Sappho Says: Coping With the 2016 Election

Welcome back to another edition of Sappho Says; an column for the community where your voice matters and your words hold power. This time, we will focus on a reaction to a certain current event, that is, the 2016 presidential election. NR writes:

“Dear Sappho,

I can’t function. I can’t think straight. I can’t feel correct. I can’t be at peace. This man is in control of this country and I will not settle for him. I can’t. I feel so helpless and voiceless. I wish I could do something.  I wish I could go march and yell and scream and cry and console and help and teach. But I’m stuck. I’m stuck in this atmosphere of despair and anxiety. I hate seeing all my friends sad. I hate seeing people I don’t know so down. I hate seeing hate being displayed and applauded. I hate that people think this is okay and that we’ll be fine. I hate that people think we’re being extra and exaggerating. I feel so scared and numb and terrified. But I will not settle. I won’t let myself. I will comment on every post that I see is incorrect. I will tell the person behind me that their rhetoric is toxic and wrong. I will speak up because if I don’t, then that person might harm someone else. And I can’t live my life knowing that I could’ve helped someone.”

I want to start off by telling you, NR, that your passion about the election is most admirable. I’ve noticed the older generation claiming that “this generation” lacks drive and is reactive. But I think otherwise. People such as ourselves are the future of this country. However, I must advise that you do not overstretch yourself. Calling out people may help short term, and it might even convince them to at least reconsider their former thought process. However, in long term, battling people (especially stubborn people who have a fixed mindset) can be emotionally taxing. The people who constantly debate against you usually are not impacted by this election. Or they do not think they are. People in places of privilege tend to act self-centered, even without intending to do so.

This may be hard, but you must focus on yourself first. You must care for you. You are all you have. People are fickle and will walk in and out of your life. People will not and do not care about you when they invalidate you so easily. You are one of the permanent entities in your life. Doing something small can mean a lot. Doing something big can also speak volumes. Regardless, I will light your flame. I will preserve your flame, regardless of size. Trust in people who will keep your flame ablaze. Surround yourself with those who will keep it at a safe size and will ignite it when it’s low. Many people are distressed about the election. You are allowed to feel pain, to feel anguish, to feel shock and to even feel nothing. I will keep your flame alive.

permanent-entities

There are people like you everywhere. Everyone copes differently, here’s how a few others are coping in these trying times:

Doing makeup is a good method of self-care for me because I can focus on making myself feel pretty and experiment with different looks I can possibly wear one day.” -Kai Flowers

“If you’re dissociating, plant your feet flat on the floor, look around and pick out five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell and one thing you like about yourself. Do this as often as you need until you feel better. Also, stretching helps with dissociating, especially if it’s the kind where you feel like you’re not in your body.” -Ollie Swasey

“I like to eat for self-care. However, I also know that I have to be careful of what and how much I eat. My favorite thing to eat/drink for self-care is fresh fruit smoothies. They’re generally pretty healthy and they’re also tasty and they make me feel better. Also, I like writing songs for self-care. It allows me to express my emotions or situations in a non-harmful artistic way while also creating something that I can look back on in the future. I usually write for the ukulele, too, and playing the uke is a very enjoyable experience for me” -Dimitri Kirsch

“Taking the time to look my best helps me, too! Social media? Unfollow EVERYONE (Clean feed, clear mind). Visit people’s pages individually and weed out those with problematic ideations. Then there’s no one left that isn’t supportive. That relieves a lot of my angst, anxiety, fear and rage. While also keeping me from being insular, because I read the pages of a diverse set of great people who keep expanding my consciousness.” -Lana

 

Sidewalk writings outside the Kent Unitarian Universalist church on Nov. 13 2016. Photo by MJ Eckhouse

Sidewalk writings outside the Kent Unitarian Universalist church on Nov. 13 2016. Photo by MJ Eckhouse

In short, Sappho Says: These people spreading hate aren’t the only ones out there. You are there for your friends and I’m sure they will be there for you. You are loved. You are valid.

Love always,

Sappho

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