How To Practice Self Care While The World Is Ending

How To Practice Self Care While The World Is Ending

There is nothing wrong with putting yourself first.
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Floods in South Asia, hurricanes in the Atlantic, and nuclear war with North Korea looming in the distance, sometimes it feels like it’s the beginning of an apocalypse. Every week in America, it feels like a game show called, “Who Will This Administration Screw Over Today” and I’m the contestant biting my nails wondering, “what is happening?” Last month, it was transgender people, this month it’s immigrants. Scrolling through headlines, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of doom. Nazis are on the loose. The West Coast is on fire. You get the picture.

While that isn’t true, we aren’t all going to die, or at least we don’t entirely know that we are going to all die just yet, sensationalized news headlines tend to make me question that. I’ll spend maybe an hour or two (yes I have a problem,) scrolling through my Facebook feed, reading posts and getting into arguments in the comments section and I’ll realize, “Wow, I feel terrible right now and I’ve been feeling terrible this whole time.” I don’t know what to do or what I even can do and I feel guilty that the most I’m doing is posting memes about it all. I don’t even know what I can do.

However, there’s one thing that I’ve thought about and it’s that there isn’t really anything that I can do about most of the things that are going in with the world right now. If North Korea decided to drop nuclear weapons on us right now, there is absolutely nothing I could do to prevent it. If a giant hurricane destroyed all of Florida, I wouldn’t be able to do anything to stop it. And as far as the administration, I can’t change any decisions Trump makes because he literally doesn’t care about anyone, but himself and the most I can do is protest and protect the people I love. Everything else is out of my power. While that might make things a little bit scarier because I am powerless, it does remove a little of the guilt and pressure to do something about it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to stay off of social media as much as possible. I’ve been trying to monitor myself and keep my mental well being in check. If I feel too anxious or stressed or depressed by the conversations I’m having or the posts I’m reading, I distract myself. I find something else to do, whether it be creative or educational or positive. Whether it be reading a book or playing guitar or putting on makeup. I find something to calm myself down.

I think it’s important to be active politically and to pay attention, but if you’re like me and you get overwhelmed by everything that is going on, then you need to take time off from the world and pay attention to yourself. There is nothing selfish about making yourself a priority when your mental and physical well being might be at stake.

I understand some people feel that being able to take time away from political activism to practice self care is a sign of privilege and shouldn't be encourage and so on. I've seen this mostly in response to Tina Fey's video of her eating a sheet of cake asking people to stay out of anti fascist protests. While I disagree with encouraging everyone to not go out and protest, I think that it's fine to not engage if you are worried about the impact it will have on your mental health. Oh, and please don't pretend that people of color, and LGBT persons don't need to take time off of being politically engaged too.

So, next time you’re on Facebook or some other social media website and you can feel yourself growing frustrated or angry or anxious, disengage and stay off for a while. You are not a horrible person for caring about yourself. Find something you like that makes you happy and distract yourself with it, because even if the world does end, at least you gave yourself the time to feel better.

Cover Image Credit: Deviant Art

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As A Victim Of Sexual Abuse, Painting '#MeToo' On A WWII Statue Is Taking The Movement TOO Far

There is a line you should never cross and that is it.

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The famous picture of the sailor kissing a woman was taken right on V-J Day, when Japan surrendered to the U.S. in World War II. For decades it was seen as a representation of how excited and relieved everyone was at the end of the war.

The picture touched the hearts of thousands as you could feel the overwhelming amounts of joy that came from the snap of the camera. While the woman in the picture died back in 2016 due to a struggle with pneumonia, the sailor just recently died on Feb. 17, 2019 at the age of 95.

Most people saw it as both a heartbreak and heartwarming that the couple that was once photographed were now together.

Other people saw differently.

There is a statue made of the picture that resides in Sarasota, Florida. Police found early Tuesday morning of Feb. 19, two days after the sailor's death, that someone had spray-painted #MeToo on the statue's leg in bright red.

As a woman, I strongly encourage those who have been sexually assaulted/abused in any way shape or form, to voice themselves in the best way they can. To have the opportunity to voice what they went through without being afraid. As a woman who has also been a victim of sexual assault and has been quiet for many years...

