How to stay positive in a dystopian wasteland

by Janelle Hanchett

Maybe I’m alone here, but I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of cosmic dread. It’s kind of a mix between apocalyptic doom and what I imagine it would feel like to be consumed by flames while tied to a cactus.

Perhaps it’s the fact that a racist narcissistic turnip is running for President and at least 50% of American voters think it’s cool. Or maybe it’s that a major party here in the land of the free drafted an anti-gay platform. ANTI-GAY. People. Anti-gay. Because that is, apparently, in 2016, still a thing.

Or maybe it’s being gaslighted by the DNC and RNC and media, all of which insist on shifting reality into “WTF YOU TALKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE SEEING IS NOT REAL.” Sabotaging candidates, flashing Trump’s face so many times we forget what we’re looking at, calling plagiarism “not plagiarism” because “they are common words” (what now?).

And somehow Putin is involved.

Hold me.

Or, maybe it’s the fact that black people are shot for following police instructions or pretty much doing anything and #alllivesmatter is still around in spite of meme #5,356,945 explaining #blacklivesmatter, or that our police look like the motherfucking military and are being killed in Dallas and people are being mowed down in France while watching fireworks and US-backed action in Syria is killing civilians and cops are justifying the shooting of an unarmed behavioral therapist with his hands up by saying “Oh sorry we were aiming for the autistic man next to him. You know, the one with a toy truck in his hand? Yeah. Him.”

Meanwhile, the only hope we have against the turnip is disintegrating into a broken party and rage and everybody’s shit-slinging and yeah I loved Bernie stop calling me names, please. 

And here we are. Parents. Trying to raise kids. In what feels a little like a dystopian wasteland.

We have to stay positive. We have to keep our heads up. Here’s how I’m doing it.

It works at least 2% of the time.

  1. Send a lot of texts to people you know aren’t nutbag assholes using all caps and rage emojis and a lot of “WHAT IS HAPPENING DUDE SERIOUSLY.”
  2. Eat carnitas and chocolate with wild abandon. When we’re all living in bunkers, will we have carnitas? No. NO WE WILL NOT so stop fucking around with your damn kale.
  3. Snuggle your face into the folds of your baby’s neck (after a bath, probs) where baby scent and hope live.
  4. Turn music up really loud and sing it even louder because if this is the end, we might as well go down singing.
  5. Find lovers in other countries. I am not doing this. I am happily married to an excessively kind, bearded man. But it may work for you. On the other hand, there is no place to hide in a dystopian wasteland so maybe a foreign lover is useless. I told you, my ideas are only about 2% reliable.
  6. Block the fuck out of people. There is no time for their nonsense. I realize this does not “build bridges,” but also we all have our brain limits.
  7. But don’t block people before screen-shotting their drivel and texting it to your friends as a reminder that not all people are fucking crazy.
  8. Keep remembering you are not crazy. The world is crazy. DO NOT GET GASLIGHTED. THIS SHIT IS NOT NORMAL and OF COURSE IT WAS PLAGIARISM.
  9. Exercise (?). Haven’t tried it but it sounds solid.
  10. Watch Michael Scott hate Toby on The Office. Do it. I swear it’s cathartic as fuck. The unbridled irrational rage is strangely comforting.  
  11. Actually, watch literally anything in bed while eating chocolate, for as many hours as you possibly can. Because will there be wifi in hell? Who knows, bitches. Who knows. I’m not taking any chances.
  12. Engage in rampant escapism through apps on your phone such as Candy Crush, Pokemon Go, and/or whatever other embarrassing game works for you. This is not the time to judge. This is the time to band together in collective self-soothing through vague denial and flashing lights.
  13. I have a feeling #12 is a badddd call in terms of societal progress.
  14. Anywho, have sex.
  15. Write stuff.
  16. Read poetry.
  17. Turn your phone off. Delete Facebook (I hear that’s an actual thing people do.)
  18. Buy the essential oil blend called: “Self-care in Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell.” Rub it on the soles of your feet and inner wrists. It’s lovely. Lot’s of bergamot. Very soothing.
  19. Cling to the love.
  20. Pray for November.

We can do this. It ain’t right, but we will (probably) survive.

Now what do you have? What are you doing to keep your damn head up?

I’m serious. I want some ideas in the comment section.


  • Andrea

    I’ve got nothing. I’m afraid of what Trump will do if he wins; I’m afraid of what his asshat supporters will do if he loses! I don’t care what is going on in the world, one should always choose carnitas over kale!

    • Momofone

      I honestly, would be more concerned about what his nonfollowers will do if he were to win….????

  • Laura

    Thank you for this.

  • Maggie

    Reading your posts helps!!!
    I gotta start some of these. My brain hurts so bad and yeah, utterly terrified for my children.
    Splashing in puddles with the kids, today we made swords, shields and armor with cardboard and aluminum foil, building with legos- all the kid stuff is really helping me keep my head up, getting lost in their sweet innocent games helps remind me the world is not lost, it cannot be when we have these amazing little people in it.
    So I hope. I am hoping like hell. That’s all I got lol…

    • renegademama

      Yes! I’ve found myself playing with my kids instead of doing housework way more often because I NEED their positive little spirits.

  • Bonnie

    I am not sure this helps at all, but the UK is fucked right now too. It’s worse, because we always thought we were better. Nope. Not true. Racist, stupid, small minded idiots – at least, 52% at any rate :/ Never been more embarrassed to be British. That might not be any reassurance to you, but just know you’re not alone.

    • Charlene Stull

      It actually does help.I always thought the UK had their shit together. Then brexit happened.

    • Kylie

      Yes Australia is fucked up too at the moment. Our asylum seeker policy tortures desperate people who come here needing our help, including indefinite imprisonment of kids, and it’s not considered a political negative. In fact, about 30% of the population think we’re not tough enough on them! (Makes my brain explode). Our government is reducing business tax rates and yanking money out of public education and health. And we’re about to spend $160 million on a non binding vote on marriage equality. And when that comes through as a yes (70% of the population are in favour), some of the hard right politicians are saying they still won’t vote for it. At least the weather’s nice… (oh shit, that might be because of climate change).

