Friday, 24 February 2017

Nothing Is The Same Anymore

Suffice to say, this is going to be LONG four years. We're 33 days into this Trump presidency and it feels like it's been a year already. Nothing is the same anymore. Not even the little things. We're living in an age where you can barely have a conversation with a stranger, a friend, a family member, or an acquaintance because you know that if they support or voted for Trump, you instantly want to throat punch them. You remember the houses that had Trump For President signs in their yard and you get a pang in your stomach every time you drive by. Your Facebook feed is a mess of "friends" arguing their political points. Twitter is a steaming piss stream of punches, kicks and jabs back and forth between liberals and conservatives. Everywhere you look, it's the great divide. Every move this administration makes causes a bigger, wider riff between people everywhere, not just in your neighborhood, your city, your state-but globally and it's seriously taking its toll. Mostly for folks like me who are vehemently opposed to this new regime. Maybe not so much for the oblivious Trump supporter who sees all "the good" in these appointments and executive orders getting thrown down.

I can't speak for Trump supporters, nor would I ever try, but I suppose they're just as tired of defending him as the anti-Trump people are of calling him out. I certainly don't think a Trump supporter can relate to what an anti-Trump'er goes through, though because a Trump supporter can just stop whenever they feel like it. They can stop and just stand behind the "Get over it. He won"-thing. But for us it's different. It feels so constant and so hopeless and never-ending. It comes down to having to censor what you're taking in, and who wants to do that, right? That's a chore right there. So, now on top of marches, petitions, Googling what's "fake", joining protests, town hall meetings, unfriending people on Facebook, calling Senator's offices, writing letters, making memes, finding pink hats, worrying about the next goober that gets appointed to a top cabinet position, and fretting over the next "right" to get stripped away from someone-yep, on top of ALL that, we have to consciously alter and filter our daily intake of social media and news to realign with what we agree with, and get rid of the opposing views in order to regain a bit of sanity because the thought of anyone that could possibly agree with what's happening in our country makes you want to vomit the second you see it. I get it. I'm right there with you. The anger, the frustration, the worry, the sheer confusion and aggravation minute by minute while you do your morning and evening scrolls, tap your apps, read your news, or listen to your radio- it fills you, it overwhelms you and most importantly, it stays with you.

It feels like the joy you find in a kid's laughter lasts an instant because your next thought is "Man, your education system is fucked, little one."  The sparkling conversation you have with your friend, who is anything but white, is cherished for a minute and then the thought of it gets clouded with "What will happen to them now?" The routine doctor's visit that usually results in a lecture about your weight or your cholesterol has become a gloomy dark cloud because who knows what'll happen to healthcare now? Your happiness when you spend time with your parents or grandparents gets filled with concern over Medicare and social security. Your friend who serves or served in the military that usually has the best stories, that you love talking to- now, all you can do is wonder about wars that'll get started and lives that could be lost because of an ignorant tweet. The usual Hollywood Awards season is just not the same because it's peppered with politics now. Late night TV used to be funny and engaging, and now we have to hear the latest headlines that we read about earlier in the day mocked with the host's personal flare. The simple tossed salad you bought at lunch turns into a 30 minute dialog in your head about what will happen to the prices and quality once all the undocumented workers get kicked out of the country and no white people will want to work in their place? Your trans friend that went through so much now has no protective laws in their favor. Your lesbian friend's wedding, will it happen or won't it? What about their plans for it, the deposits put on halls and cakes and food? Your friend who is a teacher, what must they be going through knowing the idiot that's become Secretary of Education has no experience in any actual public school education. This whole entire Russian hacking thing, the National Security Advisor on calls with Russia, the whole NATO thing, ugh- my God, the list is endless but you replay it in your head every night. You toss and turn in bed and get less sleep because you can't even imagine what you'll see on news tomorrow. Nothing anyone says makes you feel any better. "Hey, look at the stock market, though!" Fuck you.