This act of vandalism makes me sick.

While the woman that was kissed by the sailor was purely kissed on impulse, she had stated in an interview with 'The New York Times' that, "It wasn't a romantic event. It was just an event of 'thank God the war is over.'"

People were celebrating and, as a sailor, that man was so over the moon about the war being over that he found the nearest woman to celebrate with.

While I don't condone that situation, I understand both the reason behind it as well as the meaning behind the photo. I understand that, while it wasn't an intended kiss, it was a way of showcasing relief. To stick #MeToo on a statue of a representation of freedom is not the right way to bring awareness of sexual abuse.

It gives those the wrong idea of why the #MeToo movement was started. It started as a way for victims of sexual abuse to share their stories. To share with the world that they are not alone.

It helped me realize I wasn't alone.

But the movement, soon after it started, became a fad that turned wrong. People were using it in the wrong context and started using it negatively instead of as an outlet for women and men to share their horrific experiences of sexual assault.

That statue has been up for years. To wait until the sailor passed away was not only rude but entirely disrespectful. The family of that sailor is currently in mourning. On top of it, it's taking away from the meaning behind the photo/statue. World War II was one of the darkest, scariest events in — not just our American history — but the world's as well.

Sexual abuse is a touchy matter, I encourage everyone to stand up for what's right. But to vandalize a statue of one of the most relieving days in America's history is an act that was unnecessary and doesn't get the point of #MeToo across in the way it should. If anything, it's giving people a reason not to listen. To protest and bring attention to something, you want to gather the right attention.

This was not gathering the right attention.

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My Hometown Just Experienced A Mass Shooting, If We Don't Do Something, Yours Could Be Next

You never think it will happen to you until it does.

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I was on my way out the door to work when I got a panicked call from my mother.

"Can you look at the news online?" she said quickly. "There is a mass shooting somewhere nearby."

My heart stopped. For me, Aurora, Illinois is home. I was born there, I grew up around the area and I attended high school there. My siblings go to school close by and my boyfriend works for a neighboring fire department.

How could my beloved hometown become the victim of the latest tragedy?

After calling my boyfriend, who was at the fire station getting ready to deploy ambulances to the scene, I discovered that it had taken place at a factory nearby. My anxiety hit an all-time high as I watched the updates on all of the local city Facebook pages and groups. Officers down. Gunman at large. Mass casualties.

Hours later, all of the facts came out. A former employee of Henry Pratt's Company, a local industrial warehouse, had recently been let go and decided to get revenge. He entered the warehouse with a gun and began to shoot at random, killing five people and wounding many others, including five police officers. He was killed by local SWAT forces.

I am the kind of person who is pro-gun and pro-gun rights because of the second amendment and all of the freedoms I believe we deserve. But that doesn't make what happened okay and it never will.

While this situation doesn't change my mind, it does change my view of the world.

Why would somebody decide that shooting former coworkers was the way to go? Why would anyone want to hurt others? These are the questions that flooded my mind in the hours after the mass shooting. I don't necessarily think we have a gun issue in America, but issues with mental health and valuing life.

We pass bills to kill unborn children. We repeal bills that take away healthcare from million. We devalue life in its most basic form and respect those around us to still have enough respect for each other's lives. We stigmatize those who need psychiatric care and expect things to still be alright.

This is not alright.

Our country, our system, our values, and morals, they are all broken and backward. We have let mass shootings become normal and violence becomes accepted. It needs to be stopped. There needs to be a change.

One of the people killed was an intern from a local college during his first day on the job. Being a college student applying to internships myself, this hit far too close to home. Nobody deserves to die, least of all in their place of work while trying to further their career.

Five people lost their lives due to someone's disrespect of them. Yes, a gun was the weapon, but a mind was the actor. I pray that someday, our country will return to valuing life and respecting others enough to help them instead of pushing them away. This is not the first mass shooting, but it can be the last. If, and only if, we make sure of it.

If you want to help the victim's families in any way, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with funeral expenses

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