    • Mama Easy E

      It does help that you come out and say birthday way and offer support. I was in Europe this summer and didn’t get much of that. Luckily I am Mexocan Ametican so I could just pretend I was Mexican when being American got to be too much. Lol.

  • jenny

    or just read your blog posts

  • Allison

    I live really close to Canada. Like, ridiculously close. So close I can smell the maple syrup and watch them play hockey in denim-clad outfits. Plus, Trudeau. I am working on my refugee status as i play pokémon go and read blogs written by like-minded people.

    • renegademama



      • Allison

        I know! I saw a video of him holding two baby pandas and my ovaries started shooting eggs like gatling guns.

        • Susan

          Canadian here, you have no idea how many people hate him. How could you hate a guy that looks like that? Hot damn! But seriously, if you are planning on migrating north until the trump reign of terror is over, don’t come to Alberta, the premier here has fucked things up pretty bad.

          • renegademama

            I am concerned about the cold situation in Canada.

            For perspective, I feel put-out when I have to wear closed-toed shoes.

            • Susan

              Every single winter I wonder what the hell we are doing here and consider moving south. Now, I think I will just suck it up. I prefer to freeze.

              • Allison

                I live in Buffalo. I know cold 🙂

              • renegademama

                TOUCHE, my friend. Touché. hahahahhahaha!

                • Elizabeth

                  Vancouver and Vancouver Island rarely get below freezing! Please come!

        • Spenser

          Coffee just spurted out my nose. THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY MORNING!!!!

      • Canadian follower

        He’s not great. Maybe a little nice on the eyes but a shitty Prime Minister. Our country is going to hell.

        • Transient Swiss

          Not my choice either, having Darth Harper would be so much worse.

      • Leah Noble

        Oh, it’s fair that we get him… when you look at who we had for the last 8 years! Harper wasn’t as bad as Trump (who is?!) but he was pretty godawful.

  • Another Rachel

    And you thought Brexit in UK was bad enough…US elections are something ELSE….and I have rellies in US. If Trump gets in the WORLD is fucked. Saw Michelle Obama’s speech this week – fucking awesome powerful words….Hilary may not be all she’s cracked up to be, but she’s got to be a fuck of a lot better than MrT. Good luck and lots of love, I think you’re gonna need it xxx

  • luca

    i’m writing from central europe. actually it’ s pretty fucked up too. we have about 5 refugees in our country and people still feel like closing the borders and leaving the EU. 25 years after the end of communism. I have no idea how we can live in this place… or our children. maybe deleting facebook isn’t a bad idea after all.

  • Alice Jones Webb

    Damn. You’re right. There probably won’t be carnitas in bunkers during the apocalypse. I’m wondering if we can freeze-dry some of those boogers. Could I do that in my dehydrator? I’m going to have to start stockpiling.

    • Tracey

      Carnita Jerky. Yes. That might work to take my mind off all this. And my dumb games. And Canada. But most definitely Carnita Jerky!!

      Must write this down…

  • devann

    Backyard chickens- a lovely distraction with the added benefit of providing nutrition when the mega shit-fan gets switched on. {Thanks for this post- you’re certainly not alone in the consumed by flames while tied to a cactus feeling.}

  • Daphne

    So, as I sit here safe and sound on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic that most Americans have never heard of, I can tell you that even Canadians are afraid of what will happen if Trump gets elected. Wtf is wrong with you people??? Watching your politics in action – it’s like a bad accident – you know you won’t like what you see, but you watch it anyway. My suggestion, Janelle, is come north. Our PM just made half of his Cabinet female – “because it’s 2015”. He just marched in the Toronto pride parade, walking the whole time next to a gay Syrian refugee that arrived here earlier in the year. I wish I had something else. But that’s it. Sorry. (How Canadian of me, eh???? Lolol).

    • Susan

      I know right? I LOVE JT!

    • Nikki

      Daphne are you in Newfoundland?

  • catherine

    I laughed (while feeling like crying). Laughter is probably still the best medicine for the madness. Meanwhile, I’m snuggling the hell out of my first grandson because a) he smells good, b) his little body is just so squeezable and, c) he gives me hope. Now, if all of the ‘adults’ could just not muck it up beyond repair for him and his little peers.

  • Anne Tennyson

    Girl, it could be worse. You could live In Stepford, Tennessee like me, and have to hide your contempt for Trump and republicans or risk being stoned to death in public like me.

    • Renee

      Same. I live in a small, very religious conservative town in north central Florida. The Trump support is so rampant here, that I’m truly terrified of his success.

  • Emily MacGregor

    I like to listen to my six year olds ideas of how the world should be run and live in his fantasy land of happiness for a little while. I feel like my soul is dying a little each day. I am in the south, but born in raised in the land of Bernie(VT). I have a friend down here that actually thinks a woman could not emotionally handle being president, I don’t think I can emotionally handle being her friend any longer. It’s a terrifying time, but it will be okay, we are raising smart, strong loving humans and that’s all we can do. Fight evil with love.

  • Kristin

    Nature. Lots of nature. Preferably nature involving water and kids somewhere remote. Trump’s idiocy can’t find you if you have no cell signal! Of course, then you can’t find pokemon either, but that’s a trade I’m willing to make. I also posted a PSA on my Facebook wall warning everyone not to try to convince me Trump is a good guy. My anxiety can’t handle knowing that people I otherwise respect actually believe his crap. I guess I’m advocating a head in the sand approach but that’s because I can’t see any way to make it to November otherwise. Ugh.

  • Heidi

    Since I live in Canada I would like to say…we here fear for you. We also fear for ourselves. I don’t know how relations will go between our counties come November. I take splice in maple syrup, people saying please and thank you and sorry.

    Oh and there isn’t WiFi in hell. Just dial up. Ghhhhhrrrrrrrr beep beep fing fing Ghhhhhrrrrrrrr is all we’ll hear for eternity down there.

    • Heidi

      Solice….not splice…God dam 6 month old!

  • Maureen Wanket

    What do I do? I read you, goddess. I read you and it helps.

  • Alice

    Oh I hear you. I’m down here in Australia and I’m feeling anxious as hell as well. I feel we are on the edge of falling into the darkest times. I’m frightened as fuck. At night I lay in bed and wonder where the world is heading and how the hell are we possibly going to come through?

