This is not a post about how the outside world has changed since November 8, 2016. If you’re looking for that, you probably want this series of posts by Amy Siskind. These are observations about myself.
On the night of the election, I stayed up until 5:30 am, struggling to come to terms with what had just happened. By the next day, I was angry and had resolved to show up and do my part.
Here are some ways that my life has changed in the past 2.5 months.
It’s impossible to maintain focus at work and in my personal life. Turns out it’s harder to write layout code when you simply don’t feel safe. This shift has made me realize how secure and happy I felt for much of the past year. Even as I struggle to find my footing again, I’m grateful to have had that time and to become more aware of it.
I feel physically nauseated from time to time, regardless of how much I sleep and what I eat. Sometimes it seems incredibly daunting to get up from where I’m sitting and walk to my bus stop and go wherever I need to go. I assume that this is due to stress.
I lost interest in most of my old hobbies. I would like to keep running, but it feels like I don’t have the energy to do it yet. I picked up comic books but gotten bored after a few pages. My cosplay ambitions are on indefinite hold, partly because I have no interest at all, but mainly because I don’t think I can sustain both cosplay and activism, and if one of them has to go, it’s obvious what I should do.
I started reading the news again. I’d been trying to limit my daily consumption of it, especially during the endless campaign, but I think I went overboard and got disconnected from the outside world. I grew up reading the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and when I moved to California after college, I got into neighborhood coverage, urbanist blogs, and The Atlantic. These days I mainly try to read The Guardian and periodically peek at National Review, but I inevitably also read a lot of New York Times and Washington Post because that’s what gets shared the most in my networks.
I call my members of Congress on a regular basis. I put their phone numbers in my contact list a week after the election and I’ve been following action newsletters and calling their district offices ever since. I helped a few friends get through their phone anxiety to make their first call.
I learned that I like attending political events in person. However, not every group is right for me. Each group of people has its own style of running the meeting and resolving conflicts. Coming from a tech environment where everyone bends over backwards to avoid crosstalk, it’s jarring to hear people interrupting each other or bluntly saying, “That’s not true. Your facts are wrong.” It’s something I’m trying to get used to without losing my sense of self.