This OTYCD post originally appeared in August 2018.
Believe It, You Matter, Part IX: Yes, it’s exhausting. All of it. Everything. Get rest and come back.
Sarah Jane here. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries on OTYCD.
Let me tell you–there are times when I just can’t even with this fucking administration. Really.
I could only listen once to the ProPublica secret recording of the small children who had been separated from their mothers. I needed hours to put myself together after hearing the little girl who repeated that phone number, and I needed those hours because I would have been that kid in that situation, repeating those numbers like a magical spell of protection, over and over, until the spell worked.
I’ve had to detach myself from the news for days on end for the sake of my own mental health. I’ve had to do that more frequently of late.
It’s not just you.
Too much is going on.
The Trump administration is a container ship full of Dumpsters, all of which are on fire. But that container ship full of flaming Dumpsters is itself on a container ship that’s designed to deliver container ships, and every last one of those container ships are full of flaming Dumpsters. It’s Dumpster fires all the way down.
Superman would be hard-pressed to fix all this shit. Superman would be hard-pressed to simply keep track of all this shit as it happens.
Superman doesn’t exist. You do, though, and so do countless millions who have been resisting this administration since the morning after the election.
In a post OTYCD first published in March 2017, we included a link to a TEDx talk about the tipping point for an effective resistance movement. If 3.5 percent of the population are on board, the movement can succeed.
To update the figures given before: America’s population is just shy of 327 million. 3.5 percent of not-quite-327 million is 11.4 million.
Oh, we got that. We can muster at least 11.4 million resisters. As that March 2017 OTYCD post notes, between 3.3 million and 4.6 million Americans came to the 2017 Women’s March, held a day after Trump’s inauguration. Since then, he’s only continued to turn people off and lose them completely.
But to get that, we have to have each others’ backs, and we have to take periodic rest breaks. Self-care is crucial. Authoritarian regimes aim to tire out their populations with onslaught after onslaught until they give up and give in.
We can’t afford to do that. We can sustain a long fight. But we need to be smart and careful with our resources and ourselves.
Have you seen any BBC nature documentaries? Not long ago they did a great one that included penguins, and in particular, had a segment on how Emperor penguins help each other survive the Antarctic winter [scroll down to see the time-lapse video.]
The Emperor penguins huddle as a huge group, and the group constantly rotates so no penguin is on the blessedly warm inside forever, and no penguin is on the desperately cold outside forever.
We need to do this for each other.
No competition. No judgment. No whining. Just helping each other and taking turns facing the cold and enjoying the warmth we need to prepare to face the cold again.
Hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. Get rest. But come back, always come back. You’ve got to stay here and carry on the fight.