Caring for you, specifically

I’m going to break down some reactions you may be having depending on different aspects of your personality, and help you put that together with others you live with so you can all get what you need. First, though, I’m going to say this:

Don’t go to Thanksgiving if you can’t see the people you’re supposed to be with.

You are an adult and it is your job to protect yourself and your kids, if any. You aren’t required to participate in your own harm and then have to smile through it.

(Having said that, if you do decide to go, I’ll talk about some strategies tomorrow for dealing with it. Also, if this idea of not going just because you always have is new to you, check out the book I wrote about creating a Christmas season you can live with (whether you celebrate or not). I had no idea when I wrote it how serious it would eventually be.)

There are a couple of dimensions I’m going to talk about to help you figure out how to heal and stay healthy: tension releaser vs increaser, introvert vs extrovert (which I’m not sure I really believe anymore), intensive vs expansive, and love languages. Figure out which of all of these you are, and you know how to heal. Figure out which of these your loved ones (partners, kids, friends, siblings) are, and you know both how to help them heal themselves AND why their efforts to help you can grate and why your efforts to help them can grate on them.

Tension Releaser vs. Tension Increaser: This is my own theory, based on having heard from hundreds of parents with hundreds of babies and toddlers, and observing my own kids. The idea is that some people release energy by crying, and some increase energy by crying. You see this in babies: a tension releaser will cry for 3 or 10 minutes to shut down at the end of the day and tap off tension to relax, and will then fall asleep. Often they can’t fall asleep unless they’re allowed to cry–it’s like creating white noise for them. As they get older, they need to tantrum in some way to work through their feelings so the feelings can go away. You can’t interrupt them to stop a tantrum, but you can accelerate one and when it’s over, they’re happy again. As adults, they need to connect with and externalize emotion about something to be able to get past it by blowing up physically (yelling, hand gestures, punching pillows, crying, etc), but then once they get the emotion out, it’s over. If you need to “have a good cry” before you can get past something, you’re a tension releaser.

In contrast, people who increase tension get overloaded by expressing the emotion, so that just makes them more upset. Babies who are tension increasers will cry and cry for hours until they vomit or fall asleep from exhaustion, and crying makes them really unhappy and they need to be comforted. The way to stop them from crying is to comfort them as soon as you can so they never work up into a full cry. As adults, they can talk about their feelings verbally, but letting the emotion get too big and take over their bodies feels horrible and they just get more upset. (I’m a tension increaser and if I start crying, I will cry for two hours uncontrollably, and after the first five minutes I’ll be crying because I’m crying and can’t stop. It’s horrible.) If “having a good cry” sounds like misery to you, you’re a tension increaser. Often, the way to get lasting negative emotions out is to work out really hard or do something that presses you to the border of physical pain, and the emotions get released that way.

Since the election, tension increasers are probably keeping their feelings internal and instead talking about logistics and facts instead of letting the feelings take over, so they don’t drown in the feelings. (This is why your tension increaser partner isn’t raging.) Tension releasers are crying and raging to get those emotions out, so they can reset to feel ok. (This is why your tension releaser partner is crying and screaming and punching things.)

Now, this intersects with the introvert vs extrovert concept in some interesting ways. I don’t really think people are either/or, but I think most of us have some sense of what we do when we’re in pain. If you turn out to other people to help you process your pain, you’re extrovertish. If you curl up to be alone to heal your own pain, you’re introvertish.

So think about how these things interact: If you’re introvertish and also a tension releaser, you just want to go someplace alone off in the woods to scream and cry and punch things. If you’re introvertish and a tension increaser, you just want hugs and maybe to talk about making some plans, with one person, and maybe writing things out will be helpful to work out your feelings over a few weeks. If you’re extrovertish and a tension releaser, you want to be with a bunch of people all ranting and crying together. If you’re extrovertish and a tension increaser, you start a trauma blog. (Not actually kidding.) You talk to other people in depth about the details and logistics and work through it together, but without letting the feelings take you over physically.

The next division is intensive vs expansive. This theory, created by Leela Sinha, is that intensives feel things more intensely and burn higher about most things in their lives, while expansives feel things less intensely and are focused on maintaining a regular rhythm. (Sinha theorizes that Trump and Sanders are intensives while Clinton is expansive, so people developed passion about Trump and Sanders but not as much about Clinton.) She has a chart on the front page of her website http://yourenottoomuch.com/ that helps you figure out which one you are. (Her book is illuminating, too, especially for people who have to work with the opposite type.)

The intensive vs expansive idea explains why some people are absolutely on fire about this election but others are focused hard on keeping things normal and moving on. It doesn’t mean the expansives don’t care as much, it’s just that they don’t experience their concerns as intensely. This is why your intensive partner is burning (almost literally–I think some of us have been running slight fevers since the night of the election) and can’t seem to settle back to pre-election normal. This is why your expansive partner is seemingly shaking it off and going back to work with what looks to you as if nothing is happening.

I bet a lot of you already know about the Love Languages concept. Developed by Gary Chapman, it’s the theory that everyone feels and gives love in one or two of five different ways. And if you can learn someone else’s love language, you know how to give them love in the way that feels meaningful to them, and if you figure out your own love language you can fill your own cup more easily (and tell others how to show love in a way you connect with). The five languages are: acts of service, words of affirmation, physical touch, gifts, and quality time. People allegedly have a primary and a secondary, and there’s an idea that cis men have physical touch as one of theirs (although I wonder if that’s simply a result of how we socialize boys in our culture). There’s a quiz on the Love Language site to figure out which one(s) are yours, and you can use it to figure out your partner, kids, boss, etc. (Although I’m betting a lot of you can tell which one is yours just by reading the list.)

This explains why sometimes when you try to give love to someone they seem not to care, or even to get angry, because it’s not what they experience as love. And vice versa. Maybe you really need a hug, but someone tells you how great you are. Maybe you just want to hear that you did a wonderful job, but the other person gives you a present instead. Maybe the other person just needs a little present, and you plan an afternoon together. These mismatches cause problems all the time, and they’re easily remedied if you learn your own language and the one of the people you interact with most often.

SO. Let’s put this all together and figure out what you need to be doing for yourself, and how to create the right container for your loved ones to do for themselves.

1. Does it help you to get the bad feelings out physically by raging or crying before you can move on? Or do you need to prevent the emotions from taking you over physically and instead need to be calm to increase your calm?

