#Charlottesville Is Only a Hashtag For Now

13 Aug

I wanted to piece together all of the insights and opinions and fun on NetRoots Nation 2017, and how I am so excited and determined to make the most of the experience, but my thoughts (and all of my social media feeds) are stuck in Virginia, and so that’s where my head is right now.

So here’s a brain dump of today. Unedited.

I’m not sure particularly sure why this was getting so much attention ahead of time. I guess in the social media age, everything is newsworthy. When someone brought it up the day before at a session on the religious left, I dug around on Google and thought, “What’s the big deal? A bunch of idiots are protesting statues?”

It’s not like white supremacist rallies are a new thing. I guess living in the south, these just seem like regular occurrences, especially in the Trump. Even though my tiny town has an active KKK in it, I’m not fearful for my life. We just take precautions and don’t walk around our neighborhood. Seeing the shock on people’s faces when I mentioned this earlier in the week reminded me that no, this is not normal. The quick sigh of disappointment when someone suggests to “take a walk” or “go for a run” when feeling stressed isn’t something people should be experiencing.

But it could be worse, right?

When I was presented with the idea of canvassing my neighborhood to run for office, the idea was immediately nixed by my beloved. But, no. This isn’t something most people experience. I should be able to walk around my neighborhood like I see so many others do. I want to finally the meet the nice older lady who knows everyone and I always see walking around with her well-behaved but unleashed golden lab

But that’s not so bad, is it?

I guess I’m more fortunate than I think some times. Or just more oblivious and naive. Or jaded. So seeing that three people died, for a split second, I thought, “Oh. That’s not so bad.” I live in a world where a single digit death count is not so bad. Only three families lives are ruined by violence.

It could be worse, right?

Much like I’m constantly battling my brain to both bring awareness to my mental illness and “normalize” it without forgetting that yes, the way I see and react to things will be different than “normal” people, I’m also battling with the idea that racism affects me in ways that don’t seem so bad but affect me nonetheless.

Of course, this is my brain in full survival mode. Since anxiety is essentially a constant state of “fight or flight,” I have to minimize what I react to. My brain is far too full of “catastrophes” to focus on just one. So the waves of outrage all over the internet over someone getting run over by a car shocks me a bit, even though at the same time, all I can do is  post and read and watch about what has happened.

Welcome to humanity. Welcome to adulthood, where you have to measure your outrage, downplay your fear and ferociously focus on the positive. Yes, I’ll hit “like” on your vacation photos, while simultaneously trying to explain for the umpteenth time why racism is a topic I will always talk about. Yes, I can sit down and watch an episode of Ducktales while reading about the far-too-short life of a counter-protester who died trying to cross a street.

What’s weird is that people will read this and wonder why I haven’t fallen to pieces already. Isn’t she a highly-sensitive person? Doesn’t she struggle with anxiety and depression? Why isn’t she in tears right now? How can she even write? Well, currently, writing is all I can do. After a long trip, I don’t have the physical energy to do much else except sleep.

Right now I can’t listen to an audio book or a podcast. I can’t even play a simple match-3 game. I tried. I could do work. I sent an invoice upon request. Does that count? I’m making some tater tots, and waiting to wash another load of clothes, so those count as actions, right? I should be going to a vigil about Charlottesville but the drive and the socializing and the sadness of it all would be like a few more drops of water in a bucket that’s on the brink of running over.

So for now, I feed myself junk, a Spotify “Brain Food” instrumental playlist, writing, deliberate and persistent hubby affection and bad television. It’s not ideal self care, but it’s all I can do right now.

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