I feel like I start a lot of my articles with the words “I’m tired.” That’s probably because I am. Tired, that is. Really tired. It’s all I can do some days to get up and get my kids (and myself) to school. There is dinner to cook. There are clothes to wash (and dry and fold.) There are floors to sweep and mop. There is homework and there is work-work and there are piles and piles of laundry (did I mention laundry?). There is my mental health and my emotional health, both of which are poised precariously on the edge of unraveling. And then there is the patriarchy to destroy.
It definitely feels like too much sometimes, like it’s just too hard. But here is a thing I know: We can do hard things. Look at us. We have survived sexual assault. We have survived abuse at the hands of the people who were meant to care for us. We have survived despite wavering mental health. We have survived despite our brains telling us that we don’t deserve to. We have survived poverty and debt and divorce and piles of laundry and piles of student loans.
We will survive this. We will thrive. We have to. Because the patriarchy will not defeat itself.
Here are some simple ways you can act today, tomorrow, next week — every day until we have successfully burned it to the metaphorical ground.
Register to vote.
And tell your friends to register to vote. You can do that here. Your vote is your voice and your voice makes a difference.
Here’s a stupidly cute gif you can share:
Raise humans that are empathetic.
You can do this by being one yourself. Don’t gaslight them. Teach them to treat people with respect. Talk to them about politics. Talk to them about the future of our country, don’t leave out its past.
You know the things to do. You know. I know you know because you email me saying that you care about raising good boys and girls that are strong.
If you don't have kids — whether you are unsure about parenthood or blissfully childfree — there are almost certainly still small humans in your life who look to you for guidance and support. These kids are our future, and we are all raising them together. Teach them about the ways they can change their world for the better whenever you can.
Take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health.
It’s easy to forget to care for yourself when you’re up to your neck in bullshit. It’s even easier to forget when you’re wading through that bullshit to try to get to the other side.
Last week, I talked about how to protect your healing heart. Also, don’t forget to sleep and eat food that makes you feel good. You can't burn it down if you don't have the strength to light the match.
Call on your feminist cis-male allies.
They are out there. There aren’t a lot of them, but there are a lot more than there used to be. Find them and enlist them. Tell them the ways they can help. Not with #notallmen but with the use of their own platforms to spread the word.
Choose a reputable news source.
There is so much information; it can be really unbelievably overwhelming. The way I combat this is to choose one news source to use and avoid the other drivel. Do I need to see Fox News? No. I do not. Literally ever. I like Talking Points Memo for its truth (but with a liberal perspective).
Keep having uncomfortable conversations.
Even with people you love (especially with people you love.) One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is to tell my dad that his support of our president is not just upsetting, not even just angering, but harmful. I did this with tears in my eyes as I told him the ways my sexual assault was dismissed. I wept as I shared the ways this has impacted my ability to trust, to be open to love, to live. These are not easy conversations, but they are necessary. He may still like Trump, but he never mentions it anywhere (Including Facebook, which I call a win.)
Lean on a support network of like-minded ladies and queers.
Curate your feeds to include people that support and inspire you. Here are a few of our favorites: Rachel Cargle, Jessica Yellin, Alk V Menon, Kimberly Johnson, How To Survive The End Of The World podcast, Handwritten Revolution, Leesa Renee Hall.
In times like these, it’s hard to resist the urge to literally hate everything. But as poet Iain Thomas said, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” (I know you probably think Kurt Vonnegut said that but he didn’t. Full credit to Iain on that one.)
We have done hard things. We can do this — if not for ourselves, for our daughters. For all the humans who will inherit this difficult, damaging world. We owe it to them to try and make it better.