I skipped yoga class today to give my body a bit of a break. My body was asking nicely but persistently, like a polite six-year-old wanting ice cream, so I took the path of least resistance and opted for a day off from the studio.
I’m instead spending the morning doing domestic things and sipping chamomile tea to calm my anxiety so that I can have coffee and remind myself of the difference between caffeinated energy and a panic attack.
My anxiety has been growing since I read an article about Donald Trump’s ghostwriter. I don’t make a habit of reading the New York/er/Times/Post, but I started because of this astoundingly hipster marriage announcement that was just … a delight to read. A true delight. I am at a loss for words, but not at a loss for ALL the available side eye to provide to that couple.
But the article about the ghostwriter …it’s given me nightmares. Actual nightmares. I want to inform myself by looking up the platforms of both candidates, but I cannot do it. I feel this awful loathing toward informing myself on The Real State of Things, because if I see something that I don’t like, I alone do not have the power to change it immediately. For those of you who have an irrational fear of something like…checking voicemails, or your bank account, it’s that same feeling.
Everyone I’ve talked to, or read (their tweets / posts / etc) are in some state of mixed terror-ennui, with a healthy dose of WTF. I thought about Pokemon Go (and its inane fun to collect small things that remind me of how much I loved Tamagotchi), and then thought about how people are disgruntled and saying it’s a distraction from what’s really going on. I thought about #BLM and #ALM and how people of any color are just killing people for no reason other than hating the color of the other person’s skin. I thought about how things like this have happened for so long but only recently (in the scope of humanity’s timeline) that it’s been so widely publicized. I thought of how I may only hear the same sentiment because I – like so many others – am friends with, or follow, people with similar interests. It makes sense in some scale: you don’t associate with people who are adamantly not like you, or against things that you enjoy. Excuse the broad brush, but if you’re a recovering alcoholic, you aren’t going to hang with your college buddies that only play beer pong or do bar crawls.
I started wondering… how can we mix everyone’s ideas? How can someone Uber-Right talk with someone Uber-Left, and keep it to an intelligent roar? How can someone, trained from childhood that the right thing to do is kill someone with different religious beliefs, have a discussion with someone who has different religious beliefs? How can someone of one color who hates someone of another color have a discussion about why they feel that way? Not a fight, not a riot, a discussion. I’m not saying change the beliefs, I’m saying let’s change the approach. Ask questions. Why do you feel like this? It’s not everyone …who feels this way, against your beliefs. I just want to help. I just want it to not be so awful.
I thought about starting a thing of just talking to people with vastly different opinions of mine, with a goal of having a discussion. It might change their perspective, it might change mine, but we’d both come away with different points of view. We could agree to disagree, if we really couldn’t find anything in common. I think I’m open to that. If one person, for example, a person of one race that really hates people of another race, wanted to talk about why they felt that way, I’d be interested in talking with them as long as they attempted to have a discussion and not a shouting match. One by one. We can do this.
I thought of the lifestyle changes I’ve made recently and how they’ve helped me, and then I read an article about how wellness and self-care are bullshit to help us not pay attention to large-scale issues. Which might be true, and which did not a single bit of good for my anxiety, but I’m trying to think of it this way: I know how I feel when I take time for myself, and that INCLUDES reading cheesy motivational stuff. I tell people about it because I feel great, and I want them to experience the same feelings. And I know how I felt before, which was not great. My new positive-ish outlook then gives me more energy and more motivation to help others, and if I can put just ONE person in a positive mood, maybe they’ll help or motivate someone else. Maybe that ONE person will be nicer, and someone else will notice. Maybe someone will be in a good enough mood to discuss tough issues and change someone else’s ideas on bad things. It might start a chain. It might not, but you never know. All I know for certain is how I feel.
Here, have some background music. And hopefully a good day.