I feel like I'm taking crazy pills
And I’m probably not the only one.
I fucking wish we were taking crazy pills. Then we could all stop and realize that it was just a nightmare.
Go back to bed sweetie everything's gonna be alright.
But it’s not a crazy, horrible, fucked up nightmare. It's crazy, horrible, fucked up reality.
Last week I made the decision to write about Love on Mondays. But today I just want to crawl back to bed and forget about it all. Unfortunately shutting it out won't make it go away. We need to choose love.
Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau tweeted this weekend that those fleeing persecution, terror, and war will always be welcome in Canada.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
Unfortunately this message wasn't a guarantee that folks in Canada are safe from terror and war either.
I didn't move here because of Trump
Last year I left San Francisco to embark on a 1 year journey around the United States with my dog Roger which would eventually land me back in Montreal, the hometown I left over 23 years ago.
I didn’t leave the United States because of Trump though I was asked that question often.
Are you moving because of Trump? Did you see the writing on the wall?
I didn't. I'm not very political. I just needed a change. Plus the rent is cheap and the women are beautiful. And the bagels are delicious.
But moving to Canada hasn’t isolated me from what's happening in the United States. It affects everyone. The whole world is watching. Some started off laughing but I don't think people are laughing anymore. There's not much to laugh about.
It's not funny. It's pretty fucked up.
The fucked up part
Of which there are many, is that the hate and fear that President Trump is spreading publicly is contagious. It empowers people to act in a way that they normally wouldn't act in.
If the leader of the free world can be publicly hateful then it gives people permission to do the same. It normalizes fucked up behavior.
If the president can grab them by the pussy then I can too!
Note: you shouldn't grab anyone by the pussy unless you get explicit consent to. Some people actually do like to be grabbed by the pussy, but you need to ask first. Also that shouldn't be your opening line.
Careful, pussy grabs back!
I'm not very political
Actually I'm just not very well informed when it comes to politics. Or rather I wasn't until election day. I'm starting to care quite a bit more.
One of my exes used to work for Barbara Boxer back in 2009. I had to look up who that was. Met her once. #nicewoman
I didn't really care about politics. I didn't think anything I could do would make a difference. Turns out this laissez faire attitude is exactly what us here in the first place. Oops.
Why am I tell you this? Not sure. Probably to let you know that you don't need to be politically informed to make a difference.
It takes all kinds to choose love
Some people are great activists. Others are awesome at mobilizing and deploying resources. And others at motivating and rallying folks to act.
The reality is that not everyone can get involved in protests. And not everyone should. Roger and I went to the Women's March in Montreal and he almost got trampled (trampled with love but trampled nonetheless).
Some have full time jobs and to take a day off means not making enough money to pay rent. Others are stay at home parents and have children who depend on them. Some might have mobility issues preventing them participating.
Other's might be living in another country, like say, Oh! Canada.
Whatever the case, there are other ways to get involved other than attending protests. We can all get involved in our own ways. There are countless ways to be of service.
That's it. That's the goal. Choose love. Love more.
The more we love the more connected we are. With ourselves and with others.
I might be a dreamer but I firmly believe the more we love the better off we'll be. If love does indeed conquer all, then we need to seriously rally and give as much love as we can.
People are mostly good. We can't let a few bad apples ruin it for the rest of us. OK, there are a lot of bad apples but they're outnumbered.
We've got you surrounded
Let's show them what we're made of, OK?
So love more. Got it.
Let me count the way to choose love
1. Choose you
Love yourself before you can love others. Take care of yourself. Get enough rest. Eat well. Exercise. Meditate. Write. Read. Read this poem by Hafiz. Take care of yourself. The world needs you healthy.
2. Love your loved ones
Spend more time with loved ones. Call your mom. Text your dad. Go through your phone and call 5 people you haven't called in awhile. Just to check in and to hear their voice. They'll be happy you called. Frequent contact with loved ones is the bright spot of our lives.
3. Connect with strangers
Say hi to 5 people you normally wouldn't say hi to. Acknowledge people and connect with them. The more connections we make, the stronger we are. ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts' type of thing. Find a common thread and hang on.
4. Help someone
Yesterday I saw a young man singlehandedly trying to carry a queen mattress up a flight of stairs. I offered to help. Turns out he didn't need it but I was still there to break the mattresses fall with my head in case he dropped it. We don't do this alone.
To any cause you feel will help. Today I donated to the ACLU. Donate to Planned Parenthood. Or simply RageDonate. Donate items you no longer need, what little money you can spare, or simply your time.
Find a local organization that needs your time. Most organizations benefit marginalized groups. Your support fights hate with love. It really does. Help a child fix a bicycle. Pack food for low income families. Walk a dog (or whatever the cat equivalent to dog walking is).
7. Stop watching TV
It's a drug and it's rotting our brains. There's never been a better time for TV. It's as good as its ever been and there will always be another amazing TV series to watch. That's why it's extra important to shut it down now. You'll get precious hours of your day back to do things 1-6 on this list. Since I stopped watching TV I've been going to bed earlier and getting more sleep.
8. Limit your time online
Social media can be helpful in spreading information quickly, but there's a limit to it's usefulness. Limit it to 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the evening. Spend more time doing 1-6.
Love will get us out of this mess. And action. Sitting around isn't going to cut it this time around.
What are you going to do to choose love today?
Shaun Galanos is The Love Drive. He lives and writes in Montreal.