2. Do you feel better processing with others or by yourself?

3. Do you get into things intensely or do you like to keep things on a steady, even keel?

4. What’s your love language?

Now that you know these, you know how to proceed. If you’re an extrovertish tension increaser intensive with the love languages acts of service and gifts like me, you’re going to do something for other people right away that involves connecting with other people, and crying won’t make you feel better so you don’t even bother, and you let yourself go deep into action plans or theory or whatever grabs your attention. Set timers to remember to eat and sleep. When someone makes you a cup of coffee or gives you something that reminded them of you, it makes you feel nourished. Anyone who wants to show love to you should do something for you or give you a present (even if it’s free) and make contact with you when you need to be around someone.

If you’re an introvertish tension releaser expansive with the love languages physical touch and acts of service, you’re going to go off alone to your cave (I hope you have a cave) and cry or rage and then get back to work as soon as possible to make yourself feel better, and as soon as you’re back from the raging and crying you need hugs and/or sex and then for things to just be normal daily work. Anyone who wants to show love to you should leave you alone and trust that you’re healing yourself, and then when you’re ready to be back with them they should do things for you and give you physical touch.

If you’re living with more than just you, I’d get serious about figuring this out, today, and actually write it down for yourself and everyone you live with, to give yourself a cheat sheet for the weeks and months (and, God help us, years) ahead. I’d divide it up into columns for tension releaser/increaser, introvertish/extrovertish, intensive/expansive, love languages, and then a “what to do” column and a “what not to do” column. Mine looks like this, for me and my kids:

Chart of three names down the left column, with columns across the top for categories of behavior preferences

Then start taking this seriously. Tell your people specifically what they can do to make you feel love. Do the things that make your people feel love. Protect each other’s uniqueness. Give your people space to be alone or to cry or talk or whatever they need. Ask them to give you the space you need to be able to do what you need.

Now, here’s an assignment for everyone for trauma recovery: Go outside into nature and walk for twenty minutes, if you can and it’s safe for you to do so. While you are walking, focus on making your breath even and pay attention to your exhales. Breathe in and then observe yourself breathing out. Find any pace that feels good. Just keep paying attention to that exhale. When you come back, get a glass of water and drink it slowly.

All my love,

Magda

Caring for kids in this middle-term period

It’s time to dig in with self care. I think most of us are out of the shock phase and are realizing that this is the next four years and we have to prioritize our emotional and physical health to be able to get through this and keep resisting. And that we have to ask for help from others and give others help, too. So I’m going to talk about figuring out what best to do for yourself tomorrow, but first we need to talk about the children.

It is absolutely crucial that we keep caring for the kids in our lives. (You can define “kids” how you want to.) They are so vulnerable to stress and trauma right now (and kids 14 and older were either in utero or little when 9/11 happened, so they’re getting another major national trauma dropped on them, and that’s a big deal for their young systems). We need to do everything we can to protect them from stress and fear and trauma, because the more hurt that happens to them now the more their systems will be set on high for the rest of their lives, and they’ll have emotional connection problems, attention and focus problems, and health issues.

To frame how to respond to your kids: They need to know that the world is an inherently safe place for them and that you will keep them safe. And that bad things happen, but they can be the helpers and other helpers will show up, too. They have a right and obligation to defend their own boundaries and health. Life goes on AND we keep working to make things better for others.

A list of what to do:
1. If they’re already in an unsafe or unstable situation, accelerate your plan to get them out of it. Unhealthy family dynamics, school that’s written them off, lack of physical safety–all these are rough on kids and you need to figure out how to protect them and get them out. If you can’t get them out, stay as close as possible and keep validating them.
2. If everything’s normally ok in their lives, keep everything as even and boring and normal as possible. Even if you’re not sleeping and feel like you’re in crisis mode, keep it together for your kids and keep interacting with them with humor and warmth.
3. Don’t let them see you worrying, and don’t rant about what could (is probably going to) happen in the next four years, or about what horrible people are coming into power.
4. Do let them see you pushing back on elected officials by calling their offices, going to protests, organizing. Talk to them about running for office (I’ve heard a few people saying you’d love to run for something but don’t want to take time from your kids–your kids need to see you working for the world, so float it to them and see what they say and I bet they’ll be in favor). Talk to them a lot about helping other people who are vulnerable and making connections with people who aren’t like you. Bring them along when you organize bridge-building groups in your house of worship or community groups. Talk about institutionalized racism and for-profit prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline and how they can refuse to be part of punitive systems that hurt other people. Talk specifically about race to help them build correct models in their heads instead of filling in gaps with what they pick up from the culture.
5. Ease up about their grades and behavior at school. They are worth so much more than those things.
6. Model and practice being helpers, so they see themselves as people who act, not people who are going to be hurt. You may already do some form of talking about and rehearsing what to do if there’s a fire in your living space and maybe about what to do if you encounter a car accident or some other kind of accident. Keep going with that but add in what to do if you see someone being attacked or harassed. We know that if you rehearse what you want to happen, you’ll be able to do it when it’s time to.
7. Model and talk about talking kindly about other kids AND standing up for kids who are being spoken to unkindly. So many of the parents I know are hurting because their children are scared for their friends at school, not themselves, so learning to defend friends effectively and consistently is important to empower them.
8. Hugs and hugs and hugs. Go run around outside until they’re sweaty and out of breath, if they can do that. Then more hugs.

Here’s a bonus assignment that is actually a little bit of self-care: Write a thank-you (note, email, Tweet, text) to someone who’s helped you in all of this. I just wrote one to my middle schooler’s teacher who said some really validating and calming stuff to her classes the day after the election.

Ok, tomorrow we’re going to talk about how different people need to process and care for themselves differently and how to figure out how to help yourself AND also how to help the other people you live with by figuring out what they need AND how to not butt heads and make things even worse with conflicting needs and expectations.

We can all do this.

All my love,

Magda

It’s ok to feel sad

Two friends asked me for this post. One because she’s seeing friends posting, mired in guilt over not having done enough to prevent the results of the election. And the other because she’s seeing friends posting about being so sad about the election and other people telling them that they can’t afford to be sad and they have to act. So let me start with the first one.

Guilt is utterly useless unless it spurs you to change something. For instance, if you’re in the middle of a situation and are acting the wrong way and you feel guilt about that and it makes you start acting a better way, then that guilt is useful. But otherwise, guilt after the situation is over never does anything except weaken you and get you stuck in a self-centered echo chamber of wallowing.

