The obvious commentary about why this kind of activity is seeing a bold uptick due to the country being run by the combined intellect, tolerance, and timeliness of an aborted contraceptive sponge, will be skipped this time. It’s a holiday.
I’ve had a hard time writing lately. I mean, sure, it’s my job in a cobbled together kind of way, and I spend hours scrolling through Facebook instead of reading actual books and I keep reading news and thinkpieces and pieces about what to think of those think pieces and that news, and their influence lasts about half a day and it’s most likely rotting my brain, but gosh darnit I’m at a loss for inspiration! It’s like I’m only looking into a teeny thought bubble that echoes what I already know and dilutes it over and over until it’s a cat meme of any opinion I could possibly have, rendering my thoughts unoriginal and defeatist. That’s probably not it, though. I probably just need a change.
I think what I’m missing is living. I am forgetting to live my life. I have a hilarious, gorgeous, and loving husband and a smart, adorable daughter, tons of friends, and performance opportunities. But I get depressed sometimes, so it must be that I’m living life wrong. Lots of articles tell me so. Sure, I had a knee replacement in May and I’m in constant pain and experiencing a dance of withdrawal and vomiting from painkillers, but I should live in the moment. Live every moment.
Looking at the sharknado that is our political climate and our timelines full of violence towards marginalized populations, I realized...what could be more important in this moment than a white, 40ish half Jew spouting her neuroses to a bunch of people so she feels alive? Nothing. Nothing could be more important.
The internet once said, “Cherish every moment in your life, for we will all crash into the sun eventually.” That’s a lot of pressure. But I’m trying. My 5 year old is currently experiencing a renewed separation anxiety and screams when I leave as though I’m being dragged by horses to an unending war. And I just...breathe into that moment, you know? When she asks me to go with her to the bathroom so she can lock eyes with me as she poops, I just put the moment in a mental scrapbook of precious things. Yesterday, my husband and I talked about how we will never love one another as much as we love fries. I journaled about it, but really fast so I wouldn’t miss the next moment.
According to a Vox article I read on the way here, living in the moment means going back to our childhood, which seems counterintuitive, but they had a really cute photo for the thumbnail, so I clicked on it. I wanna get back to that. Get in touch with my childhood. I mean the discovering new things part, not the almost suffocating fear of school and the question of where I would be in the caste system that day, not the alcoholic father killing himself and the poverty that came crashing down once our debt ceiling crumbled, and certainly not the living on a gravel road which gave actual weapons to children who wanted me to know, REALLY FOR SURE, that I was ugly. But...the wonderment, you know? The joy.
We forget that carefree, walk and bike everywhere spirit of discovery. Life is hectic. When the words aren’t coming out, it means we need outside influence. I mean, that’s what the Buzzfeed Quiz I took ten minutes ago told me. Also, I’m a Gryffindor and a pepperoni pizza. We need to experience things, not just read about them on our phones when we should be sleeping or talking to loved ones begging for our attention. We need to rebalance, reset. Recharge. Cleanse. To get our bodies to alkaline. I don’t know what it means to have your body like a battery unless it’s the Matrix, but it’s what my friend who sells products is going for so I bought her protein powder. You know...get ourselves back to neutral. Away from inflammatory junk foods that make our liver process toxins and gluten vegan BigAg organic single source sustainable artisan nouns. (I think I covered it.) It’s time to unplug. To rewind. To be kind. To lean in. To really prioritize and recalibrate our focused resources. (Ok, now I think I covered it.)
There’s so much pressure to have it all. To be informed. To be successful. To save the environment. To remember what you were talking about five seconds ago, you goddamned squirrel. Right. Being thin. So I did the Whole30 right before I had a knee replaced. And continued it during my recovery. As I woke up and asked for a bucket to throw up into, I was handed a turkey sandwich. I peeled back the bread, eating the carageenan-laden lunchmeat, and hoping I could still consider myself on plan. Also, the president signed an executive order that day allowing churches to get involved in politics, destroying the Johnson Amendment, but I resisted. The bread. I did the plan for the anti-inflammatory properties, but I can't pretend like the weight loss is a bad side effect, because Self magazine keeps telling me it's a thing I really want. And it's called Self. That's me!