    I just want to buy 10 boxes of Snickers ice creams and eat every fucking last one and then crawl into bed and die there. But then I remember I have three small delicious humans and I start rocking back and forth in the fetal position. What in God’s name have we done???

    I think I need to smell a few baby necks. I need hope. Shit, we need hope. Let us pray for this poor ridiculous world while we still have one.

  • Csmith

    I’m spending a lot of time at the park with my kids, the really good one with the awesome rock climbing wall and the sandy beach. A park that has lots of diverse visitors and yet we all manage to play without calling each other names. Also reading lots, my girls and I just started the Anne of Green Gables series, what a wonderful world.

  • Creta

    I have been focusing on my 4 month old baby blowing spit bubbles. That makes way more sense than anything that is going on in the world right now.

  • Connie

    Bake and cook delicious things for your loved ones. Sit, feast, converse. Laugh and play with your kids. Listen to music that swells and overflows your soul with emotion, preferably the good and/or nostalgic kind. Love. Love. Love.

  • Maia

    I take my kid to pick elderberries in the woods by my house. I hike a lot here by myself, too. There’s a view of the city from these big black basalt cliffs where I sit down and drink one warm beer and look at the city from the edge of the woods. I wonder what’s going to happen over the next year.

    Then I go home and make elderberry syrup, lots and lots of canning. Keep my hands busy with being productive and crafty.

  • Lou Taylor

    Me…..I got nothing.45 years of fighting the good fight and we have come to this. I’m tired and I’m disgusted. I’m out of words. I recall feeling somewhat similar during the Bush election but we bucked up somehow and got through it. It feels like we’re in a free fall now with no depth in sight. It’s really the bottomless pit of despair. I’m throwing in the towel and am going the medication route. A good antipsychotic and about 80 mgs of Prozac should make me feel better…at the very least I’ll be blowing glitter out of my ass to add some sparkle to life. I look to people like you who are younger and not so beaten and battered and pray you find the words and the plan and I’ll back you 100%. I feel really old and really tired and the only thing that keeps me from praying for the giant comet is your children. Your amazing, hopeful, wonderful children. I may not get to see their contributions in my lifetime but they provide a glimmer of hope for the future. Thank you for your words. I laughed for the first time in weeks. I needed that.

    • terit

      I am with you Lou….so hard to stay positive when being bombarded by all things depressing. Hope for the future lies in the children–I guess we all need to focus on that. of course, medication helps as well 😉

  • melissa

    oh man, i have been anxiously awaiting my weekly fix from janelle. i got nothing…trying to ignore the idiots and hope for the best. picking up a foreign lover sounds like a good idea either way. much love from the midwest, where apparently we’re going from a blue state to a red one this time around.

  • Jennifer

    I started volunteering with groups that work with refugees. I started learning Arabic. When the Islamophobia was reaching fever pitch, I started writing love notes to all the mosques in my city. It felt good and I got a really nice response from one, that prompted me to print out a list of all the mosques in California. So now I just check off the list and send one out whenever I see or read something that makes my eyes bleed. They basically say, “Hi, there’s a lot of bad shit out there against your community and your faith, and I just wanted you to know you’re my brothers and sisters and I love you.” Y’know, like an 8-year-old. 🙂

    • Deva

      Well, damn. Thank you for adding some quiet beauty to the world. Never thought I’d find such a sweetness rainbow in the damn comments section of anything, but here we are. Thank you. THANK YOU.

      • Jennifer

        Awww, thanks right back atcha! 🙂

    • Sofia Bruck

      Yes. This made me feel good reading it.

      • Jennifer

        Thank you Sofia! 🙂

    • Leah Noble

      That’s such a nice idea!!

    • Mommy Needs Therapy


  • Christine Lyons

    I’m currently 8 months pregnant with my second child and I’ve sense things are so fucked for a while now. But, the Orlando mass shooting at Pulse nightclub happened ON MY FREAKIN’ BIRTHDAY last month, black folks in the US are continuing to be gunned down, a single mother and her 5-year old, mixed-race girl were murdered in cold blood in Alberta, Canada (not that far from where I live, in Vancouver, BC and while Trudeau is a marked improvement from our previous Prime Minister, not to mention easy on the eyes, we’ve still got issues here). I sobbed and continue sobbing. I’m losing my shit over so much wretchedness: Brexit facilitates overt hate-speech and racism, rape culture continues to go rampant on university campuses in the US and Canada, the Nice truck mass killing, Trump, Syria, etc., etc, etc.

    My six-year old son caught part of the radio news the same day as the Nice attack and the murder of the single mom (the daughter was just missing at that point). My kid throws his hands up into the air: “What is wrong with people!? Why would someone want to kill people with a truck and why would someone kill someone’s mama!??” I somehow contain my shit and say “I know. It is wrong, babe. And I don’t know why.” That’s all I can muster to say to him.

    Sometime after the Orlando shooting, someone in my FB feed said those of us with kids must all read this poem, “Good Bones by Maggie Smith. It speaks for itself:

    Good Bones
    Maggie Smith

    Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

    Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

    in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

    a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

    I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

    fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

    estimate, though I keep this from my children.

    For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

    For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

    sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

    is at least half terrible, and for every kind

    stranger, there is one who would break you,

    though I keep this from my children. I am trying

    to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

    walking you through a real shithole, chirps on

    about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

    right? You could make this place beautiful.

  • Megan Love

    I am baking with wild abandon. I have bought more chocolate chips in the last 2 months than the last 5 years. I post pictures of baby otters, baby deer, baby rabbits… anything that can make me feel better and like there is newness in the world. I follow Do It Girl, but she’s been quiet lately and I am getting restless again. I lay in bed and listen to music with my 7 year old sonflower. I kiss my bearded boyfriend.a.lot.and.often. It helps. I build Lego’s and ignore the dust-bunnies. I also research how to move to another dimension. Daily. Oh, homeschooling my kid helps. I teach him so he doesn’t become a sheep. And reading Harry Potter out loud seems to help push us into an alternate reality. So we go crystal hunting too. BLESSINGS.

