The Long Game

c/w violence

Hello all. It’s been quite the last couple of weeks. I started taking anti-depressants, the weather has officially changed to take-two-showers-a-day weather, and the world finally woke up to the injustices of Black people and People of Color. As you may have noticed, I skipped writing a post last week. Not because I didn’t have things I could write (note: I always have things I can write), but because it wasn’t my time or place. I used my social media this past week to #amplifymelanatedvoices. I posted blogs other than my own that were written by Black artists (thefriendineverwantedsexwithashleysassy_latteMaya.esthetic) and only shared content from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). I started with the voices that I already followed and then went on my own journey to find others. I recommend that you read these blogs and pay BIPOC artists if you have the means to! I went to protests and had some great conversations and some not-so-great conversations, both of which needed to be had. I read a lot and watched a lot and listened even more.

Through all of this I learned a lot about myself and even more about BIPOC experiences and even more about my role in relation to the injustices happening. I find myself wanting to note here, so badly, that I have done this work for a long time. That I have had these conversations with many people who deemed me “too sensitive” when I would beg people to look at the language they use. Why do I want to share this so badly? Why do I want people to recognize this? I think it’s because I have this desire to come off as the long time ally; as someone who has always tried to work through her own prejudices and inherent biases. I want to look like a “hero”, when in reality I am part of the system of racism. I have helped to uphold the pain of BIPOC. I have done and said things that were blatantly racist. I often stopped short when it came to being a good ally. When someone called me too sensitive, I didn’t push back, I usually just shut up. So, it doesn’t matter if I have done the work in the past because I didn’t do it hard enough. I sat in the comfort of my own privilege and allowed injustices to continue; it felt safer.

Though, my biggest takeaway from 2020 is my ability to do things regardless of how I am feeling. Is it nice to feel safe? Yes. The thing is, just because I don’t feel safe, doesn’t mean I am not safe. Let me say that again, just because I don’t feel safe, does not mean I. am. not. safe. When a white person crosses the street because there is a Black man walking towards them, they are not unsafe in that situation, but a part of them, a racist part of them believes that they are. When Amy Cooper threatened to call the police on a Black man in Central Park, she believed she was unsafe, and she knew the ways in which she held power and control over that person. She knew that a 911 call would get a police officer that would be on her side, that could potentially murder that Black man. What if these people took a deep breath though? What if instead of reacting they said to themselves why do I feel unsafe? What if they unpacked their internal racism and said ‘damn, that was a racist thought. I should really unpack that.’ (Don’t know how to unpack it? Might I recommend therapy??)

Over the last week I’ve said “I wish people were better at listening” A LOT. This is a sentiment I have always expressed, but is pertinent to the conversations we are having now. I am not just talking about the conversations with others, but those conversations we have with ourselves. When we feel uncomfortable, we try our hardest to be comfortable. So, having a thought like “that was racist of me” is really uncomfortable for someone who believes themselves to be “not racist”. What do they do then? They try to justify their actions, to themselves, because they are uncomfortable with themself. How do I know this? Because I know I have done it before. I have done things and pushed away feelings just to feel safer, to feel more comfortable. At the beginning of 2020 I started to pushback on this notion that things always have to feel right for them to be right.

One of the most thought provoking videos I watched this week was by Sonya Renee Taylor. If you have yet to see it, please take a moment to go watch it. Essentially, the video expresses that white bodies are much less in danger of being killed by police officers. I.e. if I as a white person see a Black person in front of an officer and a gun, the best way to help would be to put myself between that person and the danger. My palms sweat while I watched that video. Guns terrify me and the thought of purposefully putting myself in front of one sent my anxiety blasting. So, after watching it I processed those feelings. I thought about how Black people must feel everyday, not even being in front of police officer, but just knowing that one is near. I thought about the privilege I have to consider if this is something I could or couldn’t do. I decided that no matter how scared I am, no matter how terrified I am, Sonya is right. That evening I went to a protest and I put my body directly in front of an officer. I could feel my mouth get very dry thinking about the fact that this person had a gun, and, historically, had issues with rage.

