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For God's Sake, John, SIT DOWN! Pt. 2

Hey. How are you holding up today? Did you sleep well last night? Or any of the previous nights? What's going through your mind right now? Probably a lot. What is the first thing that comes into your mind after hearing the results? Fear? Hope? Anger? Joy? Betrayal? Relief? Anxiety? Frustration? Calm? Resistance? Hopelessness? Gratitude? Sadness? I bet you're probably looking like this right now...

Or this...

Or even this...

First of all, it's okay to feel what you're feeling right now. It's been a tumultuous week, month, and even year for all of us. You shouldn't have to hold back or dismiss your emotions as being silly. It's been intense for all of us, and no one is alone in feeling so much that it overwhelms you. Can I be honest with you for a second? I didn't sleep well on Election night. Not so much for the results, but for what would happen afterward. It's anyone's guess at how things will go after all is said and done. I'm hopeful for things to work out for the best, but even I have to admit I do have my doubts. And I've concluded that it's normal to feel this way. After what happened in 2016, it's perfectly normal to want to hyperventilate in a paper bag or bite your nails or pray insistently all through the night and days to come. Believe me, I either want to do all of that or one of those things. But if you know me, I tend to pray more than hyperventilating or biting my nails. However, those two things did cross my mind. Somehow, I was able to wake up after a sleepless night and take on the next day. And the next day. And the next day. I intend to take on each day with gratitude and hope because each day that we're granted to live out is a gift. That's why it's called the present. Let me ask you this. Was this election everything you hoped it would be? Are you glad it's FINALLY over? Did your candidate win? Are you looking forward to the changes that are to come in the new year with a new administration? Congress? House? Senators? Government officials? Or are you dreading what's to come with the same administration? Congress? House? Senators? Government officials? What will you do now? Before you answer the last question, let's do something together. It will only take a minute. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Hold it in for 10 seconds. Exhale through the mouth slowly. Let's do it again. Deep breath in through your nose. Hold it in for 10 seconds. Release the breath through your mouth slowly. One more time. In through your nose. Hold for 10 seconds. Let the breath come out through your mouth slowly. There. Do you feel better at all? At least your head's clearer, right? And maybe from this, you can focus on the next steps going forward. You're probably over the moon with the results. If that's you, great! I'm happy you got what you hoped for from this election. But what if you're not happy with the results? What do you do then? Well, you can do a number of things. You can cry. You can scream into your pillow. Or use it as a punching bag. You can blast your music really loud so that all the neighbors will hear you. You can talk to someone you care about and vent about what happened or vice versa. You can pray. You can protest (but no rioting, please!). You can hug each other in comfort. You can drown your sorrows in alcohol. You can turn off the news and focus on calming things to clear your mind. Or even do some self-care to help with the emotions. It's your choice. You can do any of those things, as long as it's legal and safe. As I stated earlier, it's okay to feel the emotions you have. You shouldn't neglect to feel at all. It's been a trying time for all of us, and we often forget that we do have emotions and things we want to get off of our chest. I'm doing something that's helping me with my emotions, and that's writing blogs. As long as I don't insult anybody or think of myself as superior and all-knowing, I find that writing helps release much of the emotions onto the page. I encourage you to do something similar - be creative! Write a poem, paint a picture, do some photography, compose a new song, sing out loud with your speakers on full blast, watch your favorite show or movie, or even go out for a long walk. Just do something for yourself and allow yourself to feel. It's hard not to be around each other in person because of the pandemic, but always allow time for yourself in order to navigate through the overwhelming emotions of the election and this year. It's a lot, and you deserve to take care of yourself. If all else fails, schedule a Zoom party to see and chat with one another. It's not the same thing as being together in-person, but every little bit helps, right? Remember this especially: if you are in need of medical attention for any reason - physical, emotional, or mental - please do not hesitate to seek out help. It's hard to ask for help and even get the right kind of assistance these days, but it's out there. No one should have to do this alone. You are NEVER alone, contrary to what you may be experiencing right now. (Before I go too far, let me say that it's been a pleasure writing these blogs for