  • Shannon

    OMG…I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!! Seriously, I want to invite every one of you over and drink wine and save the world, one glass at a time. BUT..that is not why I am commenting. I’m pregnant and about to be a FTM at 43. I worked my ass off for the last 20 years and am finally (after several years of fertility treatments and miscarriages and…well, it was tough!) going to get my chance at motherhood and I have to tell you…it’s not just the politics of the day that scare me. It’s the little entitled humans. It is shocking to me how little the millennial’s and whatever our kids generation will be called, want to do for more than any of us ever had at their age (and just pick an age because…10 year olds with iPhones? REALLY???) Riddle me this:
    1) why does every child in the classroom have to be invited to a birthday party? Isn’t this the earliest way of how we are taught to develop real friendships vs acquaintances?
    2) why does every kid get a trophy? AND…do your teenage kids even look at said trophies now? DO they even give one flying fig about those darn things?
    3) I use the “deadly” sunblock…it works and I don’t burn and I haven’t sprouted a second head. If I use it on my future child, will I get arrested for attempted murder???
    4) social media is both entertaining and horribly detrimental to our mental health. Ok, not a question but I had to say it.
    5) Trump scares the hell out of me. Hillary scares the hell out of me. While I want a female president…does it have to be her??? She’s shady as fook.
    6) I love Michelle Obama. Like, Love. Her. I’m not a fan of her husband but man I love her. I would vote for her. She’s good people.
    Ok…I’ve gone on too long…I don’t even remember why I started this rant. Oh…that’s right. Because I love you all and your fantastic views and opinions…and Janelle…your blog needs to be a book. Like…a NY Times best seller. It’s that good.

    • Lou Taylor

      Shannon…I have now laughed twice in one day. Thank you for that. I feel like I’m on a roll.

  • Daphne

    Okay, so here’a in idea. How about start a gofundme campaign, pledging $100 to every republican who votes for Hillary?

  • John Hanley

    Get a rescue puppy. I swear to you, you will curse the day you did this when you find out that your current dog barely tolerates her, not to mention potty training her and getting the kid whose dog this little beauty “is” to walk her, but the bottom line is that there is nothing Iike caring for a small relatively helpless creature to help you think about something other than yourself and the Terrible State the world is in.

  • Ellen

    Survival. It starts with a simple exhalation and a prayer to the universe; I have no clue if they’re listening, or if they even exist. I live on the Near West Side of Chicago. Some days, when you go outside, it seems as if the entire neighborhood is holding its damned breath. We’re all waiting to see what will happen next, what shoe is going to drop? It’s spooky at times, sad.

    Dr. Who, books, art, and coffee power my household. My teenaged son delights in Cards Against Humanity, we all play it, because somehow we have to laugh. That’s essentially how we keep our sanity.

    I’m terrified of Trump, of our Governor, I moved back to the city last year and could not vote Rahm out of office, so our local mayor sucks pretty hard as well. Chicago is two completely different cities.

  • Lisa

    I have read several post-apocalyptic novels, so I plan to re-read them and read some new ones so I can have a plan. (The Stand, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, The Postman – an awesome book by the way, do not be turned off by Kevin Costner’s so-so movie version.) Stock up on water. Stock up on the pills to make water clean and drinkable. Stock up on Motrin & Tito’s Vodka. Stock up on bottom shelf vodka to give to the people who failed to have my foresight. Stock up on cranberry juice and Diet Coke. Buy a pack of cigarettes. I don’t smoke, but when it all goes down, I just might start.

    Also maybe buy some quick acting poison so my family can die a quick death instead of dying a slow painful nuclear winter death.

    But seriously, my 16 year old wants to join the Army as soon as he is out of high school. If DJT is elected, I will NOT sign any permission form of any kind. Although I’m guessing the world will devolve into a World War and there will be a draft so it won’t make a damn bit of difference.

  • Julie

    This won’t help you, but it sure as hell helps me: READ JANELLE ON A REGULAR BASIS. you’ve nailed it once again. Well maybe except the deleting Facebook part. That’s just silly.

  • Janet Tolin

    Oh funny and scary at the same time. I find myself getting to the ocean or doing anything fun every moment I can, and without meaning to I’ve found myself looker deeper into the eyes of strangers…..maybe I’m looking for solidarity or unity or maybe I’m trying to say hey I’m here and I’m not crazy, let’s fix this together or maybe I’m looking for some goddess like hero to wipe it all way…….yeah that’d be great.

  • Sandie

    Just to clarify the situation in Canada. We are not going to hell. Trudeau is lovely. And Alberta is pained because they thought those live high on the hog oil years would last forever. They didn’t. Oh and we are so feeling your pain.

    • Leah Noble

      YES. 🙂

    • Kate


      (chiming in from Ottawa)

  • Claudine

    It’s gonna be ok. It really is. Humans have been fucking things up for years and we always manage to get it together. Breathe. Eat good food. Hug your kids. Help those less fortunate. Have faith that the good in people will always win out over the bad. I’m a critical care nurse. I see tragedy every day. People dying who shouldn’t be. People being kept alive who should be allowed peace. What gets me though the deepest darkest moments is having faith in our collective goodness.

    • Missy

      This is how I do it, too. I have faith. In good people, in goodness, in love. Good always wins. (At what cost? We’ll see) But, reading from all you people, I’m going to step up my love game. Love my kids and my (neglected) husband harder. Love my friends and my family and strangers harder. That’s all I’ve got. Because the ugly stuff is really really loud right now. So we’ve gotta make the Love and the Good even louder..

    • AJ

      Thank you for this. I actually kind of feel better.

  • Kathleen

    Janelle, if I could hang with two women it would be you and Michelle Obama. I think you are fabulous. So here’s my thing, clipped from my local paper this week. It’s from the Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” So I smile at people and let them in in front of me in traffic. And God bless you, I’m eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream in bed and watching The Sopranos on Netflix now. I love you.

  • Katharine

    Reading sentences like this helps:
    “Snuggle your face into the folds of your baby’s neck (after a bath, probs) where baby scent and hope live.”

    I don’t watch the news on TV, or listen to it on the radio. I read it online, so I can decide what I want to read in depth and what I want to skim over.

