The Slow, Onerous Grind of Change

(Another brief reminder that I write these a week ahead of time and while I hope nothing drastic has happened since I wrote this, it might not be an immediate reflection of the day it gets posted).

The past few days have been exhausting. Reeling from all of the expected but still devasting decisions by those sitting atop the judicial branch of the US government, I still had to go grocery shopping, clean my apartment, make myself meals, do laundry, and navigating a draining social situation that was one of my biggest anxieties which I’d been coping with by telling myself it would never happen. Because it’s not like my life grinds to a halt the instant something terrible happens in the world. I still need to pay bills, feed myself, maintain some kind of social connections, and take care of myself even when I’m trying to figure out how I can respond to the horrible things happening in the world around me.

So I cleaned, I shopped, I cooked, I slept, I socialized, and I played video games. I also did a bunch of research, got as informed as I could stand to be without sacrificing my mental health, started assembling a long-term mental to-do list, and adjusted my budgets so I could incorporate some repeating donations to worthy organizations working to restore rights that are currently being stripped away from people. Now it is Monday, three days after everything went from feeling like a slow downward spiral to a sudden drop, and I am so exhausted I keep dosing off every time I sit down from my standing desk or close my eyes for too long (even while standing up: I’m actually a proficient stand-napper, though usually I prefer a corner to sort of lean into, but clearly I can get a bit of a doze in while at my standing-desk as I’ve learned today). I am bone-weary, which is a weird phrase to in this context since it is mental and emotional weariness I feel most keenly, but it really does feel like I am so tired in heart and mind that it has begun to leech into my bones. It doesn’t help that I did a more intense workout than usual this morning, but I was exhausted before I even began that.

Still, I feel like I made the right choices. I balanced retreat and action to the best of my ability over the weekend, not hiding my head in the sand but not relentlessly exposing myself to people’s horrible and idiotic opinions. I took breaks, stayed hydrated, engaged in a variety of activities, and made sure to leave my apartment at least a little bit. I had more I wanted to get done this weekend, of course, but that’s how I feel pretty much every day no matter what and the remaining list is a lot smaller than I thought it would be, especially given how much it ballooned on Friday. I just need to get through a 4-day work week and then I can rest. Or, you know, use the extended vacation provided by my employer to mark the anniversary of a significant event in my country’s past to do something about the fact that I live in a failing state. Something small, since I’m only one person, but if I do my research and align my something small with a lot of other peoples’ something small, it can turn into something pretty big.

Change is inevitable. We’ve gotten to this time in history because a lot of people chose to rest rather than continue to fight, content that they were safe and ignorant of the fact that they were not, in fact, safe until after they directly lost something. I’m not exempt from this criticism, of course, though I will say that I am tempted to be much harsher with myself than I’d be with anyone else. I’ve been dealing with a lot and I can’t exactly help people if any added bit of stress was going to make me collapse into a wreck of a human, but I also genuinely think I could have done more than I have. But that’s part of growth! Admitting when you’ve messed up and resolving to do better in the future. Or going from a more passive approach to a more active approach when you realize your passivity stopped being about protecting yourself from more than you could handle and started being a convenient excuse to avoid grappling with things that are emotionally difficult or stressful.

It feels weird to look at this half-over year and say “this has been one hell of a year” but honestly the past two years have been one hell of a decade, so maybe it’s fine to throw around a few simple aphorisms if they can help you cope with everything that’s going on. We all need ways to center ourselves, mine just involve words. And if this post felt incredibly disjointed and difficult to follow… well, that’s how I feel right now. That’s how everything feels to me right now. I work with what I’ve got.

Have a good Monday. It’s not like there’s anything worth celebrating today.

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