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Happy New Year: Thoughts on crawling out of the T-hole and doing good in 2017


January 1, 2017 by J.C. Lillis


Happy 2017, guys.


So I’ve been doing some thinking. That’s been hard lately, because I’ve been struggling like hell with election-related depression for the past few months, and thinking while depressed can feel like swimming through jello. But I did it anyway, and the conclusion I came to is:

I can’t do this anymore.

What I mean is, this poison in my veins, this dread that’s rendered me useless since November 9? I can’t carry this with me into 2017. There’s so much to be rightfully outraged about, but I can’t hold all that outrage in this one small human body without collapsing or imploding. Maybe you feel like that too. There’s no way to face what we’re facing with a smile, but if I don’t set down some of this burden, I’ll be of zero use to anyone. And I want to be of use to as many people as possible in the new year.

So here’s what I did, and what I’ll do. I’m sharing it because some of you might be feeling stuck too, and who knows, maybe this will help. (I totally acknowledge that for some people, crawling out of the Tr*mp hole is impossible right now. I don’t even know if this stuff will work for me, but I have to try.)

1. I went through my personal FB and deleted all the Tr*mp talk. Some of the interesting conversations I screenshotted for posterity, but all the other stuff I zapped. Not because I don’t believe it, but because it was cathartic to purge that man from my personal space.

2. I made a list of organizations I want to donate to in the new year. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, and seeing the list in black and white instantly made me feel lighter and more productive.

3. I made another list of small things I can do in the new year to help those who’ll be particularly affected by this administration. (For example, I want to donate books featuring diverse characters to school and public libraries, be more engaged in local activism, use my small platform as a YA author to boost diverse writers and artists, and continue writing queer love stories with happy endings.)

4. I imposed a daily limit on the time I spend reading the news and scrolling through Twitter for hot takes on the latest outrage. It’s hard because we need to stay informed and vigilant, but I’ve been spending literally hours a day on it, and staying informed means nothing when you’re dead inside.

5. I opened up my Notes app and wrote down all the books I want to cram into my brain over the next few months as I refuel my writing tank. Stories can’t save us from the war ahead, but they can help us survive it day by day.

6. I resolved to be a force for good in the world, in whatever small ways I can. I want to challenge myself to defy oppression by preserving the things that make me useful to the world. I don’t want fear and despair to mute my perseverance, my commitment to justice and equality, my passion for storytelling, my sense of humor. Keeping those things alive will be my first act of defiance. Hopefully I’ll have the courage to follow through when more acts are required to preserve our freedoms and our progress toward a more just and inclusive society.

So there’s my 2017 starter kit. What’s in yours? As we head into the unknown together, let’s be there for each other and share our best survival tips. My inbox is open (jclillisbooks AT gmail) if you ever need to talk.


1 comment »

  1. Christi Frey says:

    *hands you a sword and a blankie*

    Gear up, we’ve got a big hike ahead! Glad to have you on the journey!

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