Are you dealing with anxiety? I am. With all the wacky things going on right now some days I feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off. And those are my good days. Basically, I am the opposite of zen.
I’m a Little Bit Anxious
At this moment, we are dealing with quite a lot. First, forest fires are raging on the West Coast and here in Boulder County. Second, Covid19.
Finally, and most anxiety-provoking for me, a strange election unfolds that has those in authority championing old forms of voter suppression in ultra-creative new ways.
What Are You Doing?
Now and then I stop and say to myself, “2020 what are you doing?!” It’s all just a bit much. But deep down I am mostly worried that these are the good times and that things could get much worse.
Colorado Forest Fires
So, let us begin. As I write this three forest fires are raging around us, two of them within eight miles of us here in Boulder County. The air quality is terrible and it’s too smoky to go outside.
On top of that, it smells like a plastic factory with mothballs in it burned down. Talk about feeling trapped during quarantine. My daily walks outside that sparked great joy are over for now.
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But I really can’t complain about being inside my home when so many here in Boulder County have lost their homes and can’t do the same because their dwellings have burnt to the ground.
This makes me more sad and anxious than words can describe.
When 2020 began I did not understand certain concepts that were to become key this year. Covid19? Quarantine baking? Fomite transmission? Mask-wearing? People arguing over mask-wearing? These ideas were foreign to me. I only wish they still were.
It all quickly became personal in March when we had to rush home a family member traveling in Europe. In April, we Lost a Loved One to COVID and then had to figure out how to grieve during the pandemic. The only word to describe this is “surreal.”
Now we must multiply our own grief times 223,547 families. That is how many people have died of this terrible disease here in the US. It’s hard not to be in constant COVerwhelm. The devastation wrought by this national disaster makes my own MS Diagnosis look like a cakewalk.
Still, the pandemic rages on and we are told not to fear it. What are we supposed to do? Shut Up and Bake?
In essence, we leave behind the first wave of Covid19 without a coherent national strategy, as we move into the cold weather and the impending, larger second wave.
Last but not least, we come to the election. I haven’t ever hidden the fact that my husband and I are passionate Democrats, and committed progressives. One thing our family has been enthusiastic about this year is supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
This commitment applies to equality in all arenas of life. Right now, an extremely urgent issue is guaranteeing equal access when it comes to voting.
Unfortunately, this year we have seen an enormous increase in institutionalized voter suppression as the Republican party has gone to war on this constitutional right.1, 2
These white supremacist tactics date back to the Reconstruction era and entail blocking American citizens from the polls.
After the Civil War, poll taxes and literacy tests were enacted to keep Black voters from casting their ballots.3
They’re legit taking the mailboxes off the street. Cheating 101. pic.twitter.com/hkXcV5vtBH— Isaac Hayes III (@IsaacHayes3) August 14, 2020
The New Poll Tax
Here are some new forms of the old poll tax, as covered by Fox News and other sources:
- 1 ballot box for 4.7 million people in Harris County, TX4, 5, 6
- Eliminate polling places in urban areas7,8, 9
- Remove USPS mailboxes10 and sorting machines11
These exceptionally creative tactics undermine democracy.
We need to make it as easy as possible for everyone to vote! Not harder.
If only this administration put this much effort into helping its citizens exercise their rights, rather than hindering them, I would not be up at night worrying about a potential coup d’etat.
What Are You Anxious About?
Are you feeling a little unnerved during these strange times when an incumbent says they’re “running angry” and has stated numerous times they won’t accept the results of this election? Frankly, this freaks me out.
What Can We Do?
I love hearing from you all about what you’re going through and how you’re experiencing these times. Leave a comment and let me know how you’re holding up. I want to hear from all of you!
Elana, I read all of your posts when I can, and I’m glad to have learned more about your lived experience as it pertains to MS, celiac, smart homes, cleaning, organizing, politics, grieving, Jewish traditions, and so much more. The recipes that you have shared are wonderful too! I hope you and your family stay safe, and I look forward to reading about what is on your mind! Best, MorticiA
Morticia, thanks for this comment and all of the other wonderful comments you’ve left on my website. Take good care!
barbara tobar says
I love your site I have learned many things..for me, my daughter’s mental illness has kicked into overdrive..truly making every day a mystery to who or what she will be…I voted by mail already as my mailman took my vote..the post office removed boxes and sorters way before the election mode kicked in..trump felt it was going to cause issues..the head of the post office person had to answer for this…I’m praying life becomes peaceful..the hate goes away and the covid vaccine comes quickly for the people who want or need it…my heart goes out to all the people affected by the fires and especially all the animals who can’t care for themselves..I pray you will be safe as well as my brother.