So forgive yourself. You might have to be really purposeful about this. Sometimes we take blame for things because it makes us feel like we have control over things we’re afraid of not controlling, or because guilt gives us an adrenaline hit, or because we’re already feeling so bad that we might as well stoke the fire of feeling horrible. If you’re a tension increaser you’re in danger of doing this because once you’re physically upset you need to keep going so you need more fuel to be upset about. So deescalate with yourself and then forgive yourself.

Then, think as unemotionally as possible about what actually happened and what else you could have done. Is there something you can learn about what to do in a similar situation in the future? File that away. Now, is there anything you can do to make amends right now? In this situation, not exactly, but you can start making calls and supporting people the way then ask to be supported.

Side note: Here’s something I keep seeing people getting massively twisted up about–helping other people. It is not help if the other person doesn’t want it. When you get a great idea to help someone, ASK THEM if that’s the best way for you to help them. If they tell you it’s not, don’t get upset, just ask them what you can do instead, and then do that. If you ask them and it is what they need, then you get double pleasure from asking them and then doing it.

But back to shaking off guilt: Once you start working to resist Trumpism, you are going to build up proof (for yourself) that you’re working, and it’ll be easier to move away from guilt and keep moving. Like a shark.

Just because guilt is usually worthless doesn’t mean that sadness is. We all process things differently. I have to start acting right away because if I don’t I’ll spiral, but then I also process through work, so working helps me get the feelings out. Not everyone (maybe even most people) aren’t like that and need some time to be sad first. And different people need different amounts of time to be sad, based on personality and (and this is back to the original intent of this blog) on how traumatized you were already coming into the campaign cycle and then how traumatized you were coming into the actual election and results and now all the hate crimes and lost relationships.

Basically, hurt people are going to be more hurt and feel sad for a long time. And the fix for that isn’t to “toughen up.” If you could, you wouldn’t have been hurt. The answer is to put yourself in situations in which you feel more safe and secure so you can heal, and then once you’re ready, you can start acting. So let yourself cry if you need to. By the time you’re ready to come back, a lot of us who came off the mat right away will need breaks. There is work for everyone.

If anyone’s worried about mental health right now, my co-writer at the Advent Calendar for Depressed People put up a post-election, pre-Advent post about not letting her mental health go down with the ship that was exactly what I needed.

All my love,

Magda

A big list of what to do

Clarification: When I say “Trumpism” I don’t just mean the empty spewing hairball himself. I mean the entire machine of white supremacy, misogyny and hate that includes his transition team and their ideas, the alt-right, and the wave of hate crimes and intolerance that’s happening now.

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time; but if you are here because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” — Lilla Watson

Here’s a non-comprehensive list of things you can do to fight Trumpism. The first three are things to focus on right now, today and for the rest of the week. Everything else is a next step. You don’t have to do everything, so pick the things you can do and do them, every day, without ceasing.

1. Show up for your friends. You have friends in less advantaged groups than you are, and they need to know that you are with them. In real life, physically, and on social media. Showing up and staying close, and stepping in when they ask you to. Ask them what they need from you. Then do that, even if it doesn’t sound like fun.

2. Change the way you speak. Fighting Trumpism is the only moral choice, and you cannot be defensive about it. Stop saying “but” and “just” and apologizing for wanting basic human rights and civils rights for all humans. Ask Trumpists why they’re whining about having manipulated the electoral system into putting the loser into office. Point out their lack of patriotism in criticizing dissent. Invite them time and time again to make the moral choice to fight with us against Trumpism. Go ahead and “get along” with them if getting along means that you give them a civics and history lesson, but don’t sell out the side of compassion and truth just for the sake of peace with people who essentially don’t care about your experience or anyone else’s. Being angry is the appropriate reaction, and being called “angry” isn’t in any way an actual insult. “Obviously I’m angry. Anger is the correct response to dealing with ignorant white supremacism.” If you’re not angry you’re not paying attention.

2a. Do not ever normalize this. Never. Call out white supremacism and Trumpism and Trump himself every single time. It’s horrible every single time, and normalizing it is how we got in this situation in the first place.

3. Push back HARD on the appointment of white supremacist Steve Bannon as Senior Advisor to future PGOTUS. Here’s how:
a. Call (not email) your Senators (2 for your state) and Representative (1 for your congressional district) and ask them firmly to condemn white supremacist Steve Bannon and state that he is unacceptable. (Program your Senators’ and Rep’s numbers into your phone. Find them here: http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ and http://www.house.gov/representatives/)
b. Call Paul Ryan at 202-225-3031 and Mitch McConnell at 202-224-2541 and tell them Bannon is unacceptable.
c. Sign and share the petition from Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/stephen-bannon-has-no-business-white-house
d. Talk to your clergy member and ask them to speak out publicly and privately against Steve Bannon. Back them up when they do. Do the same with every community group you’re in and anyone who has any kind of power or platform in your community.
e. Email/tweet/call the media any time they try to normalize Bannon and refer to him as anything but a misogynist white supremacist. Every single time. He isn’t a “businessman.” Don’t let them paint him as reasonable.
f. Call every one of these Trump transition team members who currently hold office and tell them Bannon isn’t acceptable:
PA Representative Tom Marino 202-225-3731
PA Representative Lou Barletta 717-525-7002
TN Representative Marsha Blackburn 202-225-2811
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi 850-414-3300  (On-top-of-it reader Stacy told me that when you call the FL AG’s office they tell you they’re non-partisan [HA HA HA] and give you the number of the FL Republican party to call instead.)
NY Representative Chris Collins 202-225-5265
Rep. Devin Nunes 202-225-2523
Reince Priebus 202-863-8500, Option number 1

Now, other things you can do (not even remotely an exhaustive list)