Now, I am not saying that all the white people reading this need to go put themselves in front of a gun, but I am saying that looking at why you wouldn’t is really important. There is a lot happening in the world right now and I know we all feel it. I have sat with clients of all identities this past week that, for the first time in their life, have felt anxiety. I talked about collective trauma and collective healing, but most importantly I listened. I listened to the way the world is impacting their daily life. I heard the ways in which they have their own personal struggles on top of all the other things people are dealing with. I heard about confusion and pain and joy. I listened.

As a society we think we need the answer right now. Heck, we are living in the age of fast answers. I can call out to my robot, Alexa, and she’ll shoot me an answer to most all questions I ask in .01 seconds. I feel though, that at this moment in time, not having an answer or a rebuttal or a spewing of emotions in .01 seconds is good. People do not heal if they are not heard. We do not heal if we don’t start to listen to the people around us and to ourselves. Taking in information and giving ourselves time to understand that information is what is going to help us move forward. In fact, our bodies are great at giving us insight of when we need to take a break, we just don’t often listen to it. If, while reading this, you found your stomach hurting, or your palms get sweaty, or a desire to argue a point, that is your body telling you something is coming up and it needs to be explored further. For those of you that are white, try to sit in those feelings and understand what is coming up for you. For those of you that are not white, I am open to any and all feedback, but just know that you don’t not have to.

As sang in the amazing broadway show Hamilton “this is not a moment, it’s the movement.” Meaning, this is a long game and we don’t win a long game by jumping to conclusions. We win the long game by listening, by offering protection, by collectively healing all the pain and injustice that has been brought forth at the hands of white supremacy. What does winning look like? I guess I don’t know, but like I said, now is not the time to have quick answers. I am going to keep listening to BIPOC for what a win looks like. And I am going to continue to have conversations with myself and my white friends and family. I would also like to note that I am writing all of this as a cis-gender, straight, white, fat, women and there is a lot of privilege in that description of myself. Most of you reading this are white and have read this blog weekly and you have listened to me and I feel so grateful for that. I implore you to try and take that same skill into the work to be anti-racist. Listen to people that don’t look like me. Engage in their content. Pay them.

So, what is my call to action this week? If you’re white: F*cking listen. Okay? And do things that scare you, like shielding a Black body from violence or telling your family members that the words they use are racist. Because at the end of the day your white skin protects you from a lot and you should be using that to help amplify the voices that aren’t being heard. If you’re not white: do whatever you need to do right now. The world is listening to you, but it is not your job to speak if you don’t want to. However you want to exist right now is how you should exist.

A[wo]men

**I would also like to just give a brief update on how my experience with anti-depressants has been going because a lot of people reached out after my last post with a lot of concern. That post though was not to worry people, although I do appreciate that people cared enough to check-in. That post was to let people know that I am not the same girl I was and that anti-depressants isn’t a scary thing. It’s a medicine that can be really helpful. In fact, I am happy to report that it has been really helpful for me. It’s only been 2 weeks, but I have noticed a significant change in my energy levels. I have been able to get through my day without feeling exhausted, I wake up feeling like I actually got rest. That slight change in energy levels has made a world of difference. The only small draw back I have noticed is I am a bit flightier, i.e. forgetting what I was talking about in the middle of a sentence. To be fair though, I’ve done that a lot before the medicine too, so who knows. I could just be a flighty person? Either way, I will continue to keep you updated on this journey.

**Also, also this blog is all about mental health and I’ve been encouraging people to donate to The Loveland Foundation an organization that works to “bring opportunity and healing to communities of color, and especially to Black women and girls.”**

as a white child
my ears grew weeds that drowned out the noise
of my BIPOC sisters and brothers
and i worked
to pluck each one out from their roots
so i can hear them better.
and now instead of growing weeds,
i grow understanding
and i work
to make sure i don’t plant weeds
in the ears of our future.
-how to win the long game

A Different Experience for a Different Person

c/w suicidal ideations, depression

Hi all. It has been a week. I’m currently writing this with chip debris sprawled onto my shirt, no pants on, and the stain of tears on my cheeks. So clearly, I have been struggling.

