We all get a pass for November.
Most people I know fell into a post-election depression, couldn’t write, couldn’t sleep or slept all the time and couldn’t get their shit together in the day. I personally don’t quite remember it.
I do know the morning after the election I went to the local health food store early so I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew. My face was puffy and also mascara streaked. I wasn’t the only one employing this avoidant strategy. I sobbed in my friend’s arms most inappropriately. This happened two more times with various levels of friends before I left the store. And it happened again and again all that week. Wake up, cry for humanity, read the terrible news, work, parent, sleep. I had to come out of my sad coma long enough to move houses and visit my doctor who informed me I tested positive for H-pylori, so…ulcers. I think somewhere I hoped if i slept enough I would propel myself into the version of the multiverse where this tacky-ass dangerous turn of events never happened and maybe then my ulcers would also disappear.
By the middle of November, I was never out of sweats, and I was really into carbs, whichever kind I could get my hands on. Preferably with an assload of dairy on top. I was listening to NPR so much I would hear the same show twice a day. I zombie cooked and zombie worked and everything hurt.
The Gilmore girls saved me. I’m not playing. I don’t know why I finally decided to watch that show after all these years, but praise Lorelai. Glory hallerory! I watched all seven seasons plus the new one, and I allowed myself to become obsessed with all those boys and the mom and Sookie and OMG Jess and Luke. I had never seen a single episode and it completely propelled me into this fantasy world because WTF even is Stars Hollow… and Kirk. Jesus. It’s not bombs and bad choices and freedom threatened and big men playing dangerous games at everyone’s expense. It’s not a total disregard for decency. It’s just simple, every day drama. Easy to tend to.
And then, December. December has been good, like roots, like rain, like waking up from a deep sleep, like great books and art and remembering the world isn’t a complete piece of shit and that people are mostly good.
For instance, this poem blew my everlovin’ mind:
BY MAGGIE SMITH
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
For instance, this book blew my everlovin’ mind:
I mean, it blew my mind.
And I went to New York and saw brand new babies and aunties from Greece and I went to the Met for the first time and saw my wonderful, wonderful Folio family. The writing started up again, it got better. I didn’t feel like I had weights in my shoes anymore. Nicolas Cage sat atop my Christmas tree and my kids made me laugh and I started getting that teary connected feeling again that I always have when my daughter sings.
Art and good people and being so insanely grateful for every free minute on this earth–all of that helps mitigate the rest. I have remembered myself, and that myself is passionate about everything on this planet. Myself is hopeful and the best antidote to all types of fuckery is a steady diet of inspiration, because in the midst of all this bullshit, people are doing great things.
Yesterday when I was listening to The Tim Ferris Podcast (highly recommend for any creative person), he quoted Oprah, so this is me quoting TF quoting Oprah. Could be like a copy of a copy, but take it for what it’s worth.
- There are only two emotions, love and fear. If you aren’t coming from love you’re coming from fear. Stressed out is just the ambitious person’s word for scared.
- Never be a vehicle for darkness. It is all around you, but don’t let it use you. Be a vehicle for light.
- Run your own race. It’s about you and your goal. You can never run anyone else’s race, so focus on yourself. If you watch the other runners, you’re going to fall behind.
For me, that’s enough of a hint about what I want 2017 to be. Those are my resolutions. Because it’s fucked out there and there’s nothing I can do about it except pay attention, call it out, give where I can, and focus on my role in the world. I have to run my own race, and so do you.
Never hit snooze. Be a good person. Don’t let sad-comas take you down. The shock has passed. Stars Hollow doesn’t exist but we do. And we make things. And we give. And that means everything.