  • Call Jason Chaffetz at 202-225-7751 and ask him to open an official investigation into Donald Trump’s financial arrangements to ensure that there is no actual or possible conflict of interest. Ask your own Rep to support Rep Elijah Cummings in asking for this investigation.
  • Start screwing around with data-mining whenever possible. Give bad data points. Visit sites you’re not interested in. Post about topics and click ads that don’t fit your demographic. Do anything that’s going to make it more difficult for the government and corporations to figure out who’s a target. (Is this going to do much? Not yet. But if we all do it all the time then eventually their tracking data becomes worthless.)
  • Consider running for office yourself or backing a friend who is running for office. Start doing the legwork to see what you need to file when, how much money you’re going to need, and how many people to help.
  • If you belong to a Christian church, go in to talk to your pastor/priest about partnering with a mosque/Islamic center AND a synagogue/temple/shul in your area. Form a group to be the points of contact, and have your pastor/priest make the first contact. Ask them what they need from you. It may be as simple as some dinners shared between your congregations, or holding a vigil for peace and unity. It may be more involved like having families from your church buddy up with families from the mosque and synagogue so that you know people individually and make those connections and friendships. Get people in your church ready to go register if this disgusting thing about registering Muslims actually happens.
  • Support immigrants. Call your Mayor and ask them to make your city a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants. (Did you know that undocumented immigrants actually increase revenue in the US? Even if they use social services, they’re still a net gain for our cities and country as a whole. So becoming a sanctuary city isn’t going to harm your city’s finances, while it will increase safety for everyone.)
  • Go read the Black Lives Matter platform and think about it. You probably already know that it’s a peaceful and highly effective movement that is working toward police reform and supporting the water protectors in the #NoDAPL camps. Think about how you can support the supporters. Donate, wear BLM gear to show support, put BLM signs in your yard.
  • Send your child’s teachers and administrators notes of support and thanks for keeping their schools safe places for all students. This is tough, emotional work.
  • If teachers and administrators aren’t doing that, go physically into their offices and ask them to keep your child and all the children in the school safe from physical, emotional and verbal abuse.
  • Make plans to go to the Million Woman March on Washington on January 21, 2017. If you cannot go, consider hosting a house party the night before or during the day on the 21st as a fundraiser, and send the money raised to Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the ACLU.
  • Subscribe to news outlets that are doing real journalism. Trumpism is going to try to destroy investigative journalism (because they don’t want to be investigated), so we need to support a free press that asks hard questions. For sites that don’t run on subscriptions (such as TheRoot.com) click through all their ads and support their advertisers.
  • Buy art and literature and music from your friends, especially from people of color and other marginalized people. Pay full price.
  • Diversify your media stream. Ask a friend who has a perspective you like what they listen to/read/watch. Go through the follow lists of people you admire and follow the voices they follow. (If you asked me, I’d say to start with Rachel Held Evans, Kiese Laymon, and the Kinfolk Kollective on Facebook and Saladin Ahmed, Amanda Alexander, and Angela Vasquez-Giroux on Twitter.
  • Patronize businesses and stores that don’t run credit checks and that allow people to pay in cash. Especially if your credit rating is fantastic, support systems that don’t use credit ratings.
  • There is always another way, and start thinking about how to find the other way in your own life and for other people. You can’t always win the game other people set up. So shinny out the bathroom window. Remember when Prince realized he was stuck under contract to a label that was hurting him, so he just changed his name? Like that.
  • Keep making art, whatever your art is. Protect your art.
  • Donate money to the Fund for Legal Name/Gender Changes for transgender people who can’t afford all the expensive paperwork they need to be protected: https://www.gofundme.com/fund-for-legal-namegender-changes
  • Go to protests and marches in your area. Bring your children with you.
  • Make sure your children see you fighting for them and for other people.
  • Realize that your very existence is a political act. What are you saying? Adjust your message if necessary.
  • Take a self-defense class and practice what you learn.
  • Practice with your children what to do if you end up in a situation in which you need to step in to prevent someone from being hurt. (Depending on the ages of your children, they can be responsible for standing to the side safely while you act or running to safety, running or calling for help on your phone or their phones, or filming the incident on a phone.)
  • Think about what you post on social media. Post hate crimes and reports to be seen by Trumpists and people who deny that anything bad is happening and are telling you to “give him a chance,” but don’t post if that retraumatizes you or the people reading your feed. Consider who your audience really is, so you know whether your task is to strengthen other people fighting Trumpism or to keep shining a light on the truth for deniers.
  • Make sure you know all your neighbors and everyone who lives in their apartments/houses by name.
  • If you want to help someone, ask them if what you plan to do is actually going to help them, and what they’d like you to do.
  • Start digging into your local police department and find out what their policy is on community policing and stop and frisk policies. How much revenue are officers responsible for generating? How do arrests and imprisonment correlate to neighborhood crime rates and how much do they correlate to race? If you can’t find these statistics, call the Chief of Police and ask them to send them to you. Put pressure on your Mayor to have the police release these policies and statistics.
  • What happens to girls who get pregnant in your local high school? Do they have any support for finishing school? Call your district and find out what the official policies are and what they do to support pregnant and parenting students.
  • If you are in an abusive relationship (even if it’s “not that bad”) start making plans to get out. Yes, this is a political act, especially if you have children.
  • Read Shirley Chisholm’s autobiography Unbought and Unbossed.
  • If it’s safe for you to do so, change your profile picture or wear a button to show that you’re in the resistance.
  • Call your state Senator and Representative and ask them to take your state out of the Electoral College system. The way to get out from under the dysfunctional system of electoral ballots determining the election instead of the popular vote is for each state to stop participating. (There are tons of benefits to going off the electoral college system, including less campaign advertising in swing states and more attention from candidates to the issues and concerns of voters in non swing states. Read this for more information.) To find your state Senator, search the internet for “[your state] state senate” and then click through to that site and look for their search function. To find your state Representative, search the internet for “[your state] state house of representatives” and click through to search for yours. You have one of each.
  • Make sure your kids know that if they have any friends who are having a hard time at home because they’re LGBTQ or gender nonconforming that you are a safe person (and then be a safe person).
  • Be welcoming and kind to kids whenever you see them. Their adults are probably stressed out and struggling, so anything you can do to help them feel comfortable in the world right now is necessary.
  • Keep doing your work. You still have to pay your bills and eat and sleep. This is going to be a long fight. Pace yourself.

If you made it to the end of this list, go have a glass of water and take a little walk outside if you can. Then make your calls to stop Bannon. There are jobs for everyone.

All my love,

Magda

Who are “we”?

A friend asked for language to describe the group of us who are so scared of a Trump administration. Referring to us as lacking in some way didn’t seem right or accurate. Because at this point the gold-plated bedpan’s assembled band of fascists aren’t just going after people who have traditionally been underrepresented in US society, they’re targeting anyone who isn’t a misogynist homophobic white supremacist (and even them if they’re not educated enough). So I’m thinking of us, the resisters, as “targets of Trumpism.” And there are going to be more and more of us as they create more and more policies designed to hurt new categories of people.

That means that people who usually see themselves as allies to underrepresented groups are themselves targets and need to figure out how to do more while still understanding the levels of harm that are going to happen. This is REALLY complicated. There are a lot of levels and thousands of years of hurt and division of groups that are now in this targeted group. I can sketch out a loose framework but you’re really going to have to let this settle in for yourself. (Maybe think about this when you’re awake in the middle of the night instead of worrying about the first 100 days.)

