Disclaimer about this post title: I’m currently in a tiny city in the middle of Pennsylvania for work, Star Wars is on TV, and I’m a few beers deep. Let me have my dumb cliche.
So. It’s been a while since my last post. When I started this blog, unexplained gaps between posts was the one thing I refused to let happen.
…and then the election happened.
I hate that I’ve felt so uninspired since November 8. I also hate that I’ve been so truly upset since the election, when, when it comes down to it, the direct results of a Trump presidency (reign?) aren’t going to destroy my life. I feel greedy, being as upset by all this as I am.
And yet, I can’t shake that dread, that feeling that nothing is ever going to be the same. It’s permeated every aspect of my life, and again, I realize that, on the books, I don’t have it too bad. I’m going to continually acknowledge that fact as I write this post, fair warning. My privilege as a straight, white person is something I can’t deny or ignore.
I guess my purpose in writing this post is two-fold. One, I need to bust out of this writers’ block I’ve been in for too long now. Two, I need to set a new, more positive tone for myself. I hope that sharing it helps maybe just one other person, too.
Because I’m me and I can’t go five minutes without gushing about the experience, I need to write briefly (?) about last Monday night, when I got to see Andrew W.K. on his nation-wide speaking tour. (Sidebar: if you don’t know who Andrew W.K. is, change that. This is his Twitter. Follow him.)
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I settled into my (front row!) seat at the Grog Shop in Cleveland. I’ve been a fan of Andrew’s for years now, and I love the things he stands for, but I’d never attended an event like that – plus, he’d been prefacing the tour by explaining that he, himself, didn’t always know what each show would entail!
He spoke for about half an hour, before opening the microphone up to the audience, responding so earnestly and enthusiastically to the 20 or so people who got up (he excitedly talked about Giant Eagle for five solid minutes, y’all). Then, even though he admitted to not feeling well, he individually met every. single. member of the audience. I’m so grateful for the few minutes of conversation we shared.
There were so many beautiful moments from the evening that I’m going to cherish for a long time to come. I’ll just share a few here; I don’t want to mis-quote or tarnish the spirit of the evening.
The main point that Andrew drove home was that the positivity he has become known for doesn’t come easily, or even naturally. He’s a fellow anxious, depressed mess! Instead of dwelling on the dark, ugly things, though, he latches onto the bright, positive moments and they keep him going. Instead of searching for answers or wondering why things don’t always go right, he finds solidarity with people who appreciate the often simple and quiet moments that don’t really need explanation.
He further explained that in a way that I love – it’s important to not grow passive or complacent in life. That doesn’t do you any good and before you know it, your life has entirely gone by. He emphasized picking your battles, knowing when to walk away, keeping hope that people will pleasantly surprise you, and most importantly, staying entirely true to yourself.
That last point is what I’ve been struggling with since the election. The days immediately following felt fake – going to work felt truly ridiculous and my already-strained customer service smile was a struggle to maintain. Even laughing felt foreign at first. But… it’s gotten easier. There’s still dread that settles into my gut whenever I read the latest thing Trump has done (or claimed he’d do… or tweeted… or…). Thankfully, there are still good things happening, every day, that I can’t ignore.
I couldn’t be more grateful that I got to see Andrew W.K. so soon after the election. He helped kick my panicky brain back into gear. I’m truly not sure how we will get through the next four years – and my heart aches when I think about the thousands of people who may not – but I’m confident that there’ll still be some beauty and good left in this world.
I hope you all are doing well. Take care of yourselves. Read through Andrew’s tweets if you need a positivity boost. Have a good weekend!