Take Care of Yourself

I don't know about you, but I really hoped 2017 would be better than 2016. But man, y'all. 

Lemon It's February

I'm feeling very Liz Lemon right now. I was all into everything going on the first couple of weeks of the new administration but I had to pump the brakes. Burn out is real, and this is definitely going to be a marathon, not a sprint. 

It's easy to get discouraged, especially when you see that the dozens of calls you've made to your senators went ignored. (I'm looking at you Lankford and Inhofe.) But caring does make a difference. Some bills have been withdrawn after public outcry (why does this guy hate national parks so much?) so it's important that we keep going. 

But it's also ok to unplug. Spend time with your family. Watch tv. (Though I don't recommend watching the West Wing and House of Cards in one night right now. Last night I dreamt I was running a marathon in DC which ended in the Oval Office where I yelled at President Bartlett about how insane it was that Bannon is on the National Security Council as Frank Underwood watched.) Maybe watch something a little lighter. I'm watching Bunheads for the first time so I can keep listening to the Gilmore Guys. I also rely on the Popcast to make me laugh every week. 

And I take a bath every single night. That's something that pretty much everyone told me I'd have to give up once I had a baby, but y'all, that's my sanity saver. Even if it's a quick bath, it's my designated "me-time" every day where I'm not working or taking care of someone else. On a good night I pour a glass of wine, get some lavender dark chocolate, and settle into a bubble bath. Sometimes I read. Other times I set up the iPad and watch some Netflix. 

Those baths are how I care for me. The dishes may not get done every night, there may be laundry piled on the couch, but my bath is mandatory. 

Find something that you love and do it. Take care of yourself. 2017 may not be an easy one, but we can do it. 

Pulling a Hamilton: Introducing A New Blog Series

I spent most of 2016 with a nasty case of writer's block. I think I can blame part of that on the fact that I was learning how to be a mom. I didn't really have anything to write about other than all the amazing things my baby was doing. And while I'm sure some of my friends and family might have found that interesting, most people wouldn't. (But I promise she was super cute while she was sitting up/crawling. You can see all the evidence on my social media.)

I didn't really have the time or energy to write anything other than what people hired me to write. And at times, even that was a struggle. 

But it's 2017. Taylor started Mother's Day Out last week so I'm consistently getting about 10 child-free hours a week - except when she's caught some cruddy bug, like today. But I'm finally coming out of my postpartum fog. And I'm going to pull a mother-freaking-Hamilton and start writing like I need it to survive. 

Because I do. 

I've always been a writer. I have notebooks full of stories and essays and poem, starting back in grade school. In second grade I wrote a short story about a high school girl who gets stalked and nearly murdered by her ex-boyfriend on prom night. (Appropriately titled Prom Night.) At the time I didn't know that doing that, as well as locking myself in my parent's office the summer after 5th grade to write my first "novel", wasn't normal. 

Writing is how I process things. And I haven't been writing. So everything has been building and bubbling and growing, and I've had no outlet. 

So here I am. Processing. Writing. Figuring it out as I go. 

I'm tired of censoring myself in case I piss someone off. I'm tired of tiptoeing around how I really feel. I'm tired of trying to be everything to everyone. I'm tired of apologizing for my mess of a house, for the fact that I eat McDonald's multiple times a week, and for the fact that my daughter wears those precious cloth diapers maybe one day a week. 

Maybe part of that is getting older. People say once you are in your 30s you start really coming into your own. Maybe it's also being a mom and realizing that there are a finite number of hours in the day, and most of them are already spoken for. So caring what other people think really isn't worth it anymore.

At one point I would've pulled out a Bible quote here (Galatians 1:10). Another time I would just quote Jo Dee Messina and make a joke about my give a damn being busted. 

Because here's the thing: I'm both of those people. I remember Bible verses I learned years ago and still believe in them. But I also believe I can make a give a damn joke. 