After my post last week, I felt a moment of relief, as I usually do after writing. Usually that relief sticks around for awhile, but this time it didn’t. I kept doing things that I thought would bring that feeling back. I ate, drank water, ran, cleaned. Anything I could think of that usually brings me back to a good place, I did. In fact, I rented a car drove 2 1/2 hours to some mountains, hiked for 5 hours, and then stayed in a hotel room before coming back. After that hike I thought to myself “this is going to do it. This will fix it all.”

I was wrong. It didn’t fix it this time. Nothing seemed to be fixing it this time. I watched videos on tapping, I did yoga, I journaled, I slept a decent amount of hours each night. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. I even had time off of work. Nothing. Without fail, I still felt empty and sad and cried for most of the days. I kept racking my brain on what else I could do to get out of this slump. What is going to bring me joy? How can I just feel better because I need to feel better.

For a very long time I avoided the idea of medication. It was one of those things where I would encourage and support anyone close to me to use it if that felt right for them, but it didn’t feel right for me. This past week I thought about why that was. There are a lot of reasons. Most important being that I tried medication when I was a teenager. The medication made me more suicidal than I had already been. I feared this same shift if I were to try it again. I also know that stigma played a major role. I advocate for others day in and day out, but I am not immune to internalized stigma. So, I tried to think what I would say to a friend who was thinking about using medication.

Right now, I feel broken. When our legs are broken we go to the doctor, we get surgery, we take medicine. Right now my heart and my head are broken. I go to my therapist and I take my vitamins, but it isn’t enough. What is wrong with taking medication to help me feel better? Nothing was coming up except for fear of my past self. However, I am not the same person I was when I was in high school. I have done a lot of growing and I am so much stronger and I thought about how this medicine could help make me even stronger.

I made the appointment with my doctor. She had a me take a quiz prior to the visit to rate my anxiety and my depression. On the depression scale I was 19, moderately severe, just bordering severe. She walked me through her thought process on what she thought would be best to prescribe me. I disclosed the full details of my experience in high school and shared my fears. I like my doctor, she listens to me. She prescribed me Wellbutrin, expressing that she would start me on the lowest dose and we would meet every three weeks while we are exploring what’s best for me. She was empathetic and kind and listened. When I was in high school, I said I was sad, and a doctor gave me SSRI’s and I didn’t even really know what I was taking. It was already a different experience. After my doctors appointment I met with my therapist.

She told me she was proud of me for taking steps and for getting support where I could. She reminded me that my fears of medication are valid, while also reminding me that I have grown up and can be more conscious of warning signs. She reflect on the fact that my support system is now stronger than ever because I’ve talked to others about starting medication and my fears. We talked a lot about that teenage girl and what things were like then vs now. I talked to that teenage part of myself after my session and told her we were going to be okay this time because we have learned a lot. I gave her a hug and we held hands for a moment.

Once I processed it all, I walked to the CVS around the corner from my house, picked up my medication, and felt accomplished. Yesterday was the best day I have had in several weeks. Just knowing I was taking a new step felt invigorating. This morning when I woke up, I took my first pill. The orange bottle with the little yellow pills stared up at me. I wondered in that moment if they chose yellow because it is attached to joy. I held it in my hand for a moment, returning back to my inner teenage self. I said it again: We are going to be okay. I swallowed that first pill this morning and afterwards I cried, hence the tear stains on my cheeks. I cried because I felt like I was in this new stage of growth where I could really see my progress. I cried because I was trying something new and new things are scary, but it’s never stopped me from anything before. I cried because I felt hopeful.

It’s been really tough for me these last few weeks, but with each breath I take it is a victory that I can’t even begin to describe. I have been in this low spot before and felt like I was never going to get out and I did. So, I know that no matter how hard it feels I will keep going. Each moment in life is leading me to the next. This sadness right now will lead to joy again, that much I do know.

I don’t expect this medicine to be a miracle drug. I don’t expect that tomorrow, or a week from now, or even a few months from now I will magically feel stable. I don’t even know if this medicine is going to be the right medicine for me. But none of this is really about the medication. This is all about the journey that I am on to healing. Each time I make a decision to choose myself, care for myself, and honor my truth is a moment of extreme healing. I spent a long time choosing others and I was the least important person in my life. I no longer feel that way. Just typing those words made me feel free. I am important and I care about myself and I will do whatever it takes to be here and thrive.