Some people are going to lose a lot more than others are. Some people are going to have a rough time. If Trumpists do everything they want to, some people are going to die or become so unhealthy (physically and emotionally) that they won’t recover.

Some people have always been at the bottom of the heap and have been living in a system that is actively hostile to them. They may not lose as much as others do simply because they don’t have anything in the first place. (100- 50 = 50, but 5 – 5 = 0. The one who started with 100 lost more, but the one who started with 5 now has nothing.)

This means it’s hard to make a strict hierarchy of who’s at the bottom and who’s at the top of our huge group of targets. So maybe it’s more straightforward to simply be sensitive to the fact that there are probably people who have more ability to fight than you do AND people who need care from you at every step. Be sensitive to that. Don’t get twisted in it and unable to act.

Some of the people targeted by Trumpism have been targets forever, and they have every right to feel resentful that suddenly now a lot of the rest of us are catching on to the fact that it’s a rigged system. And that some of us have thrived under systems that have harmed others of us. That resentment is reasonable and necessary for us to be able to work on the same team. Apologize and acknowledge, if you’re new to this. Don’t allow yourself to get tripped up by guilt or hurt, and don’t spend a second trying to justify yourself. Just do the work. (Justifying yourself is actually harming the people you’re trying to justify yourself to, because you’re asking them to approve something that harmed them. Instead, apologize sincerely and then make amends. You make amends by doing the work.)

That means (and don’t leave me here) that there’s room in this fight for people who voted for Trump. If you are a Trump voter who is horrified and really didn’t intend for this fascism to happen, come fight with us. We are still going to be angry at you, and it is going to take a long time for us to trust you or have respect for you again, but you can do this work, too. Start right now by shutting down negative talk in your world about people who are afraid of Trumpism and by calling out the scary stuff that’s happening. Do not try to justify yourself–justifying yourself only digs you in deeper. Instead, start fighting against harm to others. Acknowledge people’s fear and pain. Be a barrier against harm. Talk to your children about standing up for other kids in their schools. Physically intervene if you see harm. Hold others responsible for stopping harm and protecting others.

Here’s something else. You might have the sense that we are all in this together, but not have a lot of experience with people in groups that aren’t your own. You might be struggling to accept people in other groups even while you know you’re fighting for them, too. It might help if you start to frame your struggle to accept them (which may even be fear or resentment of them) as being around the central question of whether you think they’re essentially “right” or not.

You don’t have to decide if they’re right or not. You don’t have to answer that question. It doesn’t actually matter whether you think they’re right. All that matters is that you’re willing to listen to them when they tell you who they are and what they love, and accept that at face value. You don’t have to approve or disapprove. Just accept that what they say is the truth for them. And that your truth of yourself is true, too.

(It sounds too simple to work, but it does. I’m not sure how to describe this well, but there’s a place we all tend to grip down hard on in our chests when we’re trying to figure out what’s right. Let go of that like you’re letting go of the bar on the roller coaster so you can put your hands up in the air while you come down the hill. Do you feel that looseness when you aren’t burdened with the responsibility of making a judgment? You’re still safely in your seat, but you’re about to learn something good. If you need to grip again to get your balance, go ahead, but then let go when you can.)

We need everyone. Tomorrow I’m going to be practical.

All my love,

Magda

Resistance

I asked Andreah at Kick Arse Designs to make this symbol of the resistance for me.

torch_illustration_rev1

It’s Liberty’s torch of welcome to all people.
It’s the light of knowledge.
It’s lighting the path.
It’s keeping the light on for the next four years.

I had buttons made and you can buy them here if you want. I bought ten and am going to wear one every day until January 21, 2021. It’s my reminder to resist every way I can, for myself and for all of us, systematically and on the fly.

If you feel safe doing it and are committing to resistance, use the image as your profile picture, on your blog, or wherever it reminds you to keep fighting for all of us. (Right-click on the image and then save it.)

We can do this.

All my love,

Magda

Love and anger, in four points

1. Love and anger go together like peanut butter and chocolate to get you moving toward justice in a productive way. The Trumpists voted out of hate and fear, and they’re acting out of hate and fear right now, physically, and in their denials of responsibility. Let your hate work its way out of you (more coffee might help) and shake off your fear, to get to love and anger.

2. Resist.

3.
How Do You Talk To Your Kids?
by Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed)

Spit out the scorpions
Spit out the cyanide
Fill your mouth with thorny flowers

Sit and hold their hands
Sit staring at their superhero posters
Explain that villains win sometimes

Tell them no one can tear apart their family

Even if it’s a lie

Tell them no one can take away their home

Even if it’s a lie

Tell them you will keep them safe
Even if you can’t

Teach your daughter to throw a punch if she has to
Teach your son to cry if he has to

Give them knives
Give them the sturdiest wax you can find

Teach them to make candles
(https://twitter.com/saladinahmed/status/797634578663866368)

4. Here is church, from Rev. Dr. William T. Barber, from the keynote address at the Economics of Race conference in Detroit this weekend. He breaks down what Christians are told to do in the Bible about economic policy. He starts at 20:45.

All my love,

Magda

A post specifically for white women from a white woman

I have been getting messages from white women expressing heartbreak at the outcome of the election, terror for their lives and bodily autonomy, and heartsickness at being blamed for the results of the election. The recriminations are adding more stress to an already unbearable situation, and feel like being in the cycle of abuse. We’re all triggered by this lunatic autocrat, and yet we’re being blamed for having elected him. Why? How?

The blame is ours (white women who didn’t vote for Trump) because we haven’t historically done anything to stop this, and have participated in the system that created this. I will break it down for you (this post has actually been brewing for a few months, long before we thought he could actually win and it was white women who would give him the victory) and tell you how to fix it going forward, even under this tyrant’s rule.

(Before I start, though, if you are having swirling panicked thoughts and can’t get the hairpiece’s victory out of your mind and body, here is my story: I was feeling really jumpy and twisted and stuck in the experience of finding out that Trump won the election, so I did a little EMDR on myself and I’m feeling much calmer and able to deal. EMDR works really well for short-lived traumatic events that happen in adulthood, so I did it. I put myself back into the period of realizing he was winning and felt the feelings and physical sensations, and didn’t try to overlay a narrative, just felt the things as they came to me. At the same time I watched this video and followed the light with my eyes. Ten minutes later I was feeling much better. If you do this, either watch the video on your laptop or orient your phone horizontally. And your pets will hate the noise, so get them out of the room first. The video is here. )

The fact that 53% of white women voted for the bloviating sphincter is crushing, isn’t it? How did this happen? How did the 47% of us not matter?