Things are tough right now. I have lots of questions but not many answers. I'm legitimately concerned for our country's future, for my family's future. But I'm trying to focus on what I can do. I can write. I can call my legislators. I can share stories and try to put a face on the issues. To that end I'm prepping a new series that will feature as many people as I can. People who deserve to have their story shared. People who immigrated here, or whose parents did. People who came here as refugees. People who work in healthcare and have been affected by ACA - and who will be affected if/when it is repealed. People who served our country in war. People who are Muslim. People who are serving in local, state, federal government. 

shine your light share your story

If you or anyone else you know wants to share their story - and they can share with 100% anonymity if they prefer - please let me know. My goal isn't to push an agenda. I simply want to cast some light on the real people behind the issues. I want to help people understand why it is so important to stay involved. 

My Fellow Republicans

Surprise! I'm a registered Republican, and have been since 2003. I distinctly remember marching into the voter registration off and excitedly checking that Republican box. (Funny story: a friend who had also recently turned 18 went with me and accidentally registered as a Republican because she got confused.) As a college freshman I proudly wore a George Bush is my Homeboy t-shirt and went door-to-door campaigning for him. I was all in. 

In 2008 my beliefs were changing, but I still mostly voted along party lines. It wasn't until 2012 that I began to actually research the candidates and vote for them based on what they stood for, instead of what party they were in. At that time in my life I'd just come out of a very very conservative place in my life, attending a very evangelical & conservative megachurch. So in 2012 I was visiting a different denomination each month and trying to figure out what I believed, both in my faith and my politics. That was the first time I voted for a Democrat for President. 

But the past 14 years I have never changed my political affiliation. I may be a socially liberal Republican, but I am a Republican in many ways. So I say: 

My fellow Republicans: 

It's time to stand up. It's time to stop looking at issues just as a Republican. The truth is that neither party really represents most of us anymore. Most of us are in the middle. I'm socially liberal and fiscally conservative, but really I just think the government should - for the most part - stay out of our bedrooms (and bathrooms) and our wallets. I know many of my friends and family disagree with me on some issues. That's ok. We can all still belong in the Republican party! There's room for all of us here. 

The problem is that our leadership is so far on the extremes. You have Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, who are probably the worst candidates either party could have offered. Neither of them really represent us. Neither of them represent middle America. Neither of them represent the middle class, let alone the working class. Neither of them represent most of us who are just trying to get by. We were kinda screwed either way this year.

Here's the thing, my fellow Republicans. If you're like me, this last election cycle was hell. It was all too much. So I stuck my head in the sand. I couldn't believe what was happening, so I shut down. And I know a lot of other people did the same.

That time is over. 

Wake up. Pull your head out of the sand or wherever you've had it hidden, and look around. I'm not asking you to march against Trump. I'm not even asking you to openly claim an opinion on Facebook. And I'm definitely not asking you to agree with me. 

What I am begging you to do is OPEN YOUR EYES. Look at the bills being introduced in Congress. Read the executive orders being signed. Find out what bills are being introduced in your state.

Do your research. Educate yourself. Understand what is happening in our country right now. Listen to other people's thoughts and opinions. Get your news from multiple sources, not just Fox News (or CNN). Most outlets have a bias one way or another. Don't rely on just one. 

And, whether you agree or disagree with what's going on, SPEAK UP. Take a few minutes to email your legislators. Better still, call them and actually speak to a live human being. Or best of all, show up to an event where you can speak to your legislator in person. 

However you do it, just do it. 

If we all band together, we can make a difference. It can be for the Republican cause, for the Democratic cause, or for the love of God, just for the sake of the American People. 

So please, I beg of you, let's stop fighting with each other and focus on what is actually happening in our government right now. Before it's too late. 

Not sure how to get started? Here are some resources to check out: 

  • Call the Halls: Contacting Your Representatives the Smart Way - this is a "pay what you want" guide, but if money is an issue you can totally get it for free. Just enter 0 and download. 
  • Countable - this is a new (& free) app that offers summaries of new bills and lets you contact your legislators easily (calling or in person contact is still best, though)
  • GovTrack - track legislation as it moves through Congress

If you have any other resources, please share them and I'll update the list! And remember: it's totally ok to share your opinion on social media, but you damn well better be sharing that opinion to your legislators where it will actually make a difference. Otherwise you're wasting all of our time.