Also, if you’ve been wondering if medication is right for you, and I know that it is not right for everyone, just try to have some real conversations with yourself, with a therapist, and with your doctor. These are all vital pieces of support ensuring you’re making the best choice for yourself. I plan to update how I am feeling throughout the next few months and my journey with medication because that is part of the destigmatization process.

So, tune in next week as we continue to battle the stigma. 

A[wo]men

put down the shame,

pick up the pen.

write.

feel your pain

write.

paint the pages

write.

-more than one kind of medicine

Old Patterns Need New Perspectives

*In the tune of the narrator from Jane the Virgin Welcome back friends!*

It has been a wild last couple of weeks. I apologize for not posting last week, but I was stranded in Myrtle Beach, with no computer, and lots of tears. Such a mess.

But I am back baby and ready to write some more.

This week was pretty exhausting. Traveling can really take it out of you and then work was also pretty hectic. So, it feels good to just be in my apartment, with my PJ’s still on, the taste of an everything bagel lingering, and the creative juices flowing. This is my happy place.

I’ve also learned this week that my happy place is definitely not in front of the camera.

On Sunday I got to be part of a really cool project called The Conversationalist which is currently in its infancy, but I imagine it going very far. The project is a content platform for people to have conversations where voices can be heard. In my interview with Sophie Beren, the amazing human who founded The Conversationalist, we discussed social media, body image, and mental health. It was fascinating because these are all pieces of myself that I write about weekly, but for some reason talking about them in front of a camera added a whole new level of fear.

I walked in and could immediately hear my heart begin to race, felt my mouth get dry, and my voice sound a little shaky. This was not something I was expecting. I thought ‘how hard could it be? I talk about this stuff every week. Easy peasy.’ As it so happens, being out from behind the computer is very different. Sure, 90% of my audience knows who I am, but my words are edited and rewrote and erased and thought through. I can write about my body image while I sit in a sports bra at home. I don’t actually have to visually see my face while I write about my face. It was almost like an out of body experience. I could hear myself answering the questions, but did I answer them the way I wanted to? Was it really how I felt? Was there more that I could have said? The answer to these questions don’t really matter though. The important thing is that I did it.

I have really been pushing myself lately to try new things. To get outside my comfort zone and challenge myself in ways I never have before. This was absolutely no exception.

Following that experience, I did the therapeutic thing I would recommend to any client I am working with- I journaled about it. My journaling process is messy and helpful. I write all the things that comes to my head for about 30 minutes. No interruptions. No distractions. Just free-for-all writing. I don’t journal as often as I would like, but when I do it feels so freeing. No judgement. No guide on what things should look like. And when I am done journaling I page through all my past journals to look for patterns, new feelings, similar feelings, etc.

As I skimmed my journal this week, I noticed a theme that I was surprised I hadn’t noticed before. It starts with a desire to figure out how I am feeling- “Hi. I don’t know how I am feeling right now. I really need to figure it out. I feel like crying, but I don’t know why.” Very common reason for my journaling to start. Following that there tends to be a message about how I am feeling about myself- “I don’t like my body right now. I feel fat. I feel stupid.” Which then leads to a discussion about my desire to find love- “I miss my ex. I wish I had a boyfriend. I hate being alone. Will anyone ever love me?” Of course that leads to my existential crisis about this- “I don’t need a man. What am I talking about? I am great. I am a goddess sent from above. I WOKE UP LIKE THIS.” With a conclusion about how I am going to move forward- “I need to keep going. I need to work out. I need to eat better. I need to take care of myself and the rest will follow. You’ve got this girl. Now go on, stop writing, and make a move.”

Sundays journaling exercise was no different. I felt sad about feeling sad about my body as I sat in front of that camera and talked about body-positivity and self-love. I felt like a hypocrite and confused. I felt like I left out parts of myself because I was in such a panic and desire to come off as cool, calm and collected. I wished I had someone to be there with me. I wanted to call my ex and tell him. I challenged those thoughts. I told myself I was great and even if I don’t remember exactly what I said I am sure it sounded just fine. I wrote about how doing something new is always going to create new feelings, scary feelings, and I am going to want to resort to old ways. “Stop that” I wrote.

