Congratulations, you made it! Your first post-election holiday is in the books and if you’re reading this, then you survived the political minefield that is the Thanksgiving dinner table (pass the potatoes and sensible gun laws, please). You can pat yourself on the back, I won’t tell anyone (your coworker might but everyone knows they’re the one who keeps heating fish in the microwave, so who cares?). It’s pretty clear that no matter how you voted a couple weeks ago, everyone is feeling rawer than a thawing turkey these days. There are a lot of folks out there on who are struggling to make sense of the world today and figure out how to move forward. I am by no means an expert in anything other than being a well-dressed sass monster, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about the kind of world I want to leave to future generations and how (to use that oft quoted Gandhi phrase) “to be the change I wish to see in the world”. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Raise your voice: Chances are you’ve got a couple of issues that you’ve got pretty steadfast stances on. Rather than debate the trolls on the message boards, take that passion to the streets and the people! Do a little research and figure out how you can be a positive ambassador for your cause(s). Try joining an organization that is making a difference or if you’ve got a unique spin, try starting one of your own! Oh, and don’t forget to write and call your congress people! These are the people that have been elected to the legislature to represent you, so be sure you let ’em know what matters to you (Unsure who those people are? You can easily figure out who your US representative and senators are and each state has its own state-level legislature website, so google away!)
- Shut your mouth, open your ears: I know this seems counterintuitive to the last point, but it’s important to remember that just because someone may disagree with you, it doesn’t mean they’re less than you. In fact, they probably have a reason for believing the things they do. If we all turn inward and only talk to like-minded people, we’re never going to solve the problems that face the world. You can’t hope to heal a wound without addressing the infection that plagues it. So rather than just dismiss everyone as a stereotype created by the internet, try learning someone else’s story. And while you’re listening, keep in mind that just because you have not experienced something doesn’t mean it’s not a thing that happens. I’ve never experienced a hurricane or an avalanche, but that doesn’t make them any less real.
- Take care of others: December is officially here and that means that tis the season to remind people you love them. While you’re trying to think of the perfect gift for mom and pop (side note: anyone have any ideas what two people who birthed a bird boned, lizard person might like? Asking for a friend), I encourage you to consider those outside of your immediate circle and think about how you can brighten a few more holidays this year. Stick that spare change in a red kettle, pick up some toys for the tots, donate to disaster relief funds, or select a cause or two (or three or whatever) that matter to you and figure out how you can help out. Don’t have a lot of spare cash? Donate your time and skills by helping out at food pantries and soup kitchens, volunteering at a hotline, or organizing drives for those less fortunate. Don a safety pin (or in my case a shirt covered in them) to let those who need a shoulder to lean on know that they are safe with you. Figure out what matters to you and how you can help and then do that thing… and then after December is over, keep doing that thing because people don’t stop needing help after the holidays are over. This world would be a much brighter place if we all cared as fiercely about each other as we do about how awful Rory Gilmore is (and let’s face it, she’s the worst) or Hogwarts Houses.
- Take care of yourself: On those particularly difficult days, it’s key to remember the most important person in your life: you. Watch a movie, read a book, play a game, listen to music, do something that allows you to tune out all of the commotion for an hour or two (I’m reading Anna Kendrick’s new book and listening to this playlist on spotify for those looking for inspo). Need to talk it out? Ain’t no shame in that! Schedule an appointment with a therapist, find a group, or call a friend! Mental health is super important and asking for help doesn’t make you weak- it means you’re strong enough and smart enough to know you don’t have all the answers.
Safety Pin Print Shirt: Express
Jeans: American Eagle
Jacket: Target (similar)