Finding Your Cheerleader

Hello all! I hope you are having a fantastic weekend and if you are not that is okay too. Sh*t happens, amiright?

In fact, I am right. That was a rhetorical question in case you didn’t know. I know I am right because as I type this the news is playing in the background… It is dark and depressing and sometimes makes me want to throw my television out the window. Except, I can’t because I am currently living in a furnished apartment, so the TV is technically not mine.

I am often asked why in the world I even watch the news? Most people have stopped, I know this. Heck, I stopped for a long while. Partially because I didn’t have cable in New York and partially because I knew if I watched it, it would only deepen my depression. For those of you that still can’t turn it on, don’t. Be selfish. That may sound like I am being mean and calling you out, but I am being 100% genuine here. The word selfish gets a totally bad rap, but I think it is something that needs to be discussed. When people think of the word selfish they often think of that episode of Friends where “JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.” Neither do I… but I am talking about a different kind of selfish. The kind where your happiness comes first. It has to come first. If you don’t put your happiness ahead of others you won’t be able to give the world the best parts of you. So, technically it is a disservice to those your truly want to help. Don’t keep up with the world if you feel like you can’t. Sure, I like people to be informed, and more than that, I like people to feel as safe and in control as they can. This idea is proving to be difficult, because even when we turn off the TV we hop onto social media and see things like #icantbreathe #metoo and #shitholecountries trending.

Something we can control though, is how we decide to navigate this scary world. I try to navigate this world with laughter, “aww” moments, and deep deep breathing on a regular basis. I cry, often. No dry eyes over here! I love to cry. It is this sense of relief that is unlike any other. Sometimes I go for a run. Yesterday, I went for a run and ended up skipping/dancing down the street because my playlist was bumping. Most days I talk and I talk and I talk. On Sundays, I write. The important thing I would like to note with all of these activities is that none of them dismiss the bad. None of them let me hide from what is going on, I can’t push it under the rug. All of them help me to live in unison with the bad.

And while it does seem like I am very fixated on the bad stuff going on, I want to stress the importance of finding the good as well. As Timon and Pumbaa once said “ya gotta put your past behind ya… Hakuna Matata.” Of course they were escaping, not living with the bad. They tried to push it under the rug and we all know how that ended up. In world of Simba’s.. be a Nala. That was a weird Lion King tangent… anyways… All I am saying is that when I watch the news I also see things like penguins being weighed at the zoo and a town rallying to help a flood victim in need. There is good all around us, we just have to keep an eye out for it, and if we don’t see the good, the good can be us.

I often think back to the day after the election where I couldn’t move, paralyzed in fear. It was the same exact feeling I got when I took self defense. At the end of the class, the only way to graduate was to fight a man in a huge protective suit. As soon as my fight started he grabbed my legs and I fell to the ground. I definitely blacked out for 5 seconds. The class actually tried to prepare us for that moment, but somehow I was still in pure shock. I couldn’t move. When I came to, all I could hear was my coaches yelling “FIGHT BACK, SARAH! FIGHT BACK!” Through my fear I pushed him off of me, wailed on his head just long enough to escape. I was the last one to fight and naturally I spent our graduation party crying, but it was the most freeing moment of my life. Through the tears and the anxiety I fought back.

It isn’t easy to fight back. Some days the bed calls my name and I want to lift the sheets over my head. Some days depression whispers my name and I don’t want to shower, or brush my teeth, or move. Some days are the days I know I have to fight back. It wouldn’t be possible without the cheerleaders though. My family and friends who are always encouraging me to get back up. We all need a cheerleader in our life when we black out for those 5 seconds to wake us up and tell us to fight back. If you don’t have a cheerleader currently, that is what I am here for.

My dear reader, if you are paralyzed on the ground right now “FIGHT BACK! FIGHT BACK!” and if you can’t fight back right now, I’ll be here to keep cheering you on until you are ready.