All in all, it was a very cool experience and I am glad I was part of the conversation. I feel grateful that I pushed myself out of that comfort zone and I tried something new. As I looked through my journals though I realized I also have to try something new when it comes to writing. I need to break these patterns of thoughts that have been inherent in my writing for so long. Can I write a post without talking about boys or my body? Can I discuss my emotions that aren’t centered around fear? Can I expand my writing to be more? Of course I can, I can break any cycle that I want. I am in control, after all.

So, in order to help me break my cycle I have decided to add a new layer to my blog. I am still going to write and discuss my own life experiences, but I would also like to incorporate other people’s life experiences. Once a month I would like to feature someone else’s narrative. I will interview the person and find out what story they want me to tell. New perspectives, I believe, is the best way to break any cycle. Sitting in front of that camera, being front and center, was a new perspective for me. Giving people the opportunity to sit front and center in this blog can be new perspective for me and others that I believe will lead to even more connection. I want this to be a place where new ideas and experiences are shared. This is an concept I have been toying with for awhile and I am very excited to see where it takes me and what stories I get to be a part of along the way.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in sharing their story with me, please follow the contact link here or hit the contact button at the top of this page.

A[wo]men

*For more information on The Conversationalist follow the link*

Invite the Negatives

This week was hard. That is the best way I know how to describe it. If you know me at all, you know that I feel with all of my being, and I took a beating this week. Not only did I have personal issues, but I had hard work decisions, family messiness, and (as we all had to experience) the slaughtering of children in a school… again. This week was just hard.

So, I sit here trying to decide what I want to write about. What piece of life will bring the happiest ending to a not so happy week. I don’t think I have processed any of them enough to find some powerful wisdom to end my blog with. All of them still hurt. And maybe that is the point for today; sometimes life is just hard and there are no magic words that make it better. That is okay.

I feel that in our society we are apt to think that the only thing we should want to feel is joy and if we don’t feel joy we have somehow failed. As Emma Gonzalez so gracefully proclaimed, “We call BS!” It is okay to feel upset and angry and sad. In fact, it is 100% natural. It took me a very long time to accept that. We need to care for ourselves by fully accepting all parts of ourselves.

People often think of self-care as the equivalent to treat yo’ self and that misses the mark completely.  Don’t get me wrong, I also think it is important to treat oneself every once in awhile… I have the Dooney and Bourke purse to prove it. However, to me self-care is sitting with yourself, everyday, for at least a moment, and checking-in on your feelings and allowing yourself to wholly embrace those feelings. You can also do this in the bathtub if you so prefer. I encourage all of you to take 5 minutes out of your day today and just feel everything you are meant to feel, without telling any emotions to go away. You can’t have positives without negatives. THAT’S SCIENCE.

I would like to end this post with a poem I wrote when I sat with all of my emotions, after hearing about the Parkland School Shooting.

Hurt me again.

Not because I like the pain,

But because pain is all I know.

When the gun shots sound like melodies,

The man’s force is a gentle hug.

I am taught that violence is not the answer

And yet pain is all I know.

Magical Humans aka Friends

Ah, it has arrived. My least favorite of all Sundays because I have to hear the name Tom Brady 17000 times and every time I hear his name I want to punch my own face. You may be surprised to know that I LOVE sports. If you just looked at me, you would likely assume sports is not really my thing. It’s fair. I don’t exude competitive behavior. I don’t slap other peoples butts. In fact, I find that rude.  And I don’t drink milk because it gives me tummy problems, even though it’s the official drink of the Olympics. With that being said, some of my favorite heroes and sheroes of all time are Michael Jordan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brett Favre (pre 2007), Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Serena Williams, Simone Biles and the list goes on..

