Listen: the past few weeks have been hard. I’ve had to unplug completely from social media, carefully navigate in-person conversations, focus on quelling my heightened anxiety and re-evaluate my approach to activism. I’m tired. And the fight has barely begun. I have so much still to do. We have so much still to do.
But something my therapist pointed out in my last session — something my partner has reiterated, and my friends, and people I admire — is that self care is still important even in the wake of a very scary future. Perhaps even moreso than usual.
So while I’ve been calling and emailing government officials and having frank conversations with people (neither of which feels like anywhere near enough, but I’m honestly new to this and I’m trying my best), I’ve also been focusing on small things. Food. Showers. Sleep. Socialization.
That last one is honestly key.
I’ve always been a pretty social person; the energy of others often amps me up and makes it easier for me to get through things. It makes sense that socializing would help me get through my initial feelings about a shitty election.
I haven’t gone out for drinks and dancing since college, and then I was often more concerned with texting my then-partner than actually being out with my friends. But just before Thanksgiving (which is another bombshell, given what’s happening in North Dakota), I went to an event at a local club called Gay Goth Night with my partner and their friends. The night before, I met them all at a social justice-themed art night on my partner’s campus. Earlier in the week, they had all organized a walk-out to express solidarity in the wake of the election.
Having been unable to attend the walk-out, it was amazing to attend the art night and meet the people my partner had been talking about all week, people determined to act in solidarity with each other and support one another in the wake of the election. Amazing people.
Gay Goth Night was one of the most ridiculously fun experiences I’ve had in recent memory. There were drinks and weird Nine Inch Nails/Carly Rae Jepson mash-ups and a video loop of Aaliyah in The Queen of the Damned eating a heart. I wore dark lipstick and a translucent black top and relaxed for the first time in what felt like forever.
I can say with complete honesty that Gay Goth Night offered a shocking amount of healing. It felt fucking fantastic to get a little drunk and sweat until my makeup ran and feel really cute in the clothes I wore. Being surrounded by other LGBT people made the whole thing even better, because it felt so safe.
This blog post is way overdue because I was afraid of coming off as trite, but… you know what? Whatever. I had a good time and I want to chronicle that here. I want to note that I felt good about myself and my body and my future and the future of my community while I danced like mad to music I’ve never heard before.
I’m going to make an effort to participate in more nights like this one, because it feels good to just let go and be around people who get it. And it’s a really, really important reminder that we are never going away.