Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

I had a tough time figuring out what topic to guest blog for Emily. My mind has been so busy with madness lately. It’s been hard to focus on much of anything — especially some brilliant observation or existential discovery. My name is Erin, and I’m an advertising copywriter and wannabe hardcore journalist — basically a sell out for the sake of wearing cute workout clothes and keeping my hair a slightly nicer shade of blonde.

 

My favorite kind of writing comes from the heart. It makes you feel like your time spent reading was worthwhile. That’s how I feel about the Whine Night blog. It always leaves a good taste in my mouth. An uplifting moment of clarity. A breath of fresh air. Something new to learn or an insightful take. I’m always glad I’ve read it.

 

I’m personally cursed with the need to look on the bright side of things, and I use cursed because it really is the worst. I’m the freak on the sinking ship thanking everybody for the opportunity to get to know them. And as things have been wickedly negative these past few days — bleak as far as a lot of people’s feelings go — it felt necessary for me to find those goddamn silver linings. Like I said, I can’t not revel in the reality of negativity.

 

This isn’t a political post — although I’m pretty sure that’s what anybody says right before they say something ridiculously political. Like, if you have to give a disclaimer, you’re probably about to break it. That being said, everyone — regardless of political stance — is completely aware of the scalding hot temperature of everybody’s political cider right now. THAT being said, this is totally political.

 

Here’s a few kinda-sorta-okay-that’s-a-little-nice things I’ve found:

  • We’re evaluating what matters.

People have taken a step back and really had to evaluate their core truths. For the first time in many of our adult lives, we’ve been worried about things we used to take for granted. People are having conversations about what they care about, and truly questioning what matters to them, and deciding what they’re going to refuse to be silent about.

 

  • We’re putting our money where our mouths are.

People have been donating in record numbers to causes they care about.

After the recent executive order on refugees entering from 7 majority-Muslim countries, the American Civil Liberties Union received over $24 million in donations from 356,306 people — six times what it usually makes in a year.

Even Mike Pence got on board — donating more than 80,000 times to Planned Parenthood within a few weeks of the election. 😉

 

  • We’re keeping informed.

I’m a huge news nerd.

National Public Radio is the soundtrack to my life. (Really though, if you haven’t discovered good journalism, this is my plug for you to tune in. It. Is. So. Good.)

But for the first time in a long time — probably since journalism school — people are tuning in and talking about it (instead of me just yelling at Steve Inskeep about everything he reports on my morning commute. I know I shouldn’t kill the messenger, Steve.)

I hate to bring in Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education pick up. More than I hate the fact that vaping is a thing, or that people are actually using the term academic as an insult (maybe not that much). But her confirmation is the perfect example — even if it didn’t go the way many people wanted. It’s got to be a tiny victory that her incompetence was well reported, leading to an unprecedented tie breaking vote.

(Sidenote: My personal hope is that people will vote out the senators who approved her, but unfortunately that will be after we’ve started teaching kids that Jesus rode dinosaurs and it’s sixty degrees in February because God likes spring clothing more than any other season.)

 

  • We’re getting involved.

From nonviolent marches to phone calls to volunteering time, more people are standing up for what they believe in. America is speaking, and we cannot lose hope. Because they’re listening. Even if they’re pretending they can’t hear.

 

My mom once shared with me four things you can do if you’re frustrated in your current situation: You can take just a moment to appreciate, improve, protect, or connect.

  • Appreciate anything big or small — the sun peeking through the clouds, or the way your coworker puts a little pink post-it on her laptop camera, just in case someone hacks her.
  • Improve your immediate surroundings — brush your teeth or clean off your desk. Pour some tea to help that sore throat you’ve been ignoring all morning.
  • Protect something or someone — like putting a plate under a plant so it doesn’t destroy your porch or spray some waterproofing on your boots.
  • Connect with someone — send a thank you note, or call up a friend.

These four things will make you feel better immediately.

 

And now, we make art.

 

…..

 

Erin McCarthy is an advertising copywriter and freelance journalist based in Pittsburgh, PA. She is a mediocre (at best) triathlete, but a kickass group fitness and cycle instructor and mom to the world’s smiliest 120lb. dog.

Follow her at http://eleemccarthy.blogspot.com/ or instagram.com/eleemccarthy.


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