This post however, is not intended to be an all day recount of my love of sports and/or athletes, although it could probably get it’s own post entirely. Have I mentioned I love sports? Honestly, as I was sitting here thinking about what to write today, I just kept thinking about my (s)heroes. Which then of course reminded me of this board game that I play with my clients, which includes a card that ask who your hero is. Which then made me think, “Okay, what is the literal definition of hero?” *You are currently getting a look into how my brain works, scary** Turns out the definition of hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

I’ve got to be honest with y’all, this week has been full of a lot of intense things. I don’t want to get into the details because most of them are not my details to share. I have friends that have a lot on their plate and every time I hear a new challenge they are facing I just think about their courage… bet you can see where I am going with this. Today, I would like to write a post honoring my friends because they are my heroes and because they deserved to be recognized. And even though I love sports, I would much rather watch my friends get rings and paid billions of dollars for doing what they do. They are some of the worlds best people ever created and the greatness they bring to this world often goes unnoticed.

Life is scary right now. I am sure you have all felt it. January was like a whole year long. It’s the dead of winter and every day there is something new in the news that makes me want bury my head in the sand. I am convinced the old saying ‘when it rains it pours’ was created in the month of February because it is flooding. Every conversation I have had with my friends this week has not been light. It seems we are all going through something and I just want to reach through my phone and give them a big hug. I hope that when they read this post they can feel my hug. I want them to feel safe.

Because that is exactly what they do for me. Last week, when I wrote about my depression my friends reached out. From millions of miles away my friends took my hand and told me I was going to be okay because that is the type of people I have managed to bring into my life. Happy to report that I woke up today without the whispers of depression in my ear. Writing this post didn’t feel like a chore. It seems the cloud has lifted. I am often a skeptic when it comes to miracles, but I am telling y’all my friends are magic.

Without dragging this post out to a novel (because I could really write a whole book on the greatness of my friends), I would like to keep it short and to the point.

Dear friends,

I see you. I hear you. I love you. 

Yours truly,

Sarah

No Words Needed.

I set every intention last night to wake up and write about one of my #metoo moments. The bravery of those who have come forward has been both heartbreaking and comforting. I woke up this morning and decided I don’t want to share it. I don’t have to share it. And most importantly the world does not need to know it right now.

What the world does need to know, and more importantly what my readers need to know, is that they are not alone. All these rally cries are warm hugs by those who want to break down the toxic system. These rally cries are about the victims and survivors. Because we are both victims and survivors. People are quick to cast judgement on someone who claims to be a victim. “GIRL, YOU ARE A SURVIVOR… NOT A VICTIM.” No. We are both; we suffered… we may still be suffering. AND we are living.

I felt so proud of the marches that were held all around the world yesterday (there were none in Craig, AK that I found, but I did walk outside with my feminist shirt on and marched around in the rain… so, yeah.) One year later and we are still marching for black and brown lives, for women, for science, for lgbtq+ community, for dreamers, for those who can’t march. I couldn’t help but think of the Hunger Games, because hellloooo THE DYSTOPIAN FUTURE IS NOW. I am watching the speakers that have such beautiful and poetic things to say and I am picturing J.Law looking into the camera saying “If we burn, you burn with us!” This thought gave me all the good tingly revolution feelings because it is about damn time. “Their time is up” as Oprah, said.

And while all this magical goodness is going on around me, I am also very aware of the scary side of things. The things that often keep people inside, under their covers. The fear of war and corruption and literally all of us burning. I am so wholly aware of this that I watched several hours of awesomely terrible cable yesterday to try and distract myself from it. Just so ya know, most everyone did say “yes” to the dress.

Which brings me to why I am not going to write about my #metoo moment today. I will some day, just not today. Today, I would like to use my love interest as the center of this post. *My whole family just gasped and whispered, “Sarah is finally in love!!”* Sorry, fam. I am talking about photography. I did not mean to get your hopes up. I have felt a passion for photography ever since I was a kid. The thing I love most about a picture is not that it is worth 1000 words, but rather it needs no words at all. A good picture leaves you speechless. In a time where words are cutting like knives, I would like to get rid of my weapon for a moment. The series of photos I am going to leave you with date all the way back to 2008. These are some of my favorite pictures that I have taken throughout the last 10 years, in order of oldest to most recent. Of course, I would have many more before 2008, except during a serious dark depression in high school, I got rid of everything on my Facebook. I was v. dramatic, #hormonesmademedoit. It really worked out though because 10 is a solid number. I will not tell you what these photos mean to me, but rather I hope you look at them and perhaps one (or more) may leave you speechless.

let go photobranchcostacalireflectionferris wheelnycwisco skynyc2Screenshot (6)

If you are interested in seeing more of my pictures follow me on insta: @sarahlorrainerobinson

Finding Your Cheerleader

Hello all! I hope you are having a fantastic weekend and if you are not that is okay too. Sh*t happens, amiright?