It’s because we have been conditioned to act in certain ways and have not questioned that. I am guessing that by now you are comfortable with the idea that although you personally didn’t participate in slavery and maybe your ancestors didn’t, either, you benefit from the inequitable system caused by slavery that’s still in place now. This is just a few levels deeper than that. Stay with me.

 

For centuries, white women have been fighting for survival in harsh, patriarchal systems. And the way to ensure our survival and any degree of safety has been to play nice with men and invest ourselves in those systems and structures. It wasn’t safe to be a woman alone, and a woman alone with a child was dead meat. Without the protection of a man, you were dead. So we went along to survive. Women who did not play nicely enough with men to earn their protection died. (See: Lily Bart, Fantine from Les Miserables, any non-comedic opera ever, and thousands and thousands of actual dead women who couldn’t play along)

Because these systems were so closed and we were raised in them, we didn’t see this as anything unusual, so we learned to play the game really well. Really well. And that included proving our loyalty to men and to systems by scapegoating anyone who threatened our relationships to them, even in a solely perceived way. WE DIDN’T ASK QUESTIONS.

(Right now I have part of the confession sequence from the Lutheran worship service in my head: “We have not loved you with our whole hearts. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.”)

Black women have always been our first choice of fall guys, because they were easy prey. White men told us they were animals and we willingly accepted that. This became entrenched in our culture during slavery, when white slave-owning women blamed Black women for having been raped by their white slave-owning husbands. How much more horrible can you get, to blame someone who was literally owned by her rapist for the rape? But white women did it to solidify their positions in the family and as owners of humans. They leaned in hard to a vicious system that favored white men. This has spiraled into the present and we still have pervasive ideas that Black women are oversexual predators and white women are hard-working and plucky. At this very second in feminism, white women shouldn’t be slut-shamed for anything they do but Black women are fair game (even when they’re talking about sex with their husbands). This is generations of us talking ourselves into believing lies to make ourselves feel better, at the expense of other women who we then had to dehumanize further to justify our thoughts and behavior.

Women will cooperate with each other and create enough for everyone together, in clever and easy (meaning “with ease”) ways. Unless there is scarcity, in which case we switch to competition so that we can feed our children. Men know this, and they know that this is the way to control us. All they have to do is create false scarcity and we go after each other and they have us at their whims. White men have easily weaponized white women against Black women simply by putting the notion of scarcity in our heads.

At any single second in which you think you need to compete against another woman, especially a Black woman, pull back the curtain and look for the mechanisms and figure out if there’s actual scarcity or if that’s simply manipulation. Hint: Our public schools and corporate culture are all deliberately designed to feign scarcity.

In a lot of ways this is just a neverending series of rounds of Prisoner’s Dilemma (a game with a setup designed to create scarcity via punishment), with you and another woman as the prisoners. If it was just one round, and the other prisoner was on the same footing you are and had the same privilege, this wouldn’t be a big deal–eventually you’d either get good at game theory and amass a supportive group of women friends or you wouldn’t. But this is happening on a large scale multiple times per day and your opponent is Black women as a group, and that’s the cancer that eats us individually and caused those 53% of white women to vote Trump.

Here’s a huge secret that you’re not allowed to consider in game theory, but that the field of negotiations is aces at focusing on: There is always another option, if you are willing to detach from the system and find something that honors the actual human people involved and work together for your mutual benefit. But it is not to the benefit of the men running our systems and institutions for you to step outside of their system, so they do anything they have to to fool you into going with your gut reaction to the idea of scarcity.

The 53% of white women who voted for Trump are simply leaning in to the same toxic, patriarchal, privilege-enforcing system that’s existed for centuries. They think that these white men are going to save them and protect them, and they’re willing to sell out anyone else–but especially Black women–to lock down that protection.

The problem with that, of course, is that the system hates them just as much as it hates everyone else. Donald Trump stated on camera that he takes any woman’s body that he wants. That he wants to “punish” women for controlling their own bodies. He has said in a loud voice that he is not going to protect women. But the women who voted for him have talked themselves into believing that they’re safe, even when they’re told flat out that they aren’t. They think that this is literally a game of Prisoner’s Dilemma. Or a red line system, in which anyone who falls below the red line gets cut, so all they have to do is shove someone else down below them to ensure that they make the cut.

The system as it exists–our financial system, our economy, work culture and policies, social customs, male-female interpersonal relations, education–is hostile to everyone who isn’t a middle class (or higher) educated straight white cisgender man. That means that all the rest of us are simply trying to navigate survival inside this rigged system. The optimal solution to Prisoner’s Dilemma is for both prisoners to protect each other. But for prisoners who have been beaten down by previous encounters with the system, it’s difficult to trust that the other prisoner will protect them, so they act out of self-interest with bad information.

That’s exactly why we can’t play along. We need to detach from what we’ve been conditioned to think is really true, about institutions and about Black women and about ourselves. And we need to work toward choosing other women, Black women, instead of trusting a system that hates us.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post over on AskMoxie.org about how we’re so invested in racist systems and structures in our daily lives that we don’t even realize that we don’t have to participate in them. Think carefully about how the very structure of your life is set up to make you think you are making choices of your own free will, but you are not, because there’s only one logical course of action almost all the time, if you accept the game the system sets up for you.

The system is not going to save you. It never has. It hates you and is actively working for your harm, while telling you you’re pretty so you feel like you have to trust it. These men you thought would save you voted for Trump while telling you it was for your own good. Men know that when you create the impression of scarcity, women will compete. And they use that to manipulate us. Don’t fall for it. There is ALWAYS enough to go around, for white women and Black women (and all women), if we cooperate and spin gold out of straw the way we do when we’re not afraid.

Step out of the game someone else set up for you, because the house always wins. Trust people instead of systems.

This is important: Black women do not have to reciprocate. They can’t. We have been punching them in the face every day for thousands of years. If you have to say “trust me” to someone, there’s no way they can trust you. Just do the work without expectation of reward.

Also important: This isn’t about friendship. You do not have to be friends with all or any Black women. It is about acting in their best interests. “I have Black friends” is used as an excuse for racism so often that we know individual friendships aren’t any kind of test. You can be actively anti-racist wherever you are, just as you can be complacently racist wherever you are.

