Ever since Biden’s election, I feel my brain coming back on line. For the four years Trump was president all I could think about was the world, and him, and the crazy shit he was always doing and tweeting.
I read the newspapers voraciously. I followed all kinds of journalists and politicians on Twitter. I listened to the Morning Joe podcast every morning as I brushed my teeth.
I watched Rachel Maddow, and often Chris Hayes every night, too. All that stuff took up acres and acres of real estate in my head. And the whole time it was happening I knew it was toxic and eating holes in my gray matter. I knew I was sick, and obsessed, and yet I could control none of it.
To try to fix my sick brain, I consulted all the Stoicism books on my shelf. I re-read all of Ryan Holliday, bits and pieces of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius. I remembered Victor Frankl saying how you can’t control the world or other people. The only thing you can have even the smallest shot at controlling, he said, was your response to the world and other people. He learned this truth in Nazi concentration camps. So I believe him.
For four years I tried to control my response to Trump and his political mishegoss. And for four years I utterly failed.
I was either wallowing knee deep in the shit of politics, or I was watching the shit show from the sidelines, all the while trying to control my own anger, and grief, and frustration, and fear.
For four years I didn’t write much or read much. The only things I read were my book group’s monthly selection (yo, sanity saver!), the newspapers, and The Mueller Report.
Since Biden has been president, which has been less than two months, I’m already feeling so much smarter. Since Biden has been president I’ve read 11 books. I no longer read the newspapers, I just scan the headlines of the The Washington Post and The New York Times for 5 minutes, tops.
I no longer listen to Morning Joe. I may or may not check out Rachel Maddow’s A-block, but more often than not, I just go up and read in bed instead.
I finally feel my brain coming back online. These days, when I walk the dog, I no longer talk to myself about Trump. Instead, I think about yoga, or what to have for dinner, or nothing at all.
Instead I just watch Bella, and the sky, and hum show tunes from Hamilton.
2 thoughts on “My Brain On Biden”
These four years affected me differently. As a senior now, I had been much less active politically and in intentionally acting out my lifelong role of teaching and caring for others, but have handled these years by keeping far more informed and once again taking a role, if small, in local politics. Service is a powerful antidote, moving forward one step at a time each day, being deeply involved in meaningful work. We make the path by walking – not my words but the ones that move me.
Now that these years are over, I find myself sooooo much stronger and resilient, but knowing for sure that the government we have all taken for granted is fragile and needs constant attention and work.
Oh Elizabeth, I love this so much. I wish I could have been more like you, finding a way to be more active in local politics and thus emerging stronger and more resilient. Instead, I did a lot of hang-wringing and sporadic and futile calling of my state reps. My political beliefs are in the very distinct minority where I live, and to feel safe expressing them I needed a lot more social cover. Like you, though, I did recognize that I had been politically naive my entire adult life, blithely trusting that politicians, for all our disagreements, were basically ethical and had our backs. I am now disabused of that fantasy, and recognize as you so beautifully put it that our democracy is fragile and needs constant attention and work. Thank you for such a thoughtful and inspiring response.