    I’m in Australia, and have made friends with the magpies who nest in a tree in our front yard, watching this year’s brood of three babies grow up into adults this last 9 months or so.

    There’s nothing like standing at your front gate, whistling to a magpie far up on a distant electricity pole, and watching it swoop down to land near your feet (and knowing it’s not actually swooping to attack, as they do, to protect their babies – but not when they know you’re a friend).

    Music is good, and my kids and I have relished learning all the songs to Matilda the Musical.

  • Bex

    I’m in the UK and feel the same… the media here is insanely biased and fucking BREXIT happened and the one guy speaking honestly and truthfully is routinely ripped to shreds by the press, even the left wing press, and fucking Boris Johnson is foreign secretary?! and the PM is a vile woman who hates human rights and it’s all going to shit.

    And then fucking Trump. I mean, Jesus, America. Come the fuck on.

  • Erin

    Kittens. We got a pride of kittens. They will be hard to feed in the coming apocalypse. But damn they are cuteand. Plus keeping them and the kids out of trouble keeps me away from the telly.

  • Jenn

    [FRANTICALLY RIFLING, WHILE BABBLING “bergamot…must find bergamot!”] Dude. This all sucks so bad. I really feel like we are collectively in between a rock and a hard place. Both sides of the aisle seem to be really effing crazy, the closer we get to November. I have begun seeking out journalism from other countries to escape my own country’s journalism. Sadly, Europe’s dealing with some shit too…priest killed inside his church. Nice (France)bombings…not sure we’d know what to do with ourselves if that crap happened here on the regular. Anyway, Vincent Browne’s article in the says: “Terrorism works only with the complicity of the media and its sensational reporting.” Now, lest I get misquoted and send someone after me with nasty-grams, the article has A LOT going on. What hit home with me is that when I take a step back – away from social media and national news – and really research things for myself, I get way less anxious than when I watch the 1:30 snippets that have everyone up in arms. I have never been more anti-social than I am right now. Notifications? Off. Quiet time? Scheduled. And now…effing bergamot. That is all I can do. Hug my kids, pet my dog and sniff effing bergamot.

  • Lydia

    I’m all out of ideas too…. I generally do that list of crazy shit on the daily… when it’s not election season… Sooooo I think we should take a really long long long sabbatical from America right now. I’m thinking Europe… I really dig the accent. Maybe backpacking with the toddlers would be less horrific than all things election and voting right now… sleeping in a hostel… maybe even Ireland too. Scotland. Wear a kilt. Say, “Hey there laddy”… Learn the bagpipes. Find scrooge McDuck’s treasure! Pack your bags. Come with. It’ll be fun. Kumbaya and shit.

  • Lex

    Hey there. I’ve had such similar feelings as you. I’ve been trying to take a break from all of the yelling. I’ve unfollowed a huge number of Facebook friends and try not to even allow the conversation into my home.

    But alas, I know this is a temporary thing. I’m torn between avoidance and focusing on the wonderful things-and the responsibility that I need to be in the know for my family.

    So many of us feel the same. So what do we do about it?

  • AJ

    Things I do to distract (ok, hide) from all the dumb dumbs and a-holes: eat Talenti ice cream, play with my toddler, and try to make him laugh until he gets the hiccups, and look at the most ridiculously cute cat/kitten photos (Janelle!)

  • Vanessa Wishstar

    What am I doing reading this brilliant shit and laughing uncontrollably because laughter is the best medicine, Dr. Renegade Mothering. 😉

  • Joy

    New Zealand is nice at this time of year. Well, any time of year really.

  • Colene

    I keep getting puppies. I’ve gotten two since February. And I also have 3 kids under 7. I’m drowning myself in puppies and children. Puppies, kids, and love. Hoping the kind, progressive, and brave America that I know and love shows up come November. WE HAVE TO.

  • Michelle

    I don’t have any other brilliant coping ideas, but I do have this conversation from two of my 5-year-olds, raised in an extremely pacifist household (i.e. I have no idea where they got these violent ideas):

    Sister 1: To get into the Halloween Hall, you just have to kill someone. Someone you don’t like very much.

    Sister 2: But I don’t want to kill anyone.

    Sister 1: Just someone you don’t like.

    Sister 2: But God wants us to love people. I don’t want to kill anyone.

    Sister 1: Wellll…just kill Donald Trump. He’s mean to everyone.

    Sister 2: Ohhhh…kay.

    Me: Whoa! [commence pacifist intervention where we talk about not killing people, even Donald Trump]

    It still makes me laugh.

    • Bex


      (Bet you felt a weird sense of pride, though, at their awesome choice of target!)

  • Rachelle

    I would also add “stop watching the news”. The mainstream news is programmed to be sensational, to get the ratings, to stir up controversy, etc. In other words, it’s the major source of negativity in most people’s lives. We sadly think that we will be misinformed if we turn off the news, but as someone who has not watched the news in over 2 years, I can tell you that is not true and I’m not missing anything important. Anything you really need to know, someone will tell you anyway. ::steps off soapbox::

    • Leah Noble

      I agree! I haven’t watched the news in a year. I deleted Facebook in April. I still get the important news.

  • Erin Osborne

    It’s interesting. Because what really changes peoples minds about other people is interaction. Talk to someone who doesn’t share your opinion or doesn’t look like you and we realize that we are the same. But, man, is it hard to get people to do that! How do we do that? How do we make it so that different birds flock together? That’s the question

    • Jenn F

      I find it so hard to try to talk to anyone on the other side. I try. I really do. But I get so crazy tongue-tied by the fact that they believe this crazy SOB that I forget how to form a coherent sentence. I consider supporting Trump a personality flaw, and I just cannot get past that!

  • Virginia Carlow

    I live in Australia and i’m fucking over the grandstanding ridiculousness of the elections in your country! Donald Trump. Really? Really?? Hang in there, you have sympathizers on the other side of the world.

