Recently, I went out of town for a week to spend some time with friends.
While I was gone, I wasn’t plugged into my usual news sources as often as I would be on a regular week. I wasn’t reading the news, and I certainly wasn’t watching it.
My status updates on social media were reserved for posting pictures of me with friends, enjoying our time together. I didn’t have time to check what was trending or to stay informed about what was going on. I trusted that for five days the resistance could carry on without me.
The truth is that when we take a break from resisting, we do not break the resistance. It continues. And our breaks become a necessary part of our self-care. In the past five days, did the current administration acquit itself with dignity? No, of course it didn’t.
There’s been no precedent for that under the new administration, and I didn’t expect my vacation to coincide with a return to dignity in the office of the president of the United States.
Actually, every day of my absence brought increasingly ridiculous news. Here’s a quick recap if you, too, were vacationing:
The president’s daughter took his place with world leaders in a stunning display of nepotism. (Sure, Ivanka, we believe you when you say you want no part of politics). And Donald Trump believes Vladimir Putin’s assertion that he did not engage in election interference, all U.S. intelligence evidence to the contrary. And, the president went for something like his 37th golfing trip after he embarrassed our country on the world stage by being unfit for leadership.
While I was drinking margaritas with friends, I expected the resistance to continue without me. And it did. Others continued to bring awareness to the issues and to contact their representatives to express their concerns. I got a much needed break, and the world did not end. The resistance did not fail.
In fact, I feel refreshed and more ready than ever to continue to be a patriot to my country and not a patsy to this president. I feel able to take on the judgment and criticism from hard-core Republicans who claim to be conservative (and yet backed a most un-conservative candidate) and patriotic but who have no issue with foreign interference in our election processes, business conflicts of interest from our country’s leader, or the shocking nepotism we’re seeing every day in the White House.
I can stand firmly on my convictions because I’ve taken care of myself. I took time away from the news, from resisting, from the daily shame of this administration. I rested and took time to enjoy my life.
It’s necessary that we all take this time and trust that the resistance will be waiting for us when we’re ready. We need our vacation time and family time and our time to simply check out from the barrage of bad news. It doesn’t make us less dedicated. It makes us more healthy.
We have a society that’s built a shrine to being over-worked and under-appreciated. We value never missing time at work or school, even if we’re sick, and even if going to work or school sick means that we may make others sick. We praise workaholics for their dedication but overlook the consequences of spending all of our lives working, rather than building, relationships with others.
Unfortunately, I sometimes think we take the same attitude with the things we’re passionate about. We act like we’re afraid to step off our soap boxes for a moment. The truth is that when we care for ourselves we have more energy to do what we need to do. Maybe we even do it better because we’re not deep into resistance fatigue. We’re refreshed and ready for the next wave of shameful news out of this administration.
When we start to think that the resistance can’t go on without us, we need to remember that we aren’t just “one.” We are many. And we’ve enough to our number that we can each take the breaks we need when we them so that we’re able to carry on.
So take the sick day or go spend a week at the beach. We’ll keep resisting while you do.
Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Jerry Kiesewetter/Unsplash
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Caitlin Oriel