Do you need some concrete suggestions of how to dig in to other women instead of leaning in to a system that hates you at the expense of your sister? I have a few that can get you started, and then you’ll start finding ways as you go. I am not good at this yet but I have learned some things, and here they are:

1. Disengage yourself from groups, organizations, systems, structures, knitting groups, professional organizations, and any other gathering of people that doesn’t specifically and proactively welcome Black women without expecting them to conform to white customs.

1a. If you have agency inside any groups, organizations, etc. that are primarily white-focused, start making changes to include and actively welcome Black women without requiring them to conform to white customs and culture.

2. Cut it out with the microaggressions. Think carefully before you speak. Is what you are about to say promoting this woman? Or are you giving some kind of back-handed compliment to try to gain the upper hand? Is there a reason you need to make a comparison here? Is this your business? Would you like it if someone assumed this thing about you? Use the Platinum Rule (Treat others the way they want to be treated), keep your hands to yourself, and remember that you don’t have to verbalize every thought that comes into your head.

3. Go through your friends lists and write down your Black female friends’ names and what their expertise is in. The next time you are asked to recommend someone for something, go down your list and recommend one of them. Keep growing your list. Keep recommending Black women.

4. Be as watchful and protective of Black women’s children as you are of your own. Give their kids the benefit of the doubt. Let them be young and free and silly and stupid. Teach your own children about the school-to-prison pipeline and how schools consistently discipline Black children more harshly and create the false perception that Black children are wild and misbehave, while giving white children a pass for the same behavior. All children should be allowed to be kids, and acting out is a sign of hurt that needs to be healed, not essential badness. Teach your kids to watch out for the Black kids in their classes and report in to you if they see inequitable treatment. Then go push hard on the schools to make things right and protect their Black kids at least as strongly as they protect their white kids. Sign up for the mailing list at BeingBlackAtSchool.org to get specific information and action points of how to advocate for Black kids in school.

(Since I have the confession litany in my head anyway I will confess to you now the only regret of my entire life: When I was going through a divorce I did not pay enough attention to the fact that my son’s white female teacher was scapegoating the one Black girl in his Kindergarten class and bullying her every day. I complained about it to the principal, who was not allowed to remove the teacher. I should have gone further with it and escalated to the Board of Education and the teacher’s union and done whatever I had to do to get this woman removed from the classroom. But I didn’t. I failed that girl’s mother and I failed myself.)

5. Believe Black women when they tell you something about their experience. You don’t need to ante up with something equally horrible that happened to you. No Misery Poker. Just because what happens to her is consistently worse than what happens to you doesn’t mean your pain isn’t real and harmful. It just means that her pain is real.

5. Look for opportunities to promote Black women to your network. Pay full price. Talk them up.

6. Show up for them and sit toward the back.

7. Bring your own cookies. Don’t ask Black women to approve your actions or bless your mistakes. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to do the right thing and you are responsible for your own emotions in either of these cases.

8. Be verbal to your white female friends and acquaintances about the specific struggles Black women face navigating the same system. Your white sisters may have no idea, and they may also have no idea that they don’t have to keep leaning in in a way that hurts Black women. You would want to know if you were inadvertently hurting someone else, and your friends do, too.

9. When you have power, use it in service of Black women. This business about Black women’s hair being inappropriate in the workplace is particularly horrible because the majority of HR workers are white women. We’re the policymakers here, and we’re being weaponized by white men against Black women over hair. HAIR. We could stop this idiocy by making policies about hairstyles and dress that don’t police other women’s bodies and focus only on safety in the workplace. As long as her hair is not in danger of catching on fire or getting caught in a machine and killing her, why do you care? Make your official policy that people can wear their hair the way they want to, and move on to something important like schedules and leave policy that allows parents to work and also care for their children.

10. Notice and call out false notions of scarcity. Refuse to participate. When you are setting up reward systems, set them up so that anyone who achieves gets the prize, not ranking people against each other. Think of alternatives. (If this is new to you, read the first half of the book Getting To Yes to reframe the idea of negotiation from a zero-sum game to creating more for everyone.)

11. Don’t coopt Black female culture unless you’re also fighting for their freedom and to normalize their experiences. Everyone wants to be Black until the police come. If you’re going to a Beyonce concert you need to be willing to wear your #blacklivesmatter t-shirt to the grocery store and support legislation to end racist laws that put Black women’s children in jail and put money into organizations that support Black families.

12. Pay Black women and people who actively support Black women money. Accept money happily from the opposition and then pass it right along. Money is power.

13. Don’t allow anyone to talk smack about Black women in your presence (and especially around your kids!). Think about it and shift the frame of how you talk about Black women to make them the subjects and not the objects. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Talk about them as you’d talk about your best friend. If you’re struggling with something involving Black women, go to the internet and look for facts from reputable sources. (If you don’t know how, ask a librarian. They will be thrilled to help you.)

14. Call out your friends and neighbors when you notice them doing things that reinforce the fear of scarcity and the framing of the world as a zero-sum game. Keep talking to them and sharing stories and experiences. Those 53% of women were thinking only about themselves. Some of them will never let themselves see the truth, but if we keep sharing human stories and holding them accountable for the hurt they cause, eventually some of them will.

15. Stay focused. You are not a pawn. The entire universe is inside you and you do not have to participate in harming others in order to survive. Once you drop what you’re clenching so tightly for fear of losing it, you can open your hand to help someone else.

All my love,

Magda

Navigating relationships with people who voted against you

I was interviewed by Kirk LaPointe on Vancouver’s Roundhouse Radio about this website last night. You can listen here: http://cirh.streamon.fm/listenlater-pl-6080

Today what seems to be going on is that we’re struggling with how to navigate relationships with people who voted for Trump and think we should just be cool with it. I want to offer you a framework for making those decisions for yourself.

Two things about this:
1. I am a Christian and was raised ELCA Lutheran, so a lot of the language and concepts I’m using here come from that tradition. If these words don’t click for you, translate into language that makes sense to you.
2. I’m assuming that we’re all traumatized by the last year and especially this week, so our first priority needs to be protecting ourselves and each other so we have a secure place to begin to heal. This is simply a physical and medical reality. You can’t leapfrog to emotional health and strength just because you want to.

A person who voted for Trump voted against you. (Unless you are a straight white cisgender Evangelical Christian man, in which case they voted against someone you love.) They voted to discriminate against Black and Latinx people, to dissolve same-sex marriages and destabilize families, to do harm to transgender people, to ridicule people with disabilities, to deport immigrants, to isolate and register a religious group, and to sanction violence and sexual assault against women. They voted to scare children and encourage bullies. They voted to incite violence and harassment, and make the country less safe and stable.

