Hi. How is everyone? Are you all alright?
I’m asking because it’s been an incredibly rough week or two in terms of news, with this Kavanaugh hearing thingamajig. (I’m not even entirely sure anymore what it is, besides a circus.) I just wanted to make sure everyone was ok, because I know it’s been stirring up a lot of repressed memories for a lot of people.
It seems almost inescapable. Any time the TV is on or I jump on the internet, it seems like everything comes back to that. Everyone seems to be asking: Is Kavanaugh telling the truth? Is Ford? Who should we believe?
As if that weren’t enough, my parents can’t stop talking about it–even as my mom says how much she hates that this is all everyone is talking about. I went round and round with her for twenty minutes, fully knowing that neither of us were going to change our opinions. Her side sounded old-fashioned and closed-minded to me; my side probably sounded frivolous and idiotic to her.
I have my own opinion about it, but I’m not going to foist it on you. Just know that I’m as frustrated as everyone else. And I don’t even had horrific memories popping out all over the place at me. Nothing even remotely close to Ford’s case has happened to me, praise the Lord. But I know not everyone is in my position. (I nearly said not everyone was as lucky, but truly, it’s not about luck at all–rather, it’s about human decency and I’m so so sorry that some of you have met with some truly evil people in your lives.)
So I’ve decided to come up with a quick little guide to decompressing in the midst of all this turmoil. Because let’s face it, we all need it.
1. TURN OFF THE TV. UNPLUG FROM THE INTERNET.
I’m not asking you to go all medieval on this–just take some time to force yourself away from these sources for a while. Take some time for yourself. Don’t look at Facebook or Twitter. Don’t turn on CNN or FOX News or whatever you watch. Step away from the screen and find something else to do that’s more grounded in the here and now. This is hugely the most important thing I can possibly tell you all day. You have to take a break.
2. Do Something Productive
When I’m especially upset, sometimes it helps for me to create something. It’s productive and I usually feel good about the results. So paint a picture. Write a story or a poem. Bake a cake (which also gives you the joy of eating it!). Clean your room/house (it’s so cleansing to have your personal space in order). Tackle that big project you’ve been putting off for a rainy day. The more you can get your mind off the news, the better you’re going to feel.
3. Read a Book!
Of course, I’m going to advocate reading. Losing myself in a story is basically akin to putting on noise-cancelling headphones. I tune out the entire world around me when I get lost in a good book. Reread an old favorite. Fall into that new book you’ve been dying to read. This weekend is the perfect time to start it!
4. If You Need To–Talk To Someone Trusted
For some of you, I know you’re struggling. Perhaps there’s a secret you haven’t told anyone. Perhaps it’s stirred up a lot of anxiety and negative thoughts. If it has, connect with someone who can help you. If you need to talk to someone, choose someone you can trust to listen. You may need to tell them upfront that you need to talk right now and it’ll be most beneficial if they just listen without commenting too much. (I’m pretty sure if I went to my mom with something big, I might have to say this to keep her from giving advice too quickly.) Find a friend, a family member, maybe even a professional if need be. But if you feel the need to talk to someone, then do it. You’ll feel better once it’s out.
5. Go On A Walk
Where I live, we’re kind of in the last hoo-rah of summer before colder temps really start rolling in. This might be some of our last chances to go on a long walk before fall settles in. So enjoy it! Check out the trees that may be starting to change colors in your area. Enjoy the little moments; breathe in the fresh air. Problems always have a way of feeling a little smaller when you’re underneath a big blue sky.
6. Watch Something Comfortable
I love comedies. The dumber, the better. I have my favorites, of course, the ones that I can always quote and never fail to make me feel better. I also love musicals and hearing problems put to song is something of a balm. So watch something that makes you think happy thoughts. I recommend something that isn’t going to have political overtones, since that’s what you’re trying to avoid. (For example, I love stand-up comedy, but so many of them are political anymore that I would avoid these at the moment.)
What If I Can’t Escape It?
This is a fair question. For some of us/you, this might be a reality. Perhaps you have a job at a news organization and you’re constantly surrounded by it. Perhaps your friends/family keep bringing it up. As an INFJ with strong argument-avoidance tendencies, these are the things I do:
1. When Possible, Walk Away
I have done this to my dad before to avoid blowing up. He’s the kind of person who thinks it’s funny to rile someone up and watch them explode. (I’m serious–he legit finds it funny. Thankfully, he typically knows better than to push this with most people.) So more than once, I have just given up in the middle of a conversation and left the room.
Once, he actually followed me as I tried walk away, bellowing more incendiary comments in my wake. I had to close myself in another room to put distance between us. And depending on your situation, that may be something you have to do too. Hide in the bathroom if you need to. If it gives you the privacy to cool down and get out of that situation, take it. It doesn’t matter how stupid it is if it helps.
2. De-Escalate When Possible
It’s very easy when you’re discussing two opposing ideas to eventually start raising your voice. The other person just isn’t understanding! But being louder isn’t going to help. It’s going to shut you both down further. If walking away isn’t an option, you might have to de-escalate things. If you realize you’re raising your voice, take a breathe and bring it down. First of all, you sound way more reasonable if you’re calm. Second of all, it’s much easier to say something like, “We seem to have two different opinions about this. Why don’t we take a break for the moment and cool down?” (Third, if they can’t calm down, anyone watching definitely will see you as the more level-headed one and more likely to back you up.)
3. If It’s For A Job, Unplug When You Can
One of my college roommates was a journalism major. She was a news junkie. It was everything to her, keeping up on everything happening. And some people are like that. But not everyone. So if it’s part of your job to stay up to date on all of this, then you really have to try to unplug as much as you can in your free time. Again, I realize how hard that is. But that distance is going to help you keep your sanity. It’s important that you find something else to do.
You guys, I totally get what you’re going through. This is an incredibly trying time. I find myself empathizing with all of the women who have come forward after all this time to admit what has happened to them. To an extent (my imagination only goes so far), I can understand how that fear of it happening again can rule your life. I can understand the anger some of you are feeling.
In the perfect world, none of this would be happening. In the perfect world, no one would be twisting this back on the victims. (A version of this is what I’m constantly trying to fight: “Well, if that really happened, why didn’t she tell someone sooner?” I just can’t make certain people understand, no matter how hard I try. And I have tried.)
I’m sorry. I’m fired up about this too.
Unplug, my friends. As much as you can this weekend, find some quiet, peaceful time for yourself. The world won’t stop spinning just because you stopped looking at Instagram for a few hours.
I wish you all the best.