Where I’ve Been, Election Reflections, and Getting Out of my Own Dang Way

My leave of absence from The Worrier was not intentional or planned. They never are, for me. As usual many factors contributed to it. The election was one of them. My own bleh mood and the chemicals dancing in my brain were others. Having two jobs and receiving rejection from a third one that could have replaced them both while also aligning better with my career goals didn’t help either. Neither did thinking that I would have a long-term bimonthly writing gig at a respected nutrition site only to be told that my writing wasn’t their “style” after writing two articles.

I’m not here to complain. I’m just trying to work my way through what’s been feeling off in my life and in my writing these last couple of months. I wonder if it’s so hard for everyone to point at one thing and say, That’s it! That’s why I feel so crappy and bleh and both bored and overwhelmed all at once! For me, there’s usually a laundry-list of reasons, some big and some small.

The election was a big one.

The next morning I woke up at 7 am and cried, and then I couldn’t go back to sleep, even though I didn’t work until noon. After coffee and breakfast, with a depressing side of news and social media, I ended up napping from 9 to 11 am, unable to deal with the weight of being awake in this harsh new reality.

I was borderline despondent all day. At work, I just kept my head down and tried to do my job without anyone noticing that anything was off, so they wouldn’t ask what was wrong.

As a white, heterosexual, cis, middle class women, it was perhaps my first experience with feeling disenfranchised and completely worthless in the eyes of society. The fact that some people couldn’t understand how I and many others felt this way only made it all the worse.

Because even when a highly-qualified, highly-intelligent, slightly nasty woman goes up against an unqualified, ignorant, blatantly racist, sexist, and xenophobic man accused of sexual assault, she loses, and somehow many people still don’t see the problem.

This post is not meant to be a rant about the election or even about sexism. There are plenty of good ones out there though, that explore what the results of this election really mean for us. Ones that are less rant-y and more intelligent than my brain dump. Like this one, this one, or this compilation of 16 writers’ thoughts on Trump’s America.

I was briefly inspired to write a blog post a day or two after the election. I went on a walk and got some of my thoughts in order. But when I came back home, I gave my laptop the briefest of glances and then decided not to write.

So many other people–smarter ones, better writers, and ones with more perspective on the issues–had already or would go on to write important things. My drop in the ocean felt unnecessary and meaningless.

While I’m not saying that my piece would have come anywhere close to the breath-taking beauty and darkness of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s (linked above), it would not have been meaningless. Even if no one read it, getting my thoughts out on paper–as it were–never hurts.

This is something I need to work on. The tendency to devalue my own thoughts, words, and experiences just because someone out their does something similar and does it better than I can.

I get in my own way, a lot. So do my anxiety and my tendency towards depressive episodes, but I can control it when it’s actually me doing it, and not my mental illness. (I write a friggin’ blog about mental health, and saying that have a mental illness is still hard. I backspaced and rewrote that phrase half a dozen times.)

I hope this post marks the end of my leave of absence from the Worrier and marks the beginning of me doing what I want, no matter how much I also try to get in my own way.

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