you, and even during this uncertain time, I have no intention of stopping any time soon. Whether that's sharing an opinion, an experience, a thought, or a story, I enjoy writing. And I hope you enjoy reading them. It's my way of reaching out to you with hope and encouragement. But just remember one very important detail: these are all just my opinions, thoughts, and experiences. I'm not all-knowing or even try to act superior on a topic because we're all still learning and growing together. You are welcome to disagree with me on whatever I have to say, but I draw the line at harassment and abuse. If I experience that by any means on my blogs, I will find a way to block you. No one deserves to be treated as any less of a human being, and if you go that far, I will ask you to leave.) What have I been doing during the Election days and weeks, you ask? Well, for starters, I've been limiting how much news I see and hear on a regular basis. It's been taking a toll on my emotional and mental health, and I'm grateful for Social Fixer for Facebook and hiding names, words, and phrases so that I'm not bombarded with so much at once. I also mute words and phrases on Twitter. I also took it upon myself to stay away from social media for the next few weeks in order to not be overwhelmed with all that's going on right now. By the time you read this, I'm on day 6 of a two-week vacation from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. And I'm feeling great! It's nice not to be addicted to social media and focus on other things, such as the physical world around you. I've been catching up with my reading, listening to music, and slowly getting into the Christmas spirit. (I've actually begun listening to Christmas music, one song a day, of course!) But I always manage to take walks around the neighborhood for the fresh air and seeing the leaves change colors. It does wonders, believe me. How am I feeling right now? Without going into too much detail, I'm relieved that it's all over and we don't have to deal with this again for another four years (or if there are any congressional elections coming up another two years). I can actually breathe easier again and look forward to what the rest of November brings, even in a pandemic. I also plan on praying. A LOT. For my family, friends, colleagues, strangers, and this nation. All of you reading this are deserving of God's grace, and I hope you know that you are loved by Him and by so many people. I pray for all of you. Each and every day. I'm not going to share how I feel about the results because I believe my politics are my business and those who know me best know who I support and oppose. But what I will share is something important for me and for you to do after all is said and done. Be PROACTIVE. If there's one thing that these past few elections are teaching us, it's that we can't rely on one person to fix all of the problems and become complacent. It doesn't take one person to solve all of the problems in the world, particularly in our nation. And that's what we have to remember from here on out. Remember what America Ferrara said at the Women's March in 2017? The president works for us. The administration works for us. The House and Senate work for us. Government officials work for us. We HAVE to be active in our local, state, and federal governments, even if it's just writing and signing petitions or attending protests. I applaud all of you for taking the time to write letters, postcards, make phone calls, write emails, and more to encourage people to register to vote and actually cast their ballots in this election. That's being proactive. I salute all of you protesting and making your voices heard these past four years through signing petitions and making phone calls. That's being proactive. I want to hug you for having those difficult conversations about race, sexuality, equality, and more topics with your loved ones and complete strangers. That's being proactive. I'm honored that you are fighting for the true ideals of a nation that you want future generations to be proud of and move forward into the future with vision and hope. That's being proactive. Yes, it can be taxing to protest constantly. Yes, it's a nuisance to have to sign petitions and call your local government officials. Yes, it's even a pain in the butt to research potential candidates who are running for office. But it's essential to have your voice heard loud and clear. It's necessary to take action. It's your right to be the change you want to see, regardless of your political party. I encourage all of you to reflect on the past four years but also be inspired by what you want to do next. You CAN be the change you want to see in the world. It is possible. And remember to be kind, courageous, understanding, open-minded, helpful, compassionate, respectful, sincere, curious, patient, and loving to all you encounter. We're all HUMANS, and each and every one of us has worth, even in spite of our differences. And just remember to breathe. It's no good doing anything if you're holding your breath. Here's to a hopeful four years, and much more. I hope it's everything you want it to be.

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