Constant Vigilance: Self Care in the Age of Trump
It's only been three weeks, and as anyone up on politics can tell you, it feels like Donald Trump's first term as president should be half over by now. We're not even out of the first 100 days, and he's also reinstated the Global Gag Rule on Abortion, banned refugees and people from Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US, started several international incidents, yelled at CNN in a press conference that they're fake news, and made a huge fuss about the size of his crowds.
We have a president who is both completely unaware of what his job actually means and one willingly to do whatever it takes to put himself in front of massive cheering crowds again. It's fairly clear that what Trump enjoys most is the rallies that were a fixture of his campaign, and the day to day work of the Presidency bores him. This, combined with a staff hungry for power and lacking moral scruples, is a dangerous mix for the American people. He wants people to clap for him. So he signs whatever's put in front of him.
Need evidence? Word is, he didn't even read the executive order appointing his chief strategist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council before signing it.
All this can be immensely overwhelming for people trying to pay attention. We are battling Hydra—one battle is won and three more spring up. Any loss of focus could be disastrous. And there are a dozen different things pulling us in different directions that all seem to be The Most Important Thing to Know. I've spent an immense amount of my time over the past three weeks glued to Twitter, looking at the analysis, and alternately panicking or sighing and putting my phone down.
In the midst of an incredibly busy, up and down life where I don't know what's coming next, and what's around the corner, personally or politically. Trump could decide tomorrow that he really doesn't like Australia. Or New Zealand. Or any one of our long-existing allies. More realistically, he could pass an executive order restricting my movement throughout the country as a queer woman. And there's a pressure to be aware of it all while also taking great care for yourself.
So that all leads me to the question: what does self-care look like in a time of Trump?
It looks like turning off Twitter for an evening and going to the science museum with your friends.
It looks like getting a nice latte and staring into space for a little while.
It looks like playing a video game for a little while when you really really just need a break.
It looks like a bubble bath.
It looks like doing everything you can to stay in the fight without burning out.
It looks exactly like it did before January 20th, just with some additional precautions for safety and understanding of others. It looks like understanding that not everyone is in a position to speak up, even as the resistance grows. It looks like checking in with our friends to make sure they're doing okay just as we're checking in with ourselves. It looks like making sure our community is okay as well as our own hearts.
We need our community now more than ever. We need to be able to love each other, to develop grace and acceptance and persistence for a better world. Self-care in an era of constant vigilance is still necessary. It is still important. It is still part of us.