  • Sue

    I don’t know, I’m stunned at the way things are going in the world now. Maybe our grandparents felt like this too, I vaguely remember hearing the same kinds of comments back then that I hear now. I just try to believe that every generation will handle what problems come for that generation. Do I know HOW?? NO, I have no clue. My generation handled the Sixties so we served our time. Now it is y’all’s turn and I have Faith in all you girls (and guys) who are or will be in charge of the world now. As far as being crazy from all the Craziness, No, I am not. I am almost 70 and am Too Frickin OLD to be upset about politics and human nature Now.
    I care for my Sister in law who has Alzheimers and lives with us. I have Stage 4 kidney failure and am prediabetic, have fibromyalgia and severe scoliosis that is so bad surgery is not an option, and my husband may be getting dementia too.
    Like I said, My generation handled and managed the Sixties. We did fine eventually, and you all will too. Take a deep breath, know that Everything changes, Nothing is the End until THE END. And have faith in yourselves. All this political crap is just BLAHBLAHBLAH when it comes down to it…
    Eat some chocolate, drink some wine, watch the movie “Sordid Lives” (you will peeyourpants, I guarantee), and just breathe… I love all you young women and am delighted to read what you all think… KEEP WRITING!

  • Arika Marquez

    “…yeah I loved Bernie, stop calling me names, please.” Thank you for that. Exactly what I needed to feel validated and disengage, even with the noise of the glass ceiling shattering in the background .

  • Carrie

    Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don’t let the bastards grind you down. As a funny side note…my youngest child, whenever she’s sees that orange freak on the cover of a magazine in a store will turn all the magazines around. She asked why he’s so tall for an oompa-loompa. And shut off your tv. Don’t feed the media.

  • Josh

    Don’t be all poopy face. When my girl gets all poopy face, I stick my finger in her butt. Sure, she gets mad, but then she forgets why she was pouty and goes and does the dishes.

    • Wendy

      He he

  • CJ

    This made me feel better….. I’d been thinking it but hadn’t managed to figure it out into words. While it doesn’t solve everything, I think it definitely explains the ‘feelings’.

  • Marisa

    Participate in local government. Be loud when it’s time to be loud but know when to shut up and listen. Look around and see what voices are muted or unrepresented. Be a conscientious white ally (if you’re white). Support a local social justice organization. Write an op ed to your local paper. Think critically about what policies in your schools, workplace, church or clubs are exclusionary or oppressive and challenge them. Fight for interpreter services to be provided to linguistic minorities so their voices are heard in local politics and when they are seeking critical services (there is federal law supporting this). Worry less about being polite and more about being moral.

    Hard to feel negative when you’re empowered as fuck.

  • Anne

    My list looks an awful lot like yours. I haven’t deleted FB but I deleted the shortcut from my phone so that it’s a lot harder to get to. (Notifications are all off as well.) I’m also stocking up on water and propane and growing some food. Living a mile from a major earthquake fault means that we are sort of used to preparing for the apocalypse.

    Tonight instead of watching the DNC, my husband and I took our two little girls to see the new Ghostbusters and that was great. I have no idea what Hillary said and I am OK with that.

    I’m doing my best to check out of politics until my mail in ballot arrives. I will fill it out, send it back and fall asleep to guided meditations every night until election night, at which point I will allow myself to freak out for 24 hours straight before pulling my shit together and getting on with it. That may or may not include crying every day Obama is still in office and wailing WHY, WHY CAN’T YOU JUST STAY.

  • Daphna

    I just think about how throughout all of history people must have felt this way. It’s the nature of life and our existence in this world. Uncertain. I think during times like the Dark Ages maybe women felt worse. Or any other time too.

  • Lucinda

    Watching Xanadu, eating chocolate. Oblivious to outside world for a while. Take a break and good luck to you (here in Australia we just barely chose a government).

    • Wendy

      And then we elected nut bags like Pauline Hanson as well!

  • Rose Arnold

    Yeah, it’s hard isn’t it? Feels better talking about it though. My big, I cannot believe this is really happening, is about climate change. Which of course, Trump is very relevant to, if he gets in we are even more levels of fucked.

    Love some of the comments and ideas above. I try to do a combination of appreciating good things and people un life, giving myself a break from reading fb and news but also by doing as much as I can to be active, signing petitions, protesting etc. It scares me how many good people are burying their heads in the sand, I really belive that if everyone who cared was active in trying to change things, they would change.
    Although then I remember that Trump might well win and I’ve got nothing…

  • Laura

    I’ll be 50 this year with little one turning 10. I had a foreign lover he turned into my husband. Trump wants to stop people from coming from his country – France. I had a Muslim boyfriend for many years – newsflash Trump they are real people
    with mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and hopes and dreams. I want to go back to the great state of Vermont and hide away on a little farm near where my mom and dad and buried but I like to stay unfrozen most of the year. Not that I could spend it at the beach in my current location because the corporate interests and republicans have fucked it up so bad that we our water is green and toxic. I think hugging my family really hard and eating lots of carnitas and a LOT of chocolate sounds like a great thing to do. Can’t get rid of my Facebook because he only news available would be the fucking propaganda media. I want to cry. I want to scream about the insanity that we face for our children’s future. Scream at the top of my lungs that there won’t be anything left. But then I remind myself that it could still get worse, way worse and we still have a chance. There are still so many places where life is so much worse. And if Trump gets in we will be stuck in that worse and who knows how much much worse – maybe Maze Runner worse. I tel myself that Bernie has started something and she’s still closer to him than Trump. And as much as I love carnitas – I don’t want to be eating them freeze dried a bunker with my kid while the earth burns in Hell from the rain of destruction of Trump.

  • Diane Farineau

    Self-care in Dante’s 10th Circle of Hell……is this real a thing? I need this thing. sigh.

  • JR

    I live in Arizona. Being consumed by flames while tied to a cactus is just par for the course around here.

  • Shamsi

    Things that help me:

    1. Nature. Spend time in it just being. Even a bunch of house plants with flowers helps. Fix up a room in your house and make it a beautiful haven. Add a frikkin fountain, too.
    2. Water. Get your whole body into water however you can. Extra showers work if that’s all ya got.
    3. Natural Sounds CDs. Oceans, birds singing, etc. Very soothing.
    4. Acupuncture. It’s awesome and helps a ton with stress, cognitive dissonance, depression, and anxiety.
    5. Meditation.
    6. Music. Dim the lights, diffuse some essential oils, put an eye pillow on your face, and put on the most soothing, relaxing music ya got.
    7. Exercise. It makes you feel a lot better.
    8. Don’t watch the news for a while. It’s just going tohe more bazooing until the election anyway, so why bother.