I haven’t really been living my truth since the surgery, because the truth was that I could hardly see letters on a screen thanks to drugs, let alone meet my deadlines. Also, I'm now so agitated when I wean off the drugs that I can't sleep or breathe or control my movement. Who wants to live that? Pema Chodron. That’s who. She says that we should use fear and avoidance as signals that we are close to the truth. I took them to mean I didn’t want to spend two and a half hours in the bathroom again after painkillers cemented my insides and made every meal revisit my mouth and use it as a launch pad. Also, I had no auditions from my agent and straightening my leg was torture, my daughter wanted to know when I’d be better, and my husband was waiting on me hand and foot while working two jobs. I had zero prospects for steady income, and I lie awake wondering if putting titanium rods in my body was a mistake. If these are the truths that put me on the precipice of a great understanding, I’m ok being stupid. I’ll continue to get information from listicles. If these feelings of inadequacy were the stuff of humanity’s soul, I want to be a soulless vacuum of need, because nope.
So in order to truly have it all, to connect to my inner child while remaining focused and present, I must take responsibility for my truth. That was the headline for the article from Slate I just got a notification for a moment ago. My phone’s on silent - it's fine. And that truth is that the world is on fire, and yet I still stare at my midsection in pictures of myself. The world is on fire, and I want to remove myself from group texts and Facebook messages asking me to put a heart on my status so we can all giggle in shame about breast cancer. The world is on fire, and my navel gazing and keyboard activism isn’t going to help anyone. I can have my neuroses - no one else wants them. But they need to move over. The truth of my insecurities obscuring my own view of myself and the world is really not going to open my mind to anything but more fear. I’m still white and carry more privilege in my finger than my friends of color and non-binary gender identity. I can own and cradle my neuroses, but they aren’t terminal. I will not be shot for them, most likely. I still love my family even if I miss a few moments. I still want news and pictures of your kids, even if I log off of Facebook. I might need to look up from my phone and look down into a book. I saw that on a meme once. There was a cat reading Twilight. It was adorable.
I’m a hashtag! I am representing a clicktavist slogan for change, championing a word I whisper-yell after I’ve made one phone call to my already democratic senators and stammered out a message about a bill or appointment I can’t entirely remember because it’s only the latest in a hurricane of whatthefuckery and I have only called once this week instead of 7 times, but. RESIST, I tweet at senators, hoping that someone likes or retweets as though that makes it less of a void to shout into. RESIST, I say with my smug face because I’m wearing a Diva Cup and Thinx so I can freebleed all over the patriarchy in a very clean and responsible manner. RESIST, I chant wearing my pink pussy hat and marching arm in arm with women who probably won’t show up at the next Black Lives Matter march, including myself because I had a sick kid. But she has a hat, too! Resiiiiist.
Things are not going the way we had hoped in this country, and “hope” is an understatement in the way that “napping” is an understatement for “asphyxiation by garbage bag.” Currently, we’re watching our cartoon villain leaders twirl their moustaches and burning sack with dollar signs on them outside orphanage windows, and we have decided that it was time to resist.
We’ve watched black men and women killed on camera by police, we see the numbers of murders of trans people - especially those of color - jump exponentially; we see synagogues and mosques burned and defaced. We have decided. Just now. To resist.
See, this is America. We’re really new at this.
Countries who are accustomed to dictatorships think we’re super cute right now. With our “resistance.” Aww.
Resistance is more than an ideal, and we all know it. We don’t know what to do about it, but we know it’s something important. It’s like walking into a room with a cooler full of organs and forgetting why the hell you came in there. Ahhh...there was something...I was gonna do with these…
To resist is to exist for most of this country. It’s not like this is new. It’s not like there was a moment when someone’s boot on your neck was like, “no, this is good I like it, leave it there” - but many of didn’t notice for longer than a headline click to actually do anything of about it. That’s privilege. To not notice when you need to resist.
