Now is Not the Time to Go Silent and Hide
I think right now, many of us are exhausted and scared and angry and just fed up with how things are going in the world. Personally, this morning I was a huge grouch, just generally pissed off at nothing I could find words to describe. I felt like I didn’t want to talk to or be around anyone, including my sweet kiddos and my kind husband. My emotions went back and forth between wanting to go outside and scream until I couldn’t scream anymore, and going silent and hiding from the world where no one could bother me. I had therapy scheduled for today – a video call for social distancing. From the time I woke up at 8am, I was like “I don’t f***ing want to talk to anyone today. There’s no point in doing a therapy session because I’m just going to talk about how much the world sucks right now and therapy is not going to change that.” As it turns out, that’s exactly when you need to show up and go to therapy. I tried to cancel my appointment and reassured my therapist I would still pay for the session, that I just didn’t feel like talking. He was kind and responded by agreeing that sometimes there just aren’t words to describe how we feel and encouraged me to just get on for a few minutes and see how it goes. My initial response to that was, “No. No I just don’t need to. Leave me alone.” Then, “Fine, but only for a few minutes,” knowing he was right and now is the time to show up and not run and hide, but pissed because I didn’t want to admit he was right. Just thinking about getting on a video call made me feel like crying.
So, because I can’t just flat out refuse kindness, because I don’t want to be mean, I got on that call and we talked. I spent most of the call simply being angry, venting primarily about how selfish so many people in our world are and how frustrated I am that I can’t see a solution to getting people to give a f*** about other people in this world. There is no way we can make it a law for people not to be assholes, as much as I wish it were possible. If any of you know me, you’ll know that I don’t spend a lot of time complaining when I see a problem. I get pissed and yell about the injustice and stupidity for a bit, but then I get to work trying to come up with a way to combat it, to solve the problem, if only for my tiny part of the world. I don’t see much point sitting around complaining about any problem because complaining doesn’t change anything, action does. So my therapist gently reminded me that the new organization I have been working on will do just that, help people care about other people. Oh yeah, thanks for that!
Lately with all of this COVID-19 stuff and all the fallout from it, all the injustices of our American society being blatantly revealed, I’ve been balancing on a hard edge between being angry about it all and getting to work to tackle the problem in my own micro-realm portion of the world. I’ve been reaching out to friends and family to make sure we are still connecting and everyone is mentally doing as well as they can. I’ve been doing my part to keep my family safe and well. And I’ve been making face masks that might help a few people through this craziness. But today I guess I just reached my own limit (and I know that’s going to happen again.) Today I just woke up feeling completely fed up and sick and tired of how people are treating each other, how our national leadership is showing such an incredible lack of concern for the human beings they are supposed to be leading but instead are prioritizing money and image and power over caring for the sick and the less fortunate among us. I am certain many, many people out there feel this way too, so I am not alone.
Through my session, I was reminded of this, that I’m not alone, and was reminded that when things get really hard, that’s when we need to show up the most. So, my friends, today I am sharing this with you so that you might feel a little less alone in the world. So that you can remember that you are not the only person who is angry and fed up and worried and scared, that many of us feel the same way. We need to come together in this and keep coming together after this, in order to affect change in our society.
Lately I’ve seen posts online complaining about how broken our political system is and how they feel there’s no point in trying to participate because it’s so broken. I’ve seen people post about doctors being fired or having their salaries cut because they are wearing face masks outside of direct patient care to protect their own health and the health of those around them. I’ve heard stories of people pushing each other out of the way to get to groceries. I’ve read stories of our president saying he won’t send more ventilators to governors who aren’t nice to him. All of this is very disheartening, sad, infuriating, and disgusting. All of this on top of worrying about the physical and mental health of our families and ourselves. So, I’m certain that like me, many of you are feeling worn down and want to go hide too, to escape all the crazy. That is a perfectly normal protection response to all of this trauma and you should allow yourself space to feel that and recognize it and sit with it for a bit and process and rest.
I’m going to challenge you now. Do not go hide. Do not go silent. Your people – your family, your friends, your colleagues, your community and your world – all need your voice and presence. We all need each other to keep showing up, calling out the bullshit and being angry about the injustices so that change can happen. We all need each other to reassure each other that we are not alone in this, that we have each other to lean on, to hang lights of hope to hearten each other. We all need each other to stand together for change as we go through this and once we’re past this.
So, my friends, rest and take space every time that is needed, but then get back up again and reach out and stand up. Call your friends and family, let each other know you get it too, be angry together, brainstorm ways you can help, then make jokes and try to laugh. Stay connected and stay healthy and I will strive to do all of the same. After all, we are all connected and are in this crazy world together, no person is an island, ya-da ya-da, right? Isn't that the greatest lesson COVID-19 has taught us so far?
On that note, from the wonderful Michelle Obama, some words of wisdom;
“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”
Wishing you well and sending you peace and love. Your friend,