  • Roza

    Knit baby sweaters.

  • Kat

    I’m n the UK… It’s pretty rough here too. But, GO CAMPING! Somewhere away…. Where you can see stars, hear owls, cook on a fire, let the kids roam free. With no screens, phones, news.take the good folks. It’s totally healing. And return ready to fight the good fight!

  • Kaitlynn


  • Tricia

    I just read this amazing blog post about a guy who went to the RNC and listened. Just listened. It’s fucking beautiful what he did and what he shares. It helped me somewhat to remember to try and see the humanity. It lasted a little while at least and then I freaked again about the possibility of Trump and how I have friends who don’t see it the same??? Phew there I go spinning out again. Reeling it in and leaving off with this
    “Dare to listen, dare to be quiet, dare to seek understanding; in the end, it’s the people we need to love, not their opinions.” I find refuge in my cheesy belief in the radical power of love. Here is the link to the blog piece. Hope that’s ok.

  • Lori kerfesn

    Breathe. Accept the limits of this moment in time, and find your strengths… teach your children better and raise them up to be the bright lights we need to cast and call out the racist, sexist, homophobic and anti trans sentiments. Teach them about difference and the beauty it offers. Be you and don’t apologize. Own your heart. Live through it, even if it hurts,and holy shit it hurts right now.

  • Danielle

    Yes to all your ideas, and I’ll add that I’ve spent most of the summer listening to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book — the whole album is beautiful and listening to my kids sing “music is all we got!” at the top of their lungs makes me feel better about humanity.

  • Ry

    Sleepy time tea. Epsom salt baths. Playing duets on guitar with my kid (who knows exactly three songs, two of which are Christmas carols). Reading Charles Dickens and rememberingvthere has always been awful horrifying shit in the world. Writing thank you letters to all my favorite authors, even the dead ones. Lots of baking. Lots of dancing to the Police in the living room with the kiddo. Trying to teach my dog to behave on a leash, and pretending she represents my own unruly mind while I do so. Writing. Reading Fairy Tales. Leading a Girl Scout troop. Panicking about whether I will have enough hours for licensure in time, just for variety. Ask my boyfriend, who was a history major and whose ancestors have lived here in the god forsaken South since the revolutionary war, to tell me stories about the civil war and Jim Crow. Because we got through those things. Oh and I quite smoking because will we have ciggarettes post nuclear apocalypse? (J/k of course, it’s because I health and setting a good example for the kiddo). Managing those cravings DEFINITELY keeps me busy

  • Andrea

    21. Binge watch “The West Wing” and pretend Josiah Bartlett is our President.

  • Tasha Batsford

    I’m also feeling totally overwhelmed by what I see happening in other parts of the world.

    The only tiny thing that I feel like I can do, to stop the darkness winning, is to keep holding onto small, joyful things that I can control.

    Just stupid little thing, painting my walls after a year of putting it off, saying yes when my husband asks if he can do something totally nuts, like taking our 4 year old to her first concert, on the other side of the country, oh, and it’s Slipknot. Or saying yes when a friend asks if I want to do a skydive.

    None of this changes a-n-y-thing about the shit show the world is becoming, but then part of this is coming to a peace about the fact that nothing I do really will.

  • branjo

    What if we start sweating the small stuff again? That way, maybe we won’t have time to think about how shitty the BIG stuff is.

  • Norita

    I fucking love LOVE your writing & site. It is so true. Laughter heals. Thank you for the laughter.
    Turnip. OMFG that is perfect.

    My tips?
    1) Go on a MEDIA / news FAST!!! Cold turkey that damn addiction for the next year. American’s sensationalist “news reporting” of “If it bleeds, it leads” and our addiction to XXXXTREME reporting is so exhausting. Almost as exhausting as trying to breastfeed newborn septuplets.

    2) Read
    seriously, this website is a godsend right now. that and baby pandas.

    you rock Mama, keep up your brave spirit. or fucking move to Bali (we are thinking of this!)

  • Renee

    Very relieved to read that I am not the only one in the world that feels this way. Hopefully, common sense will kick in for people, and we will not elect that idiot. Thanks for being the voice of reason in a unreasonable time!

  • Jennifer Schartz

    Ativan and the realization that the 50 percent who side with Trump are not even registered to vote. Even if they are, election day falls during the last week of deer season and they won’t want to miss that.

  • Jennifer Schartz

    Also, watch HGTV. It’s the only channel that is not political and the ads haven’t made their way there yet. (It’s only Augunst.)

  • Flowerpower

    Living in Europe and following politics here and in USA is quite frankly scary.

    A new party is just being established over here…they have plans on going out of the EU, cut all Human right contracts and throw people from certain countries (Middle East and Africa) out of the country.

    Lots of people are going to vote for them. They also claim integration to be a private business…and want to close down all schools, courses, help to refugees paid with tax money.

  • Mary

    Hi there, Lady! I too hear you on all of this madness. Granted, I don’t do traditional media news and I come here for laughter and pick me up, motherhood community; I decided to finally comment (yay, bravery). Anyway, I found you before my boy was born, he is now 13 months old. Colic and possibly other unexplainable crap, plus my husband and I are both older first time parents with very similar past to yours. I love you and what you do for us all. And your family too. You guys shine with warm light and I love it.
    So, after I read your post I ventured to hands free mama blog, also found last year, and I’d love to share her recent post. It may or may not bring a bit of peace and warmth to you, but I hope it does.
    But yes, babies, pets, love, lots of ice cream (Breyers coffee!), trees and breeze and rain and love some more. Hope will follow.
    Thank you for writing, Janelle.
    Keep on rocking.

  • Sam

    I like the way you think! Btw I have eating chocolate while lying in bed and watching Netflix down, baby. Not to be big-headed, because you know, it’s something anyone can achieve if they really want to, but I’m a total badass at it.