Think about it. A year ago, we lived our lives under this false sense that people just lived and let live. The Obama administration quietly did things for the better of the country and people just went on with their lives. If they didn't like, they grumbled a bit. The Rust-belt folks, the mid-western'ers, the auto industry workers got upset about jobs being shipped overseas but heaven forbid they try to better themselves, get an education, learn a new skill or trade, move someplace else where things might be better, sought something more for themselves and their families and went after it. No, they just
cried and whined and blamed the black guy in the White House. We didn't focus on if the pledge of allegiance had the word God in it. We didn't notice the mosque down the street, we didn't even know what that building was. We didn't really care about the medical marijuana laws. It didn't effect our every day life, so whatever. We didn't question what was going on in other people's homes, we didn't care that our fitness instructor or our coffee barista was gay or lesbian or trans, just sell us our morning brew and we're off to start our day. Women plodded along, knowing we were gaining strength in our jobs, businesses, pay grade, our choices about our bodies and health and families. No one was telling them they "can't".

We just assumed that everyone thought like us and if they didn't, they got past it somehow and went on with life. But this new era, starting way back during the election campaign, has shined the brightest spotlight on the truth and that is that we are divided. People do hate. People do have a problem with women, with people of color, people that are different than they are, people with different religious beliefs, political beliefs, and this new President banked on it. He banked on it, he promoted it, he gave it a loud voice, he embraced and encouraged it and he won. He pushes fear into our faces every day and his supporters buy into it BIGLY and it's out of that bullshit fear they bully the rest of us and then turn into cry babies, saying we're doing it to them. Let's face it, this entire administration, cabinet and party has changed us forever, and even though it's only been a month, we can clearly see that it's not for the good.

Now it's up to us to take care of ourselves in the upcoming days, months and years because I'll tell you what, I am sick of feeling this way and we're only a month into this four year debacle. What can we do, aside from the many things I've noted in this rant? Yes, we can call Senators, write letters, e-mails, join protests, marches, assemble and attend town hall meetings, tweet, post on Facebook, do our research, stay informed, yadda, yadda, yadda, yes, we know all that stuff but what can we do day to day to get us feeling good again for longer than a minute? Well, I don't have the answers to that. I just know that I've changed up my social media yet again. If I need to scroll, I do it on Instagram and I follow chubby baby accounts, cute animals, furry friends, food pics, beach pics, funny people, and nature accounts. I've updated my TiVo to mostly sitcoms, pretty people, funny stuff and cooking shows. My Facebook is becoming more and more sickening, I'm afraid. I can't stand seeing stuff about Trump whether it's mocking him, telling me where to write or who to call to oppose something, a pic of a sick dog, a beat up gay person, a vandalized Jewish cemetery, a calendar of protest and march dates, a bunch of "She Persisted" memes, it's undeniably overwhelming and although the pictures from the Women's rallies, the info about judges who stop Planned Parenthood defunding, give us a glimpse of "it's not all bad, look at this..." it's still not enough to outweigh the proper shit. In fact, it's losing by about 10 to 1, and that's what I think about when I see it. "Yay! Oh, but wait..."  In fact, I post less, comment less and I'm feeling good about it. I'm more conscious now and post things that are less about what I think and more about what I feel. I'm not forcing my views on people, I'm not interested in sparking a debate, unless it's about what cat food to buy, or what recipe is best.

This is new to me, so I'll admit I'm no expert. It's a clear and present mind-fuck to have to maintain your sanity so diligently in the face of what's happening, but I find that doing little simple things, like altering and limiting your intake on people's political opinions helps. I know that we can't avoid actual news, even TRYING to limit or filter what we're taking in is next to impossible in this technology era we live in, but be choosey. There's other things to with the time you save. Video games help. Cooking helps. Household projects, whether it's DIY or a big ol' purge and donation, a new project, like reupholstering something, finding a garage sale dresser drawer unit and refurbishing it. Gardening season is coming. Do something different. Go crazy with an herb pot, build a vegetable box. Visit like-minded friends more, plan lunches or dinners or night's out with the gang. Focus on work-life balance. Have some fun, away from TV's, laptops and iPads. Say "fuck off" to hashtags for a while. Put a fun game on your phone and play that rather than thumb flicking up and down social media. Go through old photos, try a wine & painting event, have more game nights, join a volunteer group, write something, re-visit your favorite books, buy some "Best Of" music compilations, do a tour of something, re-connect with someone, see some plays, feed the ducks.

Basically, get out of your head for while ....because nothing is the same anymore.