It’s been a tough time since the 2016 election. For almost everyone. In various ways.
For the first few months, along with so many others, I grieved. For a loss. For what might have been. But most of all, for what I knew wasn’t to be for our country. And then in January I decided to do what I’ve always done when hit with an adverse situation. I stood up. And I spoke out. Beginning with the Women’s March on January 21. I joined a local Indivisible group. I protested. I marched. I made numerous phone calls to Congress. I wrote postcards. And I went out of my way to be with like-minded people. During the entire campaign, I distanced myself from those who were not. Both in my social life and on social media. I was too fragile. I’m not a confrontational person. But I also cannot stand quietly by when what I’m hearing or reading is simply not the truth.
Sometimes I felt like what I was doing helped. Maybe. But day after day a new fire would break out with trump. Be it immigration, gays, Muslims…….you know the list. And through all of it, if I was at home MSNBC was on the TV giving me all the updates. I did take breaks from the coverage. With Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. I’ve always believed in balance in my life. I’ve always gone out of my way to make this balance happen. However, recently I discovered that not only did I not have balance, but that I was lost as the person I know I am.
A few things happened simultaneously to make me realize this. I’d wake every morning with a lack of enthusiasm. Sure, I went through my day and even did some fun things. But I began to feel I was faking it. Smiling, because I should. Joking, because it seemed the right thing to do. Not just for me. But for those around me. Both in person and on Facebook. But it suddenly hit me that I was a fake. What happened to that authentic person I’d worked so hard all my life to make a reality? And I traced it all back to the morning of November 9.
Sadly, I discovered I was no longer the happy, positive, upbeat person I had always been. Not since the morning after the election. Rather than feeling positive emotions day after day, I found that I was either angry, sad, worried, uncertain. I realized I had become short-tempered. I found myself yelling at other drivers under my breath. I had become snappy with people who rubbed me the wrong way, especially strangers. This was not the person I had spent 70 years evolving into. That person was gone. Replaced by somebody, who very recently, I didn’t like at all.
In addition to all of this, I knew in my subconscious that what I put out into the Universe is what I would get back. And what I was putting out wasn’t very good. For me or for those around me.
And during the above speculation, Hillary’s new book, What Happened, arrived. I had pre-ordered it and began reading it immediately. Yes, it’s bittersweet. But it’s also soothing, humorous, and comforting. Another thing I’ve always firmly believed (because it’s happened to me too many times not to) is that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
So through a combination of all of the above, I realized it was time for a change. A new day so to speak. Nora Ephron’s quote completely resonated with me! I had allowed myself to be a victim. No, not intentionally. But day by day, “I” allowed the anger to remain, seep out and rob me of my happiness. By the time I was age 25 I had learned a valuable life lesson……….happiness comes from within. Nobody can give it to you. They can enhance it, yes. But we all make our own happiness. I had allowed the election, trump, etc. etc. etc. to take MY happiness! I had been sucked right into what I had never thought possible. But I was proof that it was.
And so……how to make that new day happen? Well, the realization of all of this hit me almost instantaneously but the answers came just as fast. At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to delete my Facebook account and distance myself from political stuff on there. However, I knew I’d miss all the good stuff FB offers………photos of your children, grandchildren, your cats, dogs, joys and sadness. So I quickly abandoned that idea. (And a huge thank you to all of you who quickly commented and asked me not to do that) The only “friends” I now have on Facebook are people who I want. The rest I deleted last year. But there’s still a fair amount of informative posts that are political……..I have certainly contributed my fair share. Not negative, no. But articles, opinions, etc. And while I always felt good about whatever I posted because I was doing it to inform, cause awareness, etc. I will no longer be doing that. I can’t. For me. (And for those of you who continue these political posts, please don’t take it personally that I will no longer be commenting.) Music has replaced MSNBC during the day in my house now. I will only watch Rachel Maddow at 9 PM because I DO still want to be informed and aware. Just not constantly bombarded. I am taking a step back from politics and the groups I had joined. Not because I feel they aren’t great or doing great things! But because I must do what’s best for ME.
I will smile more. Laugh more. Knit more. Read fiction more. L I V E more! Because I can now see that during these past eleven months, I was not living. I was merely existing. Exactly what the outcome of that election hoped to achieve! But I refuse to be a victim. I will slowly struggle to recapture that strong, positive, upbeat woman who lived before November 9……………and I hope you will too! Because I love all of you and love really IS what it’s all about!
See you here next time………..