10 ways I plan to find joy in between the mind-numbing waves of nausea right now
Sisters, how y’all feel? Brothers, y’all alright?” Erykah Badu opens the cult classic “Tyrone” with these two questions to get a feel for the crowd’s energy. I pose those same questions to you as the sobering reality that Donald Trump was elected president sets in. Y’all alright? I’m hanging in there. Thanks for asking.
Filmmaker Michael Moore didn’t waste any time weeping at the ways of the world. The morning after Election Day, the Flint, MI native (what happened to your state, Michael?) posted a “Morning After To-Do List” on Facebook. It includes five things we can all do to make sure something like this never happens again. It promptly went viral, as do most things that lend convenient and quantifiable “solutions” to horrifying and impossible situations. You can read the full five-point plan for yourself, which is pretty on point. But for funsies and because I like to spoil things, I’ll tell you it includes taking over the Democratic party, firing all media folks who refused to take Trump serious, and ending all “I’m shocked” and “I’m stunned” statements from your vocabularies. I mean, I see no flaws so far. Amen.
That list is great if you’re feeling powerless, dying to spring into action in strategic ways. But for those of us who aren’t cis white men and just want to know how to keep on keepin’ on for some dark days ahead, our lists look different. Here’s mine. Spoiler: It includes soaking up all the joy and magic that my black ass deserves for having to live in a country where half its citizens told me my life doesn’t mean a damn thing.
1. Dance like nobody’s watching.
As soon as Beyoncé appeared on stage to perform “Daddy Lessons” at the CMAs, I hopped off my sofa in my nightgown. My feet shuffled across the hardwood floor of my living room. I danced and sang at the top of my lungs because I love the song, because Beyoncé brings me joy, because racist country music fans didn’t want her there and she bodied her performance. MY DADDY WARNED ME ABOUT MEN LIKE YOU, HE SAID BABY GIRL, HE’S PLAYING YOU.
2. Love up on my tribe.
The “love wins over hate” rhetoric makes me nauseous. For one, it’s just not true. Hate clearly won on Tuesday. *sips tea* Mostly it irks me because it absolves people from accountability from their hatefulness, and too many times, it’s used to silence rightful rage after black folks have experienced yet another inhumane act or injustice. But dammit, you best be loving up on your folks in the days ahead. That genuine love is going to carry you in ways you didn’t know was possible.
3. Keep the texts with girlfriends lit.
This happens anyway. Every day. My texts with my homegirls is where all the laughs, plotting, venting, celebrating, throwing shade, filth and sharing goes down. Over the past two days those texts have been the greatest parts of my day. If I ever ran for public office, it’s the texts with my girls that would be the end of me. It will have all been worth it though.
4. Eating whatever the hell I want, like I already do, BUT WITH EXTRA ENTHUSIASM.
Listen. With the orange Cheeto controlling our military and having codes to nuclear weapons, life may be short. Or things will get real real fast. If I have to go out, it’s going to be having had the Doritos (red bag, always!) and the pecan pie. Depriving myself of food is not the kind of America I envision. Keep your dieting away from me. That kind of healthy food talk rubs off. And I want no parts. Thanks.
5. Get lost in books (mostly only by women).
I’m near the end of Bessie Head’s When Rain Clouds Gather. Next up is Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns. I also love revisiting Zora Neale Hurston and Alice Walker and Maya Angelou and Gloria Naylor. Nothing gives me more joy than writing ass women who make words sing.
6. Wander the world.
Because why the hell not? OK, I know this particular to-do smacks of the privilege of having the resources necessary to travel, but this is my goddamn list and I worked to have enough to get out and wander from time to time, so it stays on my list. It’s been a year and a half since my last trip to Rome. My body is ready for Greece’s pretty blue waters or Cape Town’s Table Mountain. I love traveling for all the reasons one is supposed to love it. But after January 2017, I predict travel will be a necessary break from the fires that will surely erupt, assuming it’s still as freely possible as it currently is. Anyone from another country reading this: Please have mercy on me. I am not an entitled American who lacks home training. Yes, I am American, but I’m also a black woman. I did what I could. Don’t judge too hard.
7. Cuss people out who deserve it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. When they go low, you go high. You never let anyone make you come out of character. You’re a lady. I hope you can visualize my eyes rolling to the back of my head. Never subscribed to the idea that women have to be “nice” because the underlying message off niceness is to be quiet while being disrespected and abused. Nah. I’m good on that. We should all be kind, but that is not the same as niceness as its intended for women. So I’m from the school of “I wish a mofo would” that Cedric the Entertainer told us about. Cussing people out when they need to be cussed out is good for the soul. Tread lightly, that’s all I’m saying.
8. Bomb sex and nothing else will do.
What more is there to say? Don’t be out here settling for subpar D, ladies. He’s getting his so you need to get yours.
9. Avoiding teachable moments like a plague.
Nope. Not teaching you how to not be a xenophobic, transphobic, homophobic, racist, sexist dick. Teachers get paid. If you demand I teach you, I’m going to send you a link to my Cash account every time. No money, no lesson.
10. Celebrating when black women win!
Black women winning is one of my life’s greatest joys. Black women politicians, filmmakers, actresses, singers, chefs, artists, writers, activists, every day black women. Black women are the truth, the light and the way. Every time one wins it feels like a win for us all. So I’m going to congratulate and celebrate whenever we do what black girls been doing from day one — shine!