Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fall Chill Out, Again

I'm just going to warn you that this isn't going to be the most eloquent post I've ever written. November has been a little bit chaotic, to say the least. I've been feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally drained over the past few weeks. A huge part of that has been a result of the election--I was really not prepared for how much it would affect me. I'm an INFJ, which can mean a lot of things, but one of them is that I'm empathetic to a fault. I'm also an introvert, and introversion combined with feeling all the things(!) for disenfranchised groups affected by the outcome of the election (and hell, even for Hillary Clinton) and trying to be there for everyone hurting in the aftermath was just a recipe for emotional burnout.  The worst part was how ashamed I was of my own distress, knowing that even though I was directly impacted by virtue of being a woman, there were so many others who had it so much worse. I felt guilty for needing to step back, disconnect, or even escape for awhile, because I knew that so many people--by virtue of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or country of origin--couldn't. 

Last Saturday I sort of hit a breaking point. I realized that I had to start making my own mental health and well-being a priority, or I wasn't going to be useful to anyone else. I'm not going to fight racism, xenophobia, bigotry, or the patriarchy if I can't get out of my own head, ya know? So needless to say I've been working on self-care this week, and I've learned that, for me, self-care doesn't have to be complicated. A long, hot bath, some mindless television, a good book, some hot tea, some good music--those are the things that help me recharge and feel okay again.  I added a few new songs to my go-to chill fall playlist, and I've been listening to it a lot lately to help me unwind.

 I know that I'm not the only one out there struggling with finding the balance between recognizing my privilege and ensuring my own health, so without being too patronizing, I just want to encourage you to take care of yourself if you're struggling. There's no shame in needing to show yourself a little extra kindness, particularly when things are hard. What I have heard over and over again in having conversations about being an ally is that we should use our privilege to help others--not deny it exists, not wallow in guilt about having it, use it.  So I will--I will use it to care for myself and to care for those around me that need it, especially those afraid of what our new American reality means for them and those they love. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out. I am a safe, supportive person, regardless of your race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status. If you're a good human, I've got your back. We will get through this together. 

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