Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How do you love yourself?

This question has been at the forefront for me since Friday. Between the inauguration and all that has followed-daily horrifying executive orders, continued reports of emotional and physical violence by those validated by our leadership's dangerous example, the individual tragedies of friends, and my own personal sadness, frustration, and exhaustion, I have to ask myself and others: how do you love yourself? When individuals and society tell you that you are not worthwhile, that you are not valued, and that they do not care-how do you convince yourself they are wrong?

I read. Anything that will help me escape from the current reality, even if it seems a little too relevant (I'm looking at you, 1984, Animal Farm, The Handmaid's Tale...). I'm lucky enough to have access to the digital library Overdrive through my library card, so I never run out of books to read-even if I don't think they are they highest quality literature. I'm also blessed in my friends-of-friends. I was at a gathering Sunday night and talking to a friend when the lovely hostess came up to me with two books. She said, "I don't know exactly what's going on, but I think you need these." They are two completely different books, but she was right. The (much) lighter read is Shit Rough Drafts by Paul Laudiero. You can read his blog here, but I recommend going ahead and ordering the book from Amazon-or even better, your local independent bookstore! 

The other is a book of poetry and prose, milk and honey by Rupi Kaur. Warning: do not read this on the commuter rail or coffee shop. You will cry in public and you will get weird looks. It is writing to savor, to read as you are swaddled in blankets drinking your favorite tea (or wine, no judgment here). Again, do yourself a favor and just purchase it here or go back to your equivalent of Literati Bookstore, one of my favorite places in Ann Arbor, MI. 

I listen to music. Whether I want to wallow, rage, or pull myself up, music can do it. This post will never end if I write about all the music I've been listening to, so I'll just name one-ok two-for each need. 
Embracing the sadness: Joshua Radin. Anyone who knows me can't be surprised by this-I've loved his music since high school and while I will always enjoy and appreciate it, his ability to speak to pain is amazing. Tristan Prettyman. Her album Cedar + Gold just has too much to relate to right now-even if the details are different, the emotions are the same. 
Fighting back: the soundtracks from Hamilton and Wicked. These may be cliche at this point, but oh well! Singing along to "Defying Gravity" and "My Shot" energize me on a personal and political level to keep going. We will win.
Simple cheer: this is when I get nostalgic. 90's pop, the a cappella music I listened to in high school, classic Disney...pure fun, and of course songs to which I can sing along.

Oh, and "No Man's Woman"...combines nostalgia (thanks mom!) and ass-kicking. :) 

The power held and imparted by art is truly amazing. There are other forms of self-care I engage in which I will come back to another time...but I never tire of finding more.
This is not a rhetorical question: how do you love yourself? Even if you don't want to share, take some time to think about it. And do it. 

You are worthy. You are loved.


P.S. Don't forget to continue taking action: Rolling Stone has some ideas. 

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