    Since you asked what else, here’s a couple of things:

    There are two *Podcasts I just started listening to this summer that I love. Looooove. Tanis and the Black Tapes, the latter being the first, and both done by Pacific Northwest Stories, so everyone says “aboot” a lot, which for some reason I find adorable. Black Tapes is considered horror, and I don’t know what you’d call Tannis, maybe creepy cyberpunk? But I’m a big sissy and it’s all good. They both incorporate real world weirdnesses and mysteries, which is really cool. You can research a lot of what they are talking about. You might be saying to yourself though, “But internet lady whose name I don’t remember, remember the world is freakin scary enough. Why the hell would I want to listen to stuff that has scary unexplained real world stuff in it?” And my answers, besides the fact that they are really, really good and absorbing and have lots of humor in them, are as follows:
    1) If you think they might be on to something, then well, at least there are some *very* good reasons our world is so terribly fucked up, which is kind of comforting.
    2) If you think it’s all bullshit, then yay us! Our world, as screwed up as it is, doesn’t have assorted monks, mad scientists, and creepy cultists trying to call forth a world-destroying dimension that appears in our world as a tiny Bob Ross cabin. ( That’s Tanis. For Black tapes we’re escaping world-ending dimension-traveling alien/god worshiping nannies, business men, and rock singers and cheering on the intrepid radio host, socially-challenged, occult-debunking scientist, the Tanis-believing radio producer, and his ex-girlfriend, a Russian spy who sounds like a happy mix of Miss Ivanna from Psych and Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle, who are trying to stop them.
    Good times. I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate listening to these.

    Compassion. I have a theory, for whatever it’s worth, that compassion for ourselves is the key. Because it seems the pain we hold is the pain we give others, no matter how badly we don’t want that to happen. So that as we begin to hear and have compassion for the parts of ourselves that evoke the most shame and guilt and upset, our inner turnip, if you will, the greater the compassion we begin to have towards the other turnips of the world. Because it seems to me that it’s the conditonality of the world that dooms it. But truth is unconditional. 2+2=4 whether it rains or the stock plummets. And kindness seems to be one of the biggest true actions I can think of. So I’m trying to learn that for myself. How am I doing with it? Well, like I said, I’m really good at eating chocolate and watching Netflix. But I’m getting better at not feeling terrible about it when I do.

    Anyway, those are my two. Take it easy, and thanks for writing this. Commiseration, as you mentioned, reminds us we aren’t alone.

    *I wasn’t so sure about Podcasts when my husband mentioned them, because he likes to listen to a lot of news, which these days stresses me out. So I guess the word “podcast” to me evoked NPR news, which being the most accurate news I know of ( for what that’s worth) makes it all the more anxiety- provoking to contemplate. It also conjured thoughts of the gaming podcasts my husband adores. Now he listens to one that is really cool, these are really smart guys and we’re able to play a cool vampire spy role playing game because of them, but I don’t know. It just seems to take a lot of brain to listen, and I’m usually doing 2 or 3 things at once, because I am not a great focuser/still-sitter.

  • Michelle Rich

    I live in Orlando and teach high school English, I am working on teaching compassion this year. I am making a bulletin board called “Take what you need” with inspirational thoughts. And hoping Orlando doesn’t stay proTrump.

  • Tess

    The only question I have is Why in the hell do males have nipples?

  • Jennifer

    Love, and editing my reality. We all create our reality with what media we choose to let into our lives, what people we surround ourselves with, what thoughts we cultivate and let grow stronger. Choose to not watch or listen to the “news”, choose to have deeper, loving conversations, strengthen your bonds, go over a neighbor’s house just to say hi or bring them some muffins. Read things like this: and do your own small random acts of kindness. Smile more. Say hello. Offer to help. Love.

  • Melanie

    First, let me say I just ran across this site and I LOVE it, finally a place for people like me. Read the piece “Wait, I’m Supposed To Play With These Kids?” (on my phone, NOT playing with my 15 month old cause it’s mind numbing, soul-sucking boring!) I need to go back and comment on that btw. ANYWHO….how do I manage to try and forget this clusterfuck that our country has become? It’s not easy, since I *GULP* live with a Trump supporter!!! I know, I know….how did this happen? IDK, the old story of falling in lust with someone, and then just when you realize they are beyond messed up and totally wrong for you and you are going to bail, you find out you’re pregnant and know that you can’t afford the baby alone and yeah….I stayed and my soul withers and dies a bit more each day, because we are not in love, but I digress.

    I read, A LOT…any and everything that will take my mind to another place, I hug and kiss my little girl and know that she is the only person I have ever truly loved in life (even when I want to run away because she is driving me bat shit crazy, lol.), I zone out online with pinterest and youtube, I listen to music from my “hey day” (the 90’s and early 00’s), I watch MASH and The Middle, both shows comfort me in different ways (and OMG, I AM Frankie Heck!), I cook good food and eat too much, I help take care of my sick mom and am developing a closer relationship to her than we have ever had, I cry at night and wish that I was rich, could leave my boyfriend, take my daughter far away from all this, to an island in the middle of nowhere and raise her how I want, and not how HE wants or how society says I should and I try to forget that I live in a world that is going totally insane.

  • Leslie

    I spend time with my kids outdoors and all the shit just melts away. Baby giggles and toddler snuggles help.

  • Ashley

    I listen to the musical Hamilton. Somehow for the last many months this music has been able to lift my spirits and remind me of what was fought and done to get here. Hamilton has reminded me that despite what we say America is, much of this has been a dream and an expectation for a brighter tomorrow that we never actually executed in our beginning. We got revolution correct but at the price of continuing to persecute and enslave groups of people. The dream of what America is has never been achieved, instead that dream and vision of America has been placed on our shoulders, those of us currently alive, to eventually get it right. So though we still have strides to go because hate, brutality, violence, and inequality exist so rampantly still. What we do have is a dream that has been burned into every American’s brain about this utopian America (which has yet to exist). But as a country of less than 250 years, we cannot go back, we cannot stop fighting, and we do not have time to regress. Our founding fathers, our first 5 president’s, America fought to hard to get us where we are. And I am so fucking tired of America being a bunch of pussy’s who let fear rule us.
    I have taken comfort in A. Hamilton’s works as well. The Federalist Papers and many of his other works are very comforting. And great ammunition for dumbass Trump supporters.