Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture

Why I Can’t Focus on Anything But the Fight

Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, I’ve had difficulty finding words.

Words are my job, but when I sit down to my computer, all I want to write is FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK over and over.

In fact, I do write FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK over and over, but then I delete it, and I stare at an empty computer screen.

Right now nothing feels as important to me than writing about what is currently happening in America, and even then, I cannot construct a sentence that adequately conveys my anger and fear.

Every morning I have to fight the urge to not throw away my work — I’m a freelance copywriter who also has a blog and is working on a book proposal and screenplay — to become a professional activist. I’m only grounded when I remind myself that I need to make money in order to survive.

Many of my friends in writing and film have said the same thing: Making art not pertaining to what is going on feels trivial.

In order to see if other people are feeling the same way, yesterday I asked on Twitter, “Creative folks, do you feel the deep urge to scrap your current creative pursuits to focus solely on work pertaining to advocacy?”

Here are some of the responses I received:
“no, but its made me feel like being less existential and navel gazey and do something of a more fun genre with politics inside.”

“I’ve traded creative pursuits for freedom fighting. We’ve never seen a crisis like this before. Do something while you can.”

“NO. One feeds the soul, the other feeds the heart. One drives me out into the world and one drives me into myself — need both.”

“yes, I can’t seem to find the energy or focus for anything else.”

“Looking for ways for them to dovetail, but advocacy’s taking priority rn. Trying to figure out a long game.”

“Yes. I actually looked up LSAT prep courses this weekend. While not advocacy perse, if I can help defend people who are.”

I agree with responders who say it doesn’t have to be one over the other. I truly believe that you can do both — create art and fight injustice — but my mind cannot focus on anything but the calamity that is currently unfolding in our country. With that being said, I’m also finding it difficult to talk about anything else with my friends, family and neighbors. (Believe me, I really don’t love being the buzzkill of the group.)

Escapism is always an important tool for society. When matters of the world and our personal lives weigh heavy on us, we need light entertainment to make us laugh and smile. Not only that, socially-driven art that is created during times of turmoil help remind us of where we were and how far we’ve come.

I get it.
I get it.
I get it.

But shit, I don’t care about what is coming out of Hollywood right now. I don’t care about what social media influencers are sharing right now. I don’t care about what music hit the Top 40 this week (to be honest, I never do.) I don’t care about writing anything that doesn’t add to the fight.

So let me ask you, as a creative person or not, do you currently feel like abandoning your work to focus on the fight? Are you finding it challenging to focus on anything but the resistance?

Originally appeared on my Medium page.

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  • Reply Diana February 1, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Thank you for this. I have been finding it very hard to just live my life these days. It just feels wrong. Going grocery shopping while Trump is banning muslims from our country. Going to a concert while Trump and his cabinet just lie and lie and lie. It all feels wrong right now, like we’ve slipped into an alternate universe. Thanks again for posting this. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  • Reply Kristal February 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    Im about to write our Governor in Texas and local representatives regarding issues we are now starting to face since the election. Definitely taking some steps backwards in some regards.

  • Reply Toni February 11, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Completely agree! Before Trumps inauguration I spent a lot of time listening to NPR. I loved all the knowledge I acquired on a daily basis but now I can barely listen for five minutes as everything I hear makes my blood boil so bad I feel like I’m having a panic attack. Instead I go and sit in a local cafe and struggle not to give a hug to every person who looks in any way alternative or like they might belong to a minority. If someone gives even a hint of being pro Trump I worry about how I’ll stop myself from flying into an all out rage. Saying all that I have no idea what I can do right now that would be constructive. Ideas of what to do with all this energy/frustration are very welcome!

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