All over Facebook, Twitter, the entire internet, it seems like the entire country is reacting with desperate anxiety, fear, and anger about the choices of President-elect Trump and his appointees. Seldom do I see anyone express what I’m feeling—tired.
On election day, millions of people spoke in favor of everything I stand against. It’s been weeks since then, and I’m frankly burned out. I went to protests, called the government, and wrote and spoke against the Cheetoh-in-Chief, but like the efforts of so many others, my actions haven’t made much of a difference, if any. I watch the news scroll by and I feel defeated in the face of power structures that I have no access to and yet will dictate the terms of my life and others’. At its core, my exhaustion is not because people disagree with me; it is because I feel powerless to make change in the world.
I know I’m not alone in that. We can call our legislators until our voices give out, but the feeling of being helpless persists. What can we do to keep moving forward? How can we lift these exhausted malaise from our limbs?
I don’t mean a political slogan or a march or a movement. I mean make something with your hands. Knead some bread dough, knit a scarf, whittle that canoe from discarded 2 x 4. After all this apocalyptic talk, the only thing that heals me is taking up a marker or an egg beater and making something. In the face of defeat, of destruction, it is a small act of rebellion to create something that wasn’t there before, to acknowledge the power that comes inherent in your own two hands. When others are trying to tell you that your existence is meaningless, make however you can, whatever you can. It doesn’t need to be good. All it needs to be is yours.
Making a needlepoint portrait of a Corgi or splatter-painting a chair is not going to bring political change in of itself. It is not going to fix everything in your life. But when you are burnt out, like I am, and you feel that you have nothing more you can do, it is valuable and important to restore your sense of agency, even over the smallest things. Later, when you are restored, you can return to the political scene. But for now, it is enough to realize you have in yourself a power to reshape the organization of molecules in the universe into something meaningful. Right now, you can impact the very fabric of existence and make something new. And that is the only remedy I have found to the exhaustion of this political season. Heal yourself, make something, and then return to the good fight aware of your own humanity and agency in the world.