Resist is stigmatized here, see. It’s not looked upon favorably. Delicious things and desirable people are “irresistible.” Go on...give in...you can’t resist. You deserve it, we say, despite that gorgeous person’s sugar content and that donut’s penchant for selfishness and cheating. (pause) And once you become sick from those indulgences, you’re up against treatment-resistant disease. We hate resistant things. Unless it’s water resistant. Then we’re excited. Cause...fuck water.
But Resistance is what makes a civilized society work. It happens every day. I don’t smile when some dude tells me to - unless he just fell down. We don’t slap the goddamned phone out of someone’s hands when they’re staring at it while you’re talking to them, even though you wanna. You don’t go on a murderous rampage every time someone tells you to “calm down” or “not make it about race.” You don’t tear the limbs off of every person who chews so loudly it sounds like earthworms are thunder fucking in jello, though NO COURT WOULD CONVICT YOU. And persist? It’s just resisting defeat. So.
Now, on a national level, Admittedly, we’re behind. We don’t hear “intersectional feminism” without clutching our very white pearls, and FEMINISM is still looked at as a dirty word. The worst thing you can call a racist in this country is a racist. I’m not saying resistance is futile, but right now it looks like stoned people trying to assemble an IKEA shelf - we know what it’s supposed to look like, but it’s gonna take a long time and we’re really hungry.
Here’s the key: resistance begins the moment we say “no.” The moment we decide on no, we’re joining in. Toddlers already figured this out, so let’s go.
When I was 14 years old, I was single. Isn’t that the strangest fucking word to describe a child? But that’s what I thought. It was Thanksgiving in the two bedroom apartment on the dead end street we lived on in Melrose Park. I don’t remember what we ate. I just know that as soon as it was over, my mom went out with her boyfriend. My sister went out with her boyfriend. And I sat at home, wondering what to do. So I went to my yearbook, looked up my senior crush from the previous year, and found where he put his phone number. I called him. He was hanging out with friends and only too delighted to come get me. Dreamy! He picked me up, and every girl’s fantasy was fulfilled as we drove to an empty parking lot and his friends got out of the car, took out a case of beer from the trunk and left us alone. I was lucky. My resistance was met with acceptance. I wasn’t pushed after I said no. I was, however, left alone in the car waiting until his friend came in. It was his turn. He thought that was the deal. My resistance was met with begrudging acceptance. Again, this made me lucky. It doesn’t work for a lot of people. You say no, they don’t like no. So resistance becomes another word for “fight with everything you have to keep what is yours.” Some can accept the anger of defeat. Some cannot. Some can see that what they’re asking for is causing someone else pain and suffering. Some want pain and suffering for others.
And this is precisely why Resist is what we need. It is our daily bread, and we can’t get caught in the shame spiral of not baking it earlier cause we’re here now. We’re here to listen to and/or shout at the right people at the right times. Use the right pronouns, it isn’t hard. To march and call and tweet and show up. We’re here to stand up on the train when someone is abused and harassed and not be ok with things as they are but also but ALSO but also? we must resist despair. Resist does not mean we are not allowed joy. If we smile or gather or drink or watch shitty television or eat fatty things we aren’t letting anyone down. We are not finding one cause more important than another. I kissed that boy in the backseat but I owed him nothing. I took my happiness and steered it away when someone wanted it for their own. When you say STOP is when you resist. That moment. That’s why it’s never too late. You can be late and flawed, but you are welcome. Just don’t make it about you, and make it for everyone. We will resist the idea of always being miserable. We will destroy the thinking that you must not resist in order to be happy. That shit ain’t cute. I need fries. And ranch dressing. Oh, and for the marginalized populations to have equality and to smash the patriarchy, to rid the country of the scourge of this administration and institutionalized racism, school choice and for profit prisons and government all up in my uterus blah blah blah but FRIES! VIVA LA RESISTANCE.