How I Keep Hope [in times such as these]

  1. Sometimes I let myself admit it would just be so nice to put my fingers in my ears and pretend this clusterf*#! of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc. isn’t happening. That lasts about a second at a time.
  2. Then I snap out of it and sign up for more Google news alerts from my elected officials, and weekly action lists. I write letters and postcards, make phone calls. I show up at town halls and go down to the state capitol to lobby for legislation that would ensure full access to reproductive health care.
  3. I donate as much as I can. ACLU. Planned Parenthood. The National Network of Abortion Funds. Backline. APANO. Black Lives Matter. Standing Rock.  And I buy feminist art.
  4. I scour my friends’ favorite blog lists and save reading and podcast and film lists for both myself and for my son. The lists are miles long and I will never have enough time to read it all, but I keep making lists. I read, as much as possible, works by people of color. I inhale poetry. Soak in music, all kinds. Sometimes, I crank up Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3 as loud as I can and just lay on the floor, absorbing the sound waves through my whole body. I sit in silence, too, try to slow down and find my breath again.
  5. I talk more about politics with my friends and those I work with. I ask questions. I listen. Try to create space for peaceful disagreement. Cultivate comfort with difference. Push myself out of my bubble as much as possible, but of course, I already know, not nearly enough. I live in a city that is 75% white, after all.
  6. I let myself cry sometimes, wondering what the hell kind of world I’ve brought my son into. But I remember, too, that play and laughter are healing. These both keep keep me from taking myself and my despair too seriously: I am, after all, among the less likely targets of any kind of violence or discrimination.
  7. I show up at work every day ready to radically listen. In each 15 or 20 or 30 minute appointment, I do my very best to set aside all preconceived notions of how things should be and just make space for what is. It’s not always easy. I’m not always as graceful about it as I could be. But I do my best.
  8. At every birth I attend, I whisper silent blessings of peace, justice, and compassion through my hands. Midwifing new life into the world is sacred, holy work, and it keeps me from tuning out and shutting down. It is impossible to do this work with a closed heart.
  9. I wake up every morning, whether I’ve slept well or not, and put one foot in front of the other, acknowledging that resisting the current political agenda will not happen overnight. I keep calendars of House and Senate sessions by my desk so I can see the big picture leading up to mid-term elections. Right next to a list of my MoC and their phone numbers.
  10. I remind myself that the alternative is not really an option anyway. James Baldwin’s words reverberate in my ears for days after seeing I am Not Your Negro:

“I can’t be a pessimist because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter, so I’m forced to be an optimist.”

(If you haven’t seen this film, by the way, get yourself to the nearest theater, ASAP. It’s one that needs to be watched several times.)


One thought on “How I Keep Hope [in times such as these]

  1. Gorgeous! Just gorgeous and I understand completely. The world is fortunate to have you here. Your son is blessed to have someone with your consciousness as his mother. What a great midwife you are … thank you for sharing your thoughts. You’ve made it all ok …

    Like

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