In fact, I am right. That was a rhetorical question in case you didn’t know. I know I am right because as I type this the news is playing in the background… It is dark and depressing and sometimes makes me want to throw my television out the window. Except, I can’t because I am currently living in a furnished apartment, so the TV is technically not mine.

I am often asked why in the world I even watch the news? Most people have stopped, I know this. Heck, I stopped for a long while. Partially because I didn’t have cable in New York and partially because I knew if I watched it, it would only deepen my depression. For those of you that still can’t turn it on, don’t. Be selfish. That may sound like I am being mean and calling you out, but I am being 100% genuine here. The word selfish gets a totally bad rap, but I think it is something that needs to be discussed. When people think of the word selfish they often think of that episode of Friends where “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.” Neither do I… but I am talking about a different kind of selfish. The kind where your happiness comes first. It has to come first. If you don’t put your happiness ahead of others you won’t be able to give the world the best parts of you. So, technically it is a disservice to those your truly want to help. Don’t keep up with the world if you feel like you can’t. Sure, I like people to be informed, and more than that, I like people to feel as safe and in control as they can. This idea is proving to be difficult, because even when we turn off the TV we hop onto social media and see things like #icantbreathe #metoo and #shitholecountries trending.

Something we can control though, is how we decide to navigate this scary world. I try to navigate this world with laughter, “aww” moments, and deep deep breathing on a regular basis. I cry, often. No dry eyes over here! I love to cry. It is this sense of relief that is unlike any other. Sometimes I go for a run. Yesterday, I went for a run and ended up skipping/dancing down the street because my playlist was bumping. Most days I talk and I talk and I talk. On Sundays, I write. The important thing I would like to note with all of these activities is that none of them dismiss the bad. None of them let me hide from what is going on, I can’t push it under the rug. All of them help me to live in unison with the bad.

And while it does seem like I am very fixated on the bad stuff going on, I want to stress the importance of finding the good as well. As Timon and Pumbaa once said “ya gotta put your past behind ya… Hakuna Matata.” Of course they were escaping, not living with the bad. They tried to push it under the rug and we all know how that ended up. In world of Simba’s.. be a Nala. That was a weird Lion King tangent… anyways… All I am saying is that when I watch the news I also see things like penguins being weighed at the zoo and a town rallying to help a flood victim in need. There is good all around us, we just have to keep an eye out for it, and if we don’t see the good, the good can be us.

I often think back to the day after the election where I couldn’t move, paralyzed in fear. It was the same exact feeling I got when I took self defense. At the end of the class, the only way to graduate was to fight a man in a huge protective suit. As soon as my fight started he grabbed my legs and I fell to the ground. I definitely blacked out for 5 seconds. The class actually tried to prepare us for that moment, but somehow I was still in pure shock. I couldn’t move. When I came to, all I could hear was my coaches yelling “FIGHT BACK, SARAH! FIGHT BACK!” Through my fear I pushed him off of me, wailed on his head just long enough to escape. I was the last one to fight and naturally I spent our graduation party crying, but it was the most freeing moment of my life. Through the tears and the anxiety I fought back.

It isn’t easy to fight back. Some days the bed calls my name and I want to lift the sheets over my head. Some days depression whispers my name and I don’t want to shower, or brush my teeth, or move. Some days are the days I know I have to fight back. It wouldn’t be possible without the cheerleaders though. My family and friends who are always encouraging me to get back up. We all need a cheerleader in our life when we black out for those 5 seconds to wake us up and tell us to fight back. If you don’t have a cheerleader currently, that is what I am here for.

My dear reader, if you are paralyzed on the ground right now “FIGHT BACK! FIGHT BACK!” and if you can’t fight back right now, I’ll be here to keep cheering you on until you are ready.