Barbara, thanks for your comment and for your kind words. I’m so sorry to hear about all you’re dealing with on top of everything else.
I am afraid if what is coming.
Susan, I am still hopeful, but at the same time very afraid.
Anne Esparza says
I applaud you that you opened yourself up about everything going on. I have been getting increasingly more anxious and angry about all the current events; The voting interference is especially troublesome. I am in fear of another 4 years of American going in a downward spiral. My MS is worse now than it’s been in 28 years. I am desperately trying to do things to get my ms to calm down. Dial in my diet more, less news, more meditation. One day at a time or one minute at a time is all I can do.
Anne, thanks for sharing your thoughts and your heart here. I’m so sorry you’re going through this but glad we are on this path together.
ohhh yes, anxiety abounds here. When I think of all the people moving heaven and earth to vote early (which they most certainly shouldn’t have to do) I start feeling just the tiniest bit of hope, and then I feel like I have to squash it down immediately because I am so terrified about what is going to happen. I mean, even the best case scenario doesn’t look good. I feel like if there were an endpoint when I knew it’d be over I could be ok, but there’s no certain endpoint for either the election or COVID-19, so I feel frayed thin and hanging by a thread all the time. It is a hard time to be a parent right now–trying not to terrify my almost-9-year-old, trying to have hope for the future, but finding only worry.
Thanks for posting this. It helps not to feel alone.
Rachel, thanks for your comment and for being on this healing path together. We are not alone we have each other :-)
This makes me teary, Elana! Thank you for your kind response. We’ll make it together. Much love to you from NE.
Rachel, sending you all the love and hugs. Hang in there!
I’ve learned, more than ever, not to focus on things that are out of my control. Every so often I allow myself to let in the outrage, fear, grief and disbelief. I notice that when I do I find myself fearful, anxious, heartbroken and enraged. Has that changed the situations? No. I have only made myself feel horrible. Life is too precious, and far too short for me to keep my focus on the chaos and loss. So I once again unplug, tune in, focus on gratitude, and count my blessings. Living in the moment has become a life-raft in a sea of uncertainty. Sending you love, and ease of heart, dear Elana.
Kalyn, thanks for your beautiful comment :-)
Cath Howell says
Hugs hugs and more hugs, Elana!!!!
I feel very much like you.
Confusion abounds. Sorrow is crippling.
Loneliness from isolation stupifying.
What works for me … naming things I’m grateful for and meditating.
When that doesn’t work, I resorted recently to something I used to do as a kid that shifted my perspective and keeps me occupied if even for a moment…
I count backeard from 100 by 3’s.
Not to minimize the hardships by suggesting something so silly, but what it does for me is bring me right into the present moment even for a bit to give my poor brain a break from the insanity.
I’ve also been known to watch reruns of Bugs Bunny. Or Carol Burnett.
A little laughter helps me.
I send light and love.
Cath, thanks for your phenomenal comment. I’m going to count backwards by 3s too. It sounds super fun. And thanks for reminding me about laughter. Sending you hugs :-)
Hang in there! We just recently lived through the fires in the Santa Cruz mountains. Fire came up to our back fence. If it weren’t for our local volunteer fire department that was there our house would be gone. It’s been a long haul. 2.5 months now and we still aren’t home. Dealing with insurance is a nightmare in regards to smoke remediation. So on top of Covid and the election and homeschooling two kiddos for the first time we are dealing with not knowing when we can go home. Crossing our fingers cleaning starts this week. Living day by day, breathing and reminding ourselves just how lucky we are to have a home to back to.
Rachelle, thanks for being absolutely amazing and sorry to hear about what you’re going through.
Lisbeth Whitney says
I am behind you 100%! Thank you for being so open about your life, struggles and yes, politics.
All the best from Midcoast Maine,
Lisbeth, thanks for reaching out from Midcoast Maine. I’m so grateful we’re on this path together :-)
Just writing in again to say how much I appreciate your recipe AND non-recipe blogs. My feelings are more like rage when I think about voter suppression. I have hope things will change, although not fast enough. I could go on, but wanted to say thank you for using your blog in positive, intelligent, informative and don’t forget delicious ways :)
Alayna, what a great comment. Thanks for your support and for being on this healing path with me :-)