Sleepless and Full Of Self Doubt

There’s a weird thing going on in my life. Maybe in yours too, if you are surrounded by liberal and conservative voices. If I silence all of the conservative voices in my life, I hear nothing but proclamations of anxiety and action the sharing of news and voices of resistsance. But when I expand my blinders to the conservative voices in my life, I hear words shaming me and others for being negative, or for talking too much politics, or for starting fights, or for dividing our country. There’s definitely a section of people doing neither, but the dichotomy of the two political factions is startling as it’s very real and so very extreme. I don’t remember ever telling my conservative friends to stop talking politics or stop being divisive. I did try to remind them about the value of action and the balance of power (a balance of power that doesn’t exist presently) so as to help calm their anxieties, but I don’t think I ever shamed them for being concerned or worried.

Of course, I also have a very hard time comparing conservative behavior after Obama to liberal behavior after Trump as – to me – Trump and Obama are not the same levels of extreme on their end of politics. So I do feel like my side has a lot more to be worried about, even without considering the lack of a power balance. BUT THERE IS NO POWER BALANCE, so I feel like it should be obvious why my side is stressed.

But it’s just weird to be sleepless thinking about the moves this administration has already made, and then wake up and see people on the other side of the spectrum shaming me for being sleepless and concerned. It’s strange to be so worried and to be driven to such levels of political action, and to have people in my life basically saying, “Ugg…stop whining…get over it already.”

My liberal friends are with me. We’re all sleepless and concerned and texting each other in the middle of the day: “OMG. DID YOU SEE?” But my conservative friends and family seem to think I’m being ridiculous. And that is a terrible feeling, to be so overwhelmed and distraught by a situation that you – LITERALLY – can not sleep.  Then you look over your shoulder to see people rolling their eyes at you.

I offered an internet friend my phone number yesterday. We’ve been friends for years, met once at an event in New York, but we don’t have each other’s numbers. Until now. Because she expressed concern about political anxiety and I told her how having a text friend helps me. I kinda want to check in with you guys to see if we should all become text friends. Is that weird? Or creepy? I’m wondering if some of you are feeling lost and scared too…maybe your red friends are shaming you too.

This dichotomy does more than make feel shame over my concern. I find it’s also making me doubt myself. How can two people look at the world so differently? How can that person so obviously not be concerned and here I am – SLEEPLESS – over my fears. It’s like the time I stumbled into the world of Devout Birthers or Sandy Hook Truthers or 9-11 Deniers…these are all people that exist and believe VERY STRONGLY in something that I find categorically FALSE. How can people create such cognitive dissonance in their lives? How can I be sure I’m not doing the same thing?

But I’m terrified, y’all. I woke up at 2am to work on a newsletter for a local progressive organization I’m trying to lift off the ground. Because at least that had me doing SOMETHING. I’m trying to print postcards to mail and I added phone numbers to my contact list so I can easily call Senators and Representatives. I’m having trouble focusing on anything else when my mind is not distracted by family or work. Every other moment I’m thinking about our country and what I can do to stop the administration from jeopardizing our future.

And then another person is all: “UGG. GET OVER IT. STOP RUINING FACEBOOK.”

It’s just such and extreme contrast and it has me all distorted and full of self-doubt on top of the fear and concern. I’m frazzled and wondering how people can see the world so differently.


I wrote another post about racism last night.  In it I shared a bunch of links from yesterday, but I’d like to share out some other political links I posted all over the interwebs yesterday. I am full of self-doubt from the shame others are trying to make me feel, but I will not let that stop me from spreading the word about things we need to be resisting.

 

9 Comments

  • Roseann

    I’m in an interesting position. I’m a registered Republican, based almost completely on the fact that my dad was a Democrat. But? I have voted for the democratic candidate in every presidential election that I’ve been able to. I’m also smack dab in the heart of Ohio, where our town newspaper used to be called The Republican, and there are very few open democrats, and even fewer open Hillary supporters. I would love to connect with like minded people, because I am scared and every time I try to talk about it with anyone, I get that whole Trump is going to make America great again, and if he fails we all fail BS. Someone yesterday said that they would rather women lose rights to abortions if it meant we wouldn’t have WWIII (which is what they thought would happen under Clinton).

  • Fraulein N

    Dude, I will totally be your text friend! Email me! (I’m only a time zone ahead.) I am anxious and terrified too, but feeling overwhelmed. I’m not surrounded by conservatives, but all the people I know are .. apathetic? Exhausted from fighting? Trying to believe that it really hopefully (pretty please) won’t get that bad, and so I’m “overreacting” and “need to calm down.” (But like you said, the checks and balances that are supposed to prevent disaster are GONE and I think people forget that.) What I’m saying is, I need someone to commiserate with and maybe occasionally to light a fire under my ass. Because there’s a lot of work to be done, and I don’t even know how to begin.

    Also, haha, “stop ruining Facebook.” As if.

  • Amber

    How can I get in on receiving your newsletter for the local progressive organization you are starting? This election showed me that I really need to do more than I am.

  • Susan

    I’m feeling the same way — not that I have all that many super-conservative friends or relatives, but just seeing the steps Trump’s administration is taking against all the things I believe in is awful. I have a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I really wish I could turn away from reading and hearing about everything he’s doing, but I would feel guilty if I did that.

    I did find a great resource online yesterday: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/
    It’s a “Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda” and takes a lot of cues from the Tea Party movement — going to where our representatives are, in small groups, and making them hear our voices. Being loud and visible and in person. Which will be tough for a shy introvert, but I’m willing to do it if I can find a partner to go with me 🙂

  • Sara

    Yes to everything you said. I love your posts. They always give me something to think about. You are a positive voice for change and do an excellant job of sharing resources and ideas. Thank you.

  • Beth

    I kn ow that you are trying to read as much as you can to gain knowledge. However if it is contributing to anxiety and sleeplessness, you may need to cut back. Limit yourself to 5 articles a dayFocus on what the president is doing, not what he is saying.I cut my Facebook friends from 256 to 70 because I was spending too much time on it. The first side benefit has been the fact that I created a safer audience, where i can say what if want to without starting an argument. My most opposite friend is not on FB- Its my youngest sister. We have a silent truce. I told her that her Hippy sister had hit the protest lines on Saturday. No comment from her.My other sister liked my new profile. Then we also have the Republican brother that voted for Bernie and the radical conservative that none of us talk to. Next time you see the counselor tell her about all the anxiety.

  • Heather

    Yep right there with you, and had sort of a relapse last week. There were a couple of weeks early in January where I felt ok-ish and then Thursday night the sad and scared came back hard.

    It is both the white house/congress related stuff and a bit of “late to the woke party” for me. II’m here now (or getting here) but there will never be a good answer for the “why haven’t you always been here??!” type of questions.

    I’d totally be a text friend.

  • Ann

    I’d totally be a text friend too. Thank you for all of your writing and the links you share – they are truly eye opening and have made me think.