It does not matter if this is what they intended with their vote or not. They can tell you (and themselves) that they voted for him for any number of his bizarre and unlikely promises to them, but the effect is that they put someone in power who is threatening your safety and health. If someone trips and stabs you with a knife, you are still stabbed even though they didn’t do it on purpose.

Some of these people really didn’t think about what they were doing when they voted for him. But that’s not your fault. You are not required to clean up other people’s mistakes, especially when those mistakes hurt you. You definitely do not have to give anyone a pass for doing something massively stupid (because they knew all the information about Trump that you know) that hurts you just because they didn’t think it through all the way.

So what do you do? I see a few levels of action possible:

a. Cut off all contact. This is totally legit if it’s what you need to do. They don’t get to guilt you into letting them hurt you again. It’s absolutely unreasonable for someone to ask/guilt/manipulate someone they hurt into continuing to maintain a relationship with them. And it’s enraging if they ask you to have sympathy for them for having hurt you. Just no.

b. Limited contact, no real investment in the relationship. You keep the real parts of you for yourself and just let them see what feels safe for you to keep the peace. This is probably the best option for coworkers.

c. Allow them to work toward reconciliation with you. If they want to be in your lives, they need to show that they understand what their decision did to you, accept responsibility, and then work toward restitution. A simple apology doesn’t cut it. They need to work actively to make amends for what they did. What restitution consists of for you is up to you. For me it would mean needing them to financially support organizations that protect us (like the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center), research issues of justice (starting with reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander), and advocate in their own lives among their friends and family for non-sexist and non-racist policies and language. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this happened? You’ll never know unless you ask for it.

d. Accept their apology and allow them back into your life. If you feel strong enough to do this, I am not going to tell you not to. But be very careful that you aren’t choosing this option out of fear or guilt or manipulation. Remember that if you’ve grown up in a sick system in which you were forced to prove your worth, it will be your instinct to violate your own boundaries in able to be able to receive what feels like love. Now is actually an excellent time to start experimenting with what happens if you maintain your own boundaries even if it means not being approved of. (Spoiler: Other people who just accept you at face value show up out of nowhere to be your friends.)

Note that none of those options include you apologizing for anything they did, or for your feelings.

There are people who knew exactly what they were doing when they voted for Trump and how it would affect you. In that case, the only real options that don’t harm you more are for you to cut them out of your life entirely or just allow the contact you have but limit your investment in them (the workplace option). Also know that you are never going to get restitution or even acknowledgement from them. They will never get their comeuppance. They will never figure it out, and will continue to complain and blame others forever. That’s got nothing to do with you.

Hey, but what about forgiveness, Magda?

It’s funny that you asked. I have some strong feelings about forgiveness, both as a concept and in action. First, it’s entirely too soon to even be talking about forgiveness. You can’t forgive someone who’s still actively hurting you, and if they’re trying to gaslight you on Facebook by telling you you need to “get over it” or “just get along” or any of that other tripe, they’re still actively hurting you. Do not participate in your own harm.

Second, asking for forgiveness is almost always punching down. It’s always men asking women for forgiveness, white people asking POC for forgiveness, cisgendered people asking transgender people for forgiveness, etc. Asking for forgiveness just becomes another tool to manipulate marginalized people into giving up their own agency.

Third, in this specific situation, you can’t actually even give forgiveness, because it’s not just about you. Your friend’s vote hurt you, but it also hurt me and our children and everyone else’s kids and POC and sexual assault victims and [insert enormously long list of people Trump and Pence want to harm here]. You can’t forgive them for hurting me. So it doesn’t do them any good.

Now, I do think that forgiveness as a process that helps you recover from trauma is important. But in the initial concept for this website I wasn’t even going to get to that until week 5, so it’s waaaaay too early to talk about that. We will get to it, though, because it’s another tool that gives you yourself.

I hope this helps you decide how to deal with the people you’re struggling with right now. You don’t have to make decisions right now. It’s perfectly ok to not say anything to them, to tell them you need space to think about it, to disappear entirely so they can’t instigate a conversation about it with you. Do what you need to do to protect yourself and don’t get sucked into comforting anyone who harmed you.

This is eventually going to feel better. In the meantime, if you’re still really anxious, click through to this article and listen to the song “Weightless” by Marconi Union that was specifically recorded to calm anxiety. I doubted, but it does. (Don’t listen to it while you’re driving.)

All my love,

Magda

First we cry

OK, loveys, here we go.

Last night I talked about how to talk about this election result to your kids here, if you have kids you have to talk to about this.

We’re not going to take this lying down, but give yourself today to feel bad. If you’re a crier, cry. If you’re not a crier, go do some kind of hard physical activity to try to work the hurt and feelings out of your body. (I developed a theory that some people release tension by crying but others only increase tension by crying. If you release tension by crying, then cry. If that doesn’t work for you, sometimes you have to get it out other ways. I wrote this about tension increaser children.)

Here’s the rest of your to do list for today:

  1. Don’t leave or make plans to leave. This is your country, whether you’ve been here for 20 minutes or your ancestors have been here for hundreds of years. Plus, if the decent people leave, then there is no hope ever to get the US back on track to be a productive nation, and everyone who’s left really has no protection.
  2. Stop drinking. You need to have all your wits about you and be present, even if it hurts. If you can just stop, then just stop. If you need help, reach out and let someone know it’s out of hand and you need help stopping.
  3. But drink a ton of water. Sleep as much as you can. Eat vegetables. Go out and walk for 30 minutes if you can.
  4. Are there kids in your life in any capacity? Stay close to them and give them lots of hugs (if that’s appropriate) and lots of positive feedback. They can still do anything and be great. That hasn’t changed.
  5. If you are lucky enough to have financial investments, do not check your balances today. There is nothing you can do about it, and pulling out in a panic won’t help, so just move on.
  6. If you have anything to give, send $10 to Southern Poverty Law Center, $10 to the #NoDAPL protectors at Sacred Stone Camp, and $10 to Black Lives Matter.
  7. Give and receive as many hugs as you can today, from people and pets. Touch is serious healing, and you need healing. Hugs for days, real hugs, long tight hugs.

Tomorrow we start with next steps for action, examining systems and how this happened, and real trauma healing techniques.

You need to be strong for this. Take yourself seriously and treat yourself kindly.

All my love,

Magda