Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Survival skills

People started calling those in power to account
And people started saying, "I want my voice to count"
And people started learning that they don't need to fight
And they control their future and try to make it right

~~ “The News” by Carbon/Silicon

Eugene Robinson had a great column in the Washington Post titled “This Country Deserves Much Better Than Trump.” I’m not linking to it because it’s behind the paywall, but if you have access, I highly recommend it. This quote is what got me thinking:

“It's exhausting, I know, but don't let outrage fatigue numb you to the moral bankruptcy and gross incompetence of the Trump administration. This ugly departure from American norms and values must be opposed with sustained passion—and with the knowledge that things will probably get worse before they get better.”

This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with off and on since the election. I am an optimistic, happy person, but there are days when I feel so exhausted and angry and in such despair that I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I had that kind of day yesterday but I managed to pull myself out of it and it made me think about how to deal with what I’m coming to think of as Yam Fatigue Syndrome. It’s such a constant shitstorm of incompetence and ignorance and downright meanness that it can overwhelm. Then there is dealing with friends and family members who voted for him. It’s enough to send even the most optimistic person around the bend.

There are actually books out there that deal with this topic. How do we stay afloat in the Age of the Yam? I haven’t read any of them yet, but I have a few thoughts of my own. These are things that help me and maybe they’ll help you, too. Which is the very first thing on my list!

  1. Support and encourage each other. There are times when I have to step away from social media, but other times, I find that my friends and family members provide much-needed strength and fortitude. We are in this together and it is up to us to help each other and provide a source of encouragement when needed. I’m such a positive person that I find myself being that source more often than not, but it’s almost like a bank or that weird thing that nobody knew was so hard, health insurance. *cough* You pay into it and you have something there when you need it. For every person I’ve encouraged and tried to help stay positive, I’ve gotten that same kind of encouragement when my own battery was running low. We help each other. That’s how it works!
  2. Do things that make you happy and renew your spirit. For me, that is a lot of things. Music is a big one, as are books. I also feel a sense of peace and renewal when I pay attention to the flora and fauna of Nutwood. Seeing deer walking through the back yard is something that never fails to bring a smile to my face. Everyone has something that brings them that sense of joy and peace. Do those things.
  3. Keep your sense of humor! We have to keep laughing. Thank goodness for people like Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, and Samantha Bee (and many others). They point out the absurdity and horridness of the Yamistration but manage to give us a good laugh while they do it. You don’t even have to laugh about political stuff. Just hang onto that sense of humor and try to find things that give you a good laugh. One of the biggest laughs I’ve had lately was about that weird Google AI humanoid thing learning to walk. I laughed so hard that I cried (and yes, I snorted) and it was quite a catharsis. Never get so angry that you lose the ability to laugh. At least not for long.
  4. As many of you know, I’ve become an admirer of former FBI Director James Comey. Don’t get me started, but I’ll just say that I find his integrity very compelling. He’s one of the Good Guys and we need to cherish and encourage that. Anyway, I saw a video of him talking about what he tells (or told) new recruits coming into the FBI. It was two things, so this point gets its own subcategory! Wheeeee! Outlines are fun!
    1. Gratuitous Comey picture
      Sleep. Yep, he told recruits to get enough sleep and that it was not a moral failing to do so. He said that you work better and smarter when you get enough sleep and that sleep deprivation doesn’t help when it comes to churning out the best work (or being the best person you can be). I sometimes have a hard time with this because I love to stay up late and don’t like to sleep the day away, so if I have one of my late nights, it can mean that I really don’t get the sleep that I need. And you know what? That’s when I’m at my most irritable and impatient. Little things can get to me and I am definitely not at my best.
    2. The other thing that Comey told his recruits was to love someone. What a simple thing, but what an important thing! His thinking there was that it provides something to ground you and keep you focused on what matters. I’m sure that for FBI recruits, it also makes you think about your mission and about what you are fighting for, as well as insulating you from the many bad things that particular job can entail. (“Silence of the Lambs” shout-out!) I think this applies to civilians, too. Who or what do you love? Why do you do what you do? Why do some of us protest things even if we aren’t directly affected? Do we love others and want to help them? Do we love freedom and democracy? Do we love our country and want all of its citizens to prosper and thrive? Comey said to “love someone.” I would expand that to “someone or something.”

So that is my list, at least everything that I can think of for now. Granted, it definitely helps to be an optimistic person and I am certainly that. But even I need some encouragement at times, and these things help me. Your results may vary. I think it’s important to realize that we are in this for the long haul and as Robinson wrote, things could get worse before they get better. That makes it more important than ever to support and encourage each other.

I’ve got your back, fellow Warriors!


  1. We make each other laugh, and that is priceless. And we talk about the absurdity, which helps...


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?