!

My anger has been spilling over a little too easily lately, but I have recognized it and am working through it. I even decided to try medication again because I recognize that I could use some help especially over the next few months with my fear and anxiety heightened more than usual.

Maintaining healthy boundaries is also a major part of the answer. Yes, I will try to be kind. Yes, I will try to be more “human.”  Yes, I will try to act from love instead of fear and anger.

But – to quote Glennon Doyle from Untamed,

“I will not stay, not ever again – in a room or conversation or institution that requires me to abandon myself.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

This means I will not be quiet just to make other people comfortable. I am not about to practice toxic positivity and ignore what is happening around me, nor will I silence myself to preserve someone else’s feelings.

However, I will work hard to find the right balance in all of this – and I will continue to fight for the things that I care about – and I will continue to try to do this in a way that will encourage others to follow.