Well, the first week is over. And, from a political standpoint, it was pretty horrible. The flurry of executive orders, the petty arguments about crowd size, the injustices unleashed and given license. This is not good.
The opportunities for outrage are constant. This week I read an article about self-care in the midst of this environment. There are some great tips there. One of the best echoed something I’ve been contemplating ever since November 8: my energy can’t go everywhere all the time; find what matters most to me and dig deep. Others will be doing the same and much ground will be covered. I am still discerning what these issues will be for me.
And here’s where I keep returning: I’m Irish, at least in part. My mother’s family comes from Ireland and Austria. I don’t know how hard it was for our Irish ancestors, but I know that there was a time in our country’s history when there were signs posted that said, “No Irish Need Apply.” We were the unwanted. There are people facing that same sign today with a different nationality or race listed. They are now my neighbors, and what am I doing to let them know that they are welcome?
My heart keeps breaking. On Wednesday, the executive order for the border wall was signed by Trump. I know there are many things that still need to happen before a wall goes up; I know that there are hoops to be jumped through. I know that people have a close eye on everything Trump is doing, lawsuits are being filed, and he’s not going to get away with much of this crap. As a whole, we are stronger, smarter, and more fierce than he is.
But symbols and symbolic actions matter. We break bread, and Jesus is in our midst. We wave a flag and pledge our allegiance. Someone signs a piece of paper saying members of certain religions and countries are not allowed, and they become the enemy. This is not okay.
So what symbols of resistance am I using? The safety pin is still on my necklace. And this week, my snarkiness came out full force: I painted my middle fingernail gold. A little “Eff you, Trump.” It is, perhaps, an immature and disrespectful protest, but damn if it doesn’t make me smile every time I see it. In addition to being stronger, smarter, and more fierce than Trump, I’m pretty sure we also have a much better sense of humor.
And that leads me to what’s been getting me through. Where is the good? Even though there is so much to be angered by, so much to be overwhelmed by, it’s important to find the graced moments and give thanks for them. Last weekend I went to two We Banjo 3 concerts. (Check them out. Do it. Your life will be better as a result.) The first concert was on Friday night, the day of the inauguration. I went with a friend who had never seen them before. It was one of the best music experiences I’ve ever had. Their songs lifted us out of the fear and anxiety of the day. They sang about love, and they played with passion. They did what they do and invited those of us in attendance to enjoy the party. It gave me so much hope.
The next day, the day of the Women’s March, I watched my Facebook feed as women and men all over the world marched in solidarity for equality and love. All. Over. The. World. Not just DC or the States. The world. I have more thoughts on this, but I need to gather them. For now, suffice it to say that seeing all of these people gather peacefully and hopefully brightened my outlook considerably.
One more thing that’s getting me through: doing the same ol’ stuff. Baking, writing, quilting, loving Patrick, snuggling our pets, reading good books, calling Mom, spending time connecting with friends, laughing with coworkers. Maybe, even though it isn’t flat-out or big resistance, continuing to be who we are is the best way to say, “You can’t take this from us.”