On Doing A News Cleanse

 

Since I love to read, people often ask me for book recommendations. But after November 9, I’ve been letting those people down — save for a few lengthy protest signs, pretty much the only thing I’ve read since the election has been the news.

At this point it’s addictive. I’ve grown accustomed to a twenty-minute rage spiral before breakfast. I once answered a barista’s question of “What kind of milk?” without looking up from my phone and letting my brain wires cross: “A splash of ‘FUCK REX TILLERSON.’ I mean…soy.”

A few friends have talked to me about their own efforts to read less news as an act of self-care, an action I initially looked down upon. How are we supposed to resist if we don’t even know what there is to fight against? In a time of political unrest, self-care feels selfish.

But then, smack in the middle of Trump’s third week, I took a vacation. It was a ski trip to Japan that I’d had booked for months, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that consisted just as much of checking my privilege as it did of actual skiing. Giving up my news diet wasn’t part of the plan — I figured I’d spend my mornings in a Twitter-induced panic, the same way I do in the states.

But I didn’t. That was partially because of time zones, but it also because it felt GOOD to bask in a few days of uninterrupted happiness. I realized I hadn’t allowed myself to feel pure joy since before the election — Trump’s toupee-sized shadow had been cast over everything.

I also realized news is a distraction. Even though I didn’t know much of what was happening in the world (found out about Flynn, the EPA, and even Beyoncé’s Grammy situation later in the week), I still knew my stances on the issues (respectively: One less idiot to deal with; climate change is fucking real; WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A BLACK ARTIST TO WIN HOLY FUCK). I still knew which senators I needed to contact to make progress. Slow, steady, and dedicated wins this race.

Reading the news constantly during the resistance is like checking your work email during your most productive time of day — they both smack you in the face and moves you backwards, because that’s what they’re designed to do. It’s tempting to devour headlines immediately and emphatically slam the share button, but don’t give in.

RESIST. Just like we practiced.