This week has brought an onslaught of negative events ranging from dispicable to completely absurd and every unbelievable step in between.
The twitter king himself censoring the EPA and National Parks on social media with a forced blackout put me into a rage that lasted for days (and still flares up if I think about it too much). From “alternative facts” to stranding incoming families unawares at US airports, we are in the middle of a flat out storm. I can’t begin to express my anger appropriately.
I keep muttering to myself, “Not my president. Not my president. Not my president.” As though if I say it enough times, I’ll wake up from this American nightmare. Fat chance of that happening.
Trying to Keep Perspective
As I try to keep my head above water, and as fellow Austinites publicly display anger and grief at every poetry reading, improv night, and community event, we have to step back and realize that we truly have little control over the situation.
We can march. We can post. We can send a stack of postcards to senators 6 inches high (thanks, Malvern Books, for involving us in this awesome outreach). However, we cannot change what is happening all around us.
Whether we think so or not, on a fundamental level, we literally have no control over these events or their eventual outcomes.
My therapists always taught me to stop freaking out over things I have no control over. Not saying it’s working (AT ALL), but for our own collective mental health, it’s helpful to keep a little bit of perspective as the tweets keep rolling out.
A Series Focused on Positivity
Never before have I been more inspired to continue this series on Keeping the Flame, of acknowledging events in the world that were good. Displays of kindness, honor, respect, and compassion are what will make the most difference in the lives of most people– so it’s important to me that we focus on those instead of the turmoil that threatens to drown us.
What I used to call “The World Around Us” will now be titled “Ain’t That Good News.” Here’s why.
This is one of my favorite traditional spirituals. These songs came from the midst of tribulation that most of us today can’t even imagine, from the voices of the most downtrodden and courageous humans in the world. It’s a rejoicing. It’s a cry of power. If there’s anything we need today, it’s a good spiritual.
The majority of the song has the choir singing “YES!” There’s nothing else we need more than a good “YES” right about now after so many “NO”s.
“I’m gonna lay down this world, shoulder up my cross. Ain’t That Good News!”
Lay it down and leave it there, folks. That gets an Amen from me.
I’m honestly struggling to find anything positive that’s been happening this week. Besides one incredibly major exception.
A Historic March For Positivity
The biggest and most important thing is that women and men around the world united in solidarity for the largest single-day demonstration in US history.
1,000,000 people marched for women’s rights in Washington on January 21st, 2017– backed by more than 5,000,000 others around the country and the globe. Compare that number with the generous 900,000 estimate for Inauguration attendees and you’ll understand why Trump tweeted his petty annoyance. He lost, bigtime, in the face of the entire world.
THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE.
I’ll say no more. Here are my favorite clips from the march to help lift your spirits.
(Special thanks to these lovely posts on my Instagram feed that inspired me on the big day and the users that brought them to life.)