I know I am not alone in my feelings since the November election. Anger, surprise, exhaustion, indifference, frustration, energy, seclusion, community-building, patience, reaction. There’s only one way that I’ve found to manage it all, and that’s with one foot in front of the other. This ability to continue moving forward comes after acknowledging I needed time off, from this space in particular, which demands its own level of communication and opinion that I wanted to take time to come back to. I needed 2016 to reach its finale, January’s initiation to 2017 to begin, the inauguration to conclude so the nation and world could really see how things might unfold, and time to really find my paths forward. So, in this new month, during which many people find ways to celebrate love and start think about unearthing from winter, I bring back my writing and my energy. There’s no time to lose ground: one foot in front of the other is the only way. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.
Let’s sit down and enjoy a moment together. Drink whatever you’re craving. I have a moment free on this Saturday labor shift to enjoy some hospital-grade coffee, pen a few postcards, and share some thoughts with you. I’ll open my mind and freely write some thoughts here, without much editing, to make sure this post happens before patients come in!
How is your on-boarding to 2017 going? What are the adjustments that you’re settling into in this new year and tumultuous political landscape? Are there ways that you’ve found to reset and regain your energy when the work, or the movement, or the resistance, feel like it’s too much? In what ways are you finding yourself involved, or are you struggling to find ways to do so? And how are you building community, intersectional and powerful, as part of your 2017 work?
My on-boarding is taking time, and adjustments abound. I’m reading as much as possible, both toward self-care and revolutionary ends: Assata, Audre Lorde, Mary Oliver, the history of Jane. I’m changing my engagement in social media to optimize my information gathering: following Linda Sarsour and Junot Diaz and Vice and Vox and Culture Strike. I’m re-reading some Edward Abbey and Terry Tempest Williams and Jessica Valenti. I’m listening to anything Lin-Manuel Miranda is putting out (including his latest playlist on Spotify called “Rise Up Eyes Up Wise Up”) and looking forward to Willie Parker’s new book “Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice.”
I reset and regain energy in many ways, mostly with more breaks and relaxation than I’ve taken in the past. I take time away from things when I need to, and I celebrate life’s small moments with friends.
In December: I turned 32. I adopted a cat, named Kipling, Kip for short. I started dating a pretty girl pretty seriously. I’ve re-dedicated myself to my work and enjoy being present and in love with midwifery care and precepting. I’m planning travel with hikes and vacations and conferences. I’m sleeping and enjoying feeling well-rested. I updated pictures of friends and family in my home with those from the last year. I’m starting a midwife podcast with another awesome clinician. I’m intentionally surrounding myself with people who acknowledge and celebrate me.
In January: I did a polar plunge in Northern Michigan on New Year’s Day, surrounded by loving friends. I visited other friends out east in Providence and Concord and Boston. I marched in Chicago with the nation’s second largest crowd. I started in the role of Co-Chair for Nursing Students for Sexual and Reproductive Health with another awesome midwife. I asked that pretty girl to be my girlfriend, and we are in a gloriously smitten phase.
This feels like a time when it’s hard to know what’s coming next. The uncertainty in the world is palpable, and days are both energizing and hard when the sense of people scrambling to resist / exist within that unease is strong. I hope that this space of pondering healthcare and provision, reproductive justice, and human rights, and sharing a bit of my personal life amidst my professional opinions, allows readers a sense of unity and community in these times.
I would love to hear how you’ve been over these past two months: whether you’re buried under the covers or fully engaged in protests and resistances. I want to know your monthly highlights from December and January, personal and professional. Looking forward to next month.
(Here are some pictures to accompany my life update from above – all have been shared on Instagram or Facebook, so for those who follow along there, too, sorry for the repeats!)