As I wrapped up my manuscript in recent weeks and looked up from my computer, I found myself sitting in a weird stew of outrage and disillusionment, stirred and thickened by several funerals over the winter and a terrifying medical diagnosis of a loved one. I've struggled to write blog entries because I feel an obligation to present greater resolve and strength of spirit than I possess at the moment.
With the country and the planet in disarray and so much hanging in the balance, I feel like I should be shouting from street corners as I did the last few years. I figured the election would propel me into the streets again. Instead, my horror has decomposed into this stew where I sit—with one, singular mission crystalizing on the horizon like a persistent North Star: Vote. Get Out the Vote.
I'm hearing rumblings of burnout from people in every area of my life: clients, friends, family, and (of course) social media. As a white woman, I am also unnerved by my own previous inability to comprehend how long people of color have been walking this tightrope between anger and frustration. But my eyes are open now, and I'm learning and listening the best I can.
I keep coming back to a central question. How do we find the tenacity to keep going about our business from here? As Dan Rather wrote in a recent Facebook post, "In moments of crisis there is always a struggle between life going on and responding to the import of the moment. Do you fight for what is right, organize, mobilize, and pledge an all-out effort at the ballot box? Or do you gather for a neighborhood barbeque, head to the church social, take a walk through the woods with your partner? I believe this cannot be considered a binary option. You do all of these things."
The dichotomy between staying engaged and being a functional, peaceful human being is a false choice. This should have been obvious to me as I wrote my last book about self-care in the midst of crisis, but it has taken this extended arc of time for me to fully understand what it means to continue coming to life in a million incremental ways, even and especially when so much else seems lost.
So how do we keep showing up, contributing, and maintaining some semblance of joy in our personal lives? As I look around for sources of inspiration, I am struck by how different the view is now than it was just a few years ago, how many sources of illumination and fire there are to be found:
We didn't see images like these in the mainstream media growing up. We didn't even see them back in 2016. The world is changing, and there are role models all around us, unapologetically claiming their rightful place.
Don't be roped into believing that progress isn't being made. Rage if you want. Donate if you can. Show up for what matters to you. And most of all VOTE every chance you get, in every primary and local race. As I wrote in Physical Disobedience, "Our bodies are agents of change." We are making our presence known, and our health and well-being is at the very center of this seismic cultural change. Keep at it in whatever ways feel healthy for you—and if you're sitting in the stew, that's okay too. You're in good company.
Love and peace,
(Photos clockwise from top left: Sarah Hays Coomer, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez at the Superbowl, Ayanna Presley on Instagram, Lizzo at Rolling Stone, Stacey Abrams at Vogue, Megan Rapinoe at Sports Illustrated, and Elizabeth Warren.)