As Ma Ingalls said, “It’s an ill wind that blows nobody good.” It’s been a tough eleven days for most of us, after a tough year and a half, and like many of you, I’ve been fucking triggered by the gaslighting of this abusive partner of an incoming administration, and every day brings a new nightmare. With all that, I’ve noticed a few unexpected upsides:
1. Reconnecting with old friends, and discovering they’re awesome
I’ve gotten back in touch with a bunch of old friends from college who are all actively working to make life less shitty in the next four to infinity years, through a huge number of mediums, means, and perspectives. Digging into the alt-right, educating youth, making art, fundraising for local nonprofits...I’m so proud of my fellow alums and my school for fostering a culture that truly did make us into people for others, without a second damn thought.
2. Body issues = gone (for now, anyway)
My job includes a lot of exposure to fitness media and office culture can skew a little heavy on the beauty standard, plus I live in LA, which is an unhealthy body culture anyway. I was starting to let some body issues back in my life which I definitely did not need, and the election forced it all back into perspective. My body needs to be strong to fight the power, and that’s about it. I give zero fucks about how it appears to others.
3. Recommitment to activism
I would always consider myself on the more-active side than your average bear, but the election kicked that up to eleven. I have valuable skills and insights to make the world better, and I am called to do it. No more noodling around about my purpose and whatever. My purpose is to make things better with my gifts.
I was raised in a fairly radical social justice household, and I am so grateful for that. Our church was in the rougher part of town, and it was normal when I was a kid for sex workers and homeless people to sit in on Mass. We spent at least a night a month at group designed to build ties in the community between people with disabilities and able-bodied people, and my mom would wake up at 4am on a different day a month to make pastries for the local drop-in shelter breakfast. In this crisis, my immediate reaction was to take stock of what I have and how I can use that to help others. My family is fucked up in a lot of ways, but that’s one thing they got entirely right. Thanks, family.
4. Recommitment to artmaking
All the insecurities I had about making art that matters have been pushed way, way back. Art is about people, in all their flaws and glory, and in every aspect. Art is about raising voices that are disenfranchised. Art is about creating a rich inner life, and a rich community life. Art is about connection. (Practically speaking, they can imprison every part of you but your heart and mind. Make them a sanctuary for yourself.)
Any weird upsides for you, GT?
Also, I would not have gotten through this damn thing without you. I know I haven’t posted much lately, but I truly appreciate and love you. This community saves lives and sanity.