Art the F&*k Out of Your Life

“Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness – and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe.”

–Arundhati Roy

Don’t get tossed away.

Don’t chase each outrage until you are spinning like a top.

Don’t overcommit or undernourish yourself.

As I mentioned a bit in last week’s blog, the nation is in chaos under the narcissist-in-chief (like you needed me to tell you 🙂 ). If you’ve lived with a narcissist, you know first hand the challenges. In this time of (what he thinks to be) unquestioned power, combined with instant communication, it is easy to feel so overwhelmed you reach for that first shot of whiskey before you fully wake up.

What today? What now? He did what? And then the list of incredibly important issues and happenings scrolls by and you know they ALL NEED YOUR HELP. And then maybe you just want to go back to bed and curl up until 2018 at the earliest. But then you remember that you need to fight for the country you want, and maybe you don’t have training for that, or maybe you didn’t see it coming, or maybe you thought it couldn’t get this bad, or maybe you think you’re only one person and it’s just you.

It isn’t. We have gone beyond party preferences. Gone beyond the ideological differences that reasonable people can have. America — people — will always have reasonable disagreements. That’s important to a vital society. But we’re so far from that I’m afraid we’ve lost the map back to sane.

There is quite frankly one right side of history in this battle, and if you need a check in, it’s the side that’s advocating love and tolerance and acceptance and freedoms. It’s the side that believes our Constitution did some cool things — like separation of church and state, freedom of (and from) religion, a free press and freedom of speech. I know it’s a flawed document. I know many of the founders owned slaves. There were no women present. And on and on. But it is that document that has ensured that over time we have stretched our rights and ideas of what an American is, and though it’s been rocky, and not a very straight line, we have nonetheless always prevailed on the side of more equality, more tolerance, more acceptance, and more compassion. (And if you don’t think EPA regulations are about compassion, think again when you can’t see the sky and you can’t breathe at work and you’re settling in for a home remodel with that new lead paint.)

And it’s the side that is not endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan or the Nazis.

And it’s the side who thinks you probably shouldn’t be talking about national security issues at dinner with a bunch of folks with phones. But her e-mails. Goddamn, I know, right? Whew.

I have found this site helpful in navigating the noise. You can sign up for daily WTF happened today e-mails. They are consolidated, from multiple, respectable, vetted sources, and are calm. You can check in one time and know what happened or didn’t and not be clicking madly through your day, elevating your heart rate to an unsustainable rate.

Survival Tips

Tip 1: The Narcissist wants you to click madly through your day. Then you have wasted your day and exhausted your energy. Then you can’t make your art. You can’t do your job. You can’t maintain your relationships. Don’t give him that power. Don’t step into the swirl he is making. Stand on the outside and make conscious choices for your action. Otherwise, the gale-force winds will send you soaring.

Tip 2: Know when you’re being gaslighted. 45 can’t tell the truth. It’s blatantly obvious. When challenged, he will try to force you to question your own direct experience and direct observation (YUGE crowds…bigly! Massachusetts bused in 3 million voters to New Hampshire! Sad!) You might take photographs. Keep a notebook. Record what you’re observing and feeling and check back with it. Reasonable people know they can make a mistake, and this is why gaslighting works so well for narcissists. We start to question ourselves … maybe I didn’t see what I thought I saw … and the Narcissist is so freakin’ happy that you’re spinning in his hall of mirrors he goes on a Tweet-storm at 3 am to send you back to the click-bait storm he wants you swirling in.

Tip 3: Reasoned arguments will not prevail. Problems cannot be solved if there’s no agreement on the nature of the problem, or if we can’t acknowledge there is a problem (example 1/1000: climate change is happening – GAH!!!). We can’t have a reasoned dialogue with 45& Co. They are not interested in governing. They are ideologues and they’re after their own interests. This is a kleptocracy teetering quickly toward dictatorship. We have to figure out what they can hear, which seems right now to be SNL, CNN, the New York Times, and the protestors (which for the love of all things are NOT paid). I hate conflict. So. Much. Yet here we are. Don’t waste your energy talking to someone who will not hear you. They are hoping we fail. They are hoping we exhaust our resources and our hope. We will not. Everything is at stake.

Tip 4: Double down and go deep, if you’re getting exhausted, rather than trying to go broad. We’re not facing an assault only on women’s rights, or on LGBTQ rights, or the environment, or freedom of the press, or healthcare, or the working poor, or the minority religions or POC, or education, or fair labor practices, or international partnerships, or the very promises America has held out of welcoming refuge to those seeking a better life. We’re facing it all (and I’m sure I forgot some!) So as one person, what to do? Ask yourself which issues are most vital to you. (I know I know they all are!) Choose one or two to focus on. Others will carry different ones. We can’t hold up the whole sky, but we can damn sure hold up our own cloud (full of #nastywomen and #badhombre snowflakes). You will feel like you’re accomplishing more and being more productive and you’ll experience less burnout. We’re not robots, even under crisis. This is a long long long game. Keep your eye on the prize.

 Tip 5: Art, art, art, art, art the fuck out of your life. Write it. Sing it. Dance it. Film it. Paint it. Sculpt it. Consume art like the fuel that it is. Draw on those who’ve been down this road before (Sweet Honey in the Rock and Nina Simone have been helping me!) You don’t have to “high” art it. Low brow it with the best of us. Just Art The Fuck Out Of Your Life.

#resist #persist #werk