Don’t mind me as I cry through this post.
Don’t mind me as I cry on social media.
Don’t mind me as I cry.
My nephew has cancer. That you’ve seen, since I won’t stop talking about it because cancer is all consuming. And he’s doing well, considering they’re basically killing his immune system and bringing it back to life with his brother’s bone marrow.
It’s been horrible and beautiful and intriguing watching the way these kids deal with tragedy. I was twelve when my father was diagnosed with leukemia. It rocked me to my core. My nephew was twelve when his brother was diagnosed, thirteen when he gave him the life saving donation of his bone marrow. My nephew with cancer is nine and he has a twin sister who is handling this as best as she can. My other nieces are seven and eight and they too are showing signs of the wear and tear of grief.
Children are amazing things.
But they are also fragile.
What happens to children now will affect them their whole life.
I’m sure you remember. That unforgivable thing someone did. That horrible incident that happened. The tragedy of childhood.
I spend a lot of time talking to my nieces and nephews about their feelings. Holding them. Kissing their foreheads. Telling them how loved they are. Helping them as best as I can.
My heart longs to hold them more. To protect them more.
I cannot imagine what it would feel like if I could not touch them. If I did not know where they were.
You know what’s going on with families at the border between the USA and Mexico. I don’t have to tell you how horrible it is.
You’ve probably been holding the children in your life closer to your body, clinging to them, like I have.
You know how tragedy can affect children. You know how much they need their loved ones to survive.
You know because you are human and lovely and loving.
I don’t need to tell you there is hurt and pain in the world. You’re a writer. You know all about hurt and pain.
Sometimes tragedies can make us feel alone and useless.
I want to tell you that you are not alone and you are far from useless.
There ways to survive this. There are ways you can help.
Let’s start with ways to survive, because I want you to stick around:
- The National Suicide Hotline is here for you. You can call and talk to someone, chat online, or peruse their site for helpful information if you can’t bring yourself to talk to someone. One really rough night, the LGBT section of that site saved my life. It’s here if you need it. Don’t be afraid to use it.
- WRITE! Journaling is especially helpful during times of high trauma and stress. Here are four ways to use journaling to survive politics and the news. If you’re struggling, you can have my Journal Through It course for free. Just reply to this email and I’ll send you a code.
- Get off social media. Yes, it’s important to know what’s going on, but social media can be an emotional death trap. Turn your phone off and shove it in a drawer. Download Freedom or Moment to help control your usage. Delete social media from your phone. Do what you need to do to protect your mental health.
Now that you’re still here (thank you for sticking around on this planet and this email), here’s what you can do to help the world at large:
- Check out the Families Belong Together movement. There’s lots you can do to help and their website makes it easy to act. My sister, nieces and I are marching in the rally on June 30 in San Diego. If you’re in the area and want to go with people who are scared of crowds and have to pee every fifteen minutes but are there anyways because it’s important, you’re welcome alongside us.
- If you’re in the USA, call 202-224-3121 to tell your congress members how you feel about what’s going on. You don’t actually have to talk to someone (my introvert self sighed with relief at this) just leave a message. Here’s a template: “I live in _____ and I support/don’t support ______.” Super simple and makes a huge difference. If you’re not in the USA, find out how to do the same in your country.
- Sign-up for the National Bone Marrow Registry. It’s easy, painless, free, and could save a life. Sometimes when I’m feeling like nothing I’m doing is helping, I remember that I’m on a list of people who could maybe save someone’s life. That’s something.
Practice radical self-care then practice radically activism. In that order.
Love to you. Love to all of us. Keep your artist writer heart safe.
P.S. Reading is HUGE self-care for me. I’d love to know your recommendations for books that take you out of your mind and into a new world. Reply and let me know.
This week’s writerly resources:
- Editor P. Claire Dodson is looking for “new entertainment news writers to take on ~300 word breaking stories about celebs/music/movies/TV for Teen Vogue.”
- Are you a person of color in publishing? Check out these mentorship opportunities.
- There are 7 weeks left until the deadline to apply to the NHMC TV Writers Program! Make sure to apply by 8/5/18. For more information, visit http://nhmc.org/writersprogram.
- The Women’s National Book Association has an opening on their board for someone in the NYC area. Check out this tweet for info.
- Impossible Archetype is an international online journal of LGBTQ+ poetry that welcomes work from LGBTQ+ poets of all genders. They’re accepting submissions now until August 1.
Thanks to Submittable for a lot of these links. Got a resource you want to share with others? Reply to this email and let me know.
What we’re loving right now (suggestions for books, blogs, movies, art, etc. from me and my readers):
- Just finished Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and I loved it. But I am a sucker for a YA book featuring a young girl questioning what her parents and the world have told her.
- I’m listening to V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and the narrator is fabulous at transporting me to a place far from here, which I need sometimes when life gets overwhelming.
- I’m reading Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal and loving practicing my Spanish while rereading a favorite.
Got a book or article you’re loving right now? Created something you’d like to share with other readers? Reply to this message and I’ll include your recommendation in a future newsletter. Also, let’s connect on Goodreads!
Please note: some of these links above may be affiliate links, meaning I get a % if you make a purchase on the site it links to. Affiliate linking helps keep my newsletter and blog going, but I promise to only suggest things I love.