A week and a day ago, I was feeling so optimistic, so sure. I thought I knew who was going to win the election and I was mainly concerned with exactly where I would be when I found out that we had elected our first female president. Later in the evening on that fateful Tuesday, I was curled up in bed, crying and telling myself that I didn’t have to throw up over an election. But I wanted to. That visceral reaction has faded, thankfully, and I acknowledge the privilege I have that enables me to focus on day-to-day minutia while I let the grief fade a bit into the background. But the overwhelming emotion is still there. I find my eyes welling up and my throat closing when I let my mind linger too long on who has been elected and how scary the future looks. I feel so grateful that my girls are too young to be fully aware of what happened during the campaign and the ramifications of the election. (Josephine says that when she sees a picture of Trump she thinks it looks like he’s about to come alive and say, “I hate you” to her.) I shudder to think what we’ll have to explain to them over the next four years.
While we try to wrap our minds around what has happened and try find hope in what may come, I’ve been putting a little more energy into creating comfort. I’ve been working to make the house cozy; burning candles, keeping things bright, encouraging reading under blankets on the couch. We had a fire in the fireplace over the weekend and it was like a magnet we were all drawn to for a couple hours. We’ll do that again soon.
We’ve been trying to eat well. I made our menu for the week and realized it was all carbs and dairy — extreme comfort food. I’ve been making sure my belly is full and hoping that helps the rest of me feel less stressed. (Finding a healthy balance remains a challenge. There is still way too much Halloween candy in the house.)
I’ve been thinking about building community. We spent time with friends in the days immediately following the election and look forward to more friend time over the weekend and Thanksgiving. It’s a little thing, but I’ve been making more of an effort to smile and say hello to people I encounter in the neighborhood.
I want to follow through on feeling motivated to find avenues to volunteer my time, both with the girls and independently. Whether it’s through Josephine’s school or with local organizations, I’d like to be more engaged in the community.
I want to read more and better. I rarely read non-fiction, but this list the New York Times compiled makes me want to branch out and challenge myself to learn more. I want to be more informed on world news. For the girls, I want to make sure that the books we read at home continue to feature diversity. Related, I want to continue to insist that the amount of violence we’re all exposed to via movies, shows, and books is practically nil.
We will continue to give money to Planned Parenthood, the local NPR station, and the library, and will find a few more local organizations — ones that support refugees, maybe? — to support.
What have you been doing to keep yourself hopeful and healthy? Sending love out there…