Even in this dumpster fire, we’ve got power, and it may or may not be on Facebook.

by Janelle Hanchett

Remember when we used to go on Facebook to see pictures of people’s kids, read amusing Buzzfeed listicles – did I just say “listicles” because if so I hate myself – and see what drunk Phyllis posted last night?

That was so fun.

Remember when we used to go on Facebook to read meaningless shit instead of discover new developments in the systematic dismantling of what was left of American democracy?

I loved that.

Now, people who don’t post about the proto-fascist authoritarian dicks in office stick out like devious outliers while I sit there scream-thinking: “I don’t give a fuck about your cat. BETSY DEVOS THINKS GUNS SHOULD BE IN SCHOOLS BECAUSE GRIZZLY BEARS.”

On the other hand, if we didn’t have an occasional cat thrown in – or, my personal favorite: frolicking river otters – this shit would be unbearable, and it’s already unbearable.

Endless streams of bad news, of people referencing “alternative facts” as if that’s a thing other than, um, falsehoods. Our President tweeting about TV show ratings and slamming our judicial system, the very balance created to save our country from the likes of him. Not to mention the whole Putin situation. Ummmmmmmm. FUCK.

I pick up my phone, scroll, feel flames rise through my body, a sense of panic and rage and sadness and hopelessness, then throw my phone. Pick it back up, Google: “Does Spain take Americans?,” “Is Trump going to nuke the world,” and “What does anxiety disorder feel like and do I have it?”

Swear I’m getting off social media for good. Realize it’s only been THREE GODDAMN WEEKS, feel a sense of hopelessness, wonder how the hell we’ll get through. Commit to no more news.

Ten minutes later, get back on my phone thinking fuck these assholes I’m not going down without a fight.

“Fake news” everywhere. Real news conveyed as “fake news” because it hurts Trump’s baby feelings. A top presidential adviser plugging Ivanka Trump’s products as if our government is some new branch of QVC. The White House getting filled with Wall Street executives even though Trump campaigned against exactly that, but now suddenly his supporters don’t seem to mind. HOW WHY WHAT FUCK AGAIN.

Where are we?

It’s a dizzying dystopian fiction. It’s a constant sense of “is anybody else seeing this? SOMEBODY SAVE US.”

As if I can’t find reality. As if what I’m seeing before my eyes is not real, and yet it is real, and yet if it’s real, how the fuck are we expected to simply go on about our lives? WHY IS EVERYONE JUST SITTING HERE?

On the other hand, do we have a choice? Do we engage for knowledge or disengage for sanity? I go back and forth all day.

My go-to coping mechanism lately has been irate Facebook status updates. I guess it makes me think I’m doing something, while lying in bed naked at 2am.

I write some super brilliant (!) shit, then I reread it and add and subtract this and that, and then I hit “post” and wait…OMG will they like me!? A few likes come in, a couple comments. A share! Wheeee!

I am making fun of myself, but this is all real and true. True facts. Not alt-ones.

I’m a bit of child when it comes to this stuff and have no shame in admitting it. Welllll I have a little shame.


But what I’ve learned about social media is this: If not used thoughtfully, it engages my baser self. It engages the part of me that wants instant gratification, approval, and attention. It engages the part of me that wants to be RIGHT. It brings me fear and by the end of the day, I’m spinning in circles and essentially useless, mentally.

You know what? I’m tired of that shit. Now is not the time for me to run around trying to be right. Now is the time for me to run around trying to be helpful, trying to share what we know in a way that can be consumed, digested, and relatively useful for others. Now is the time that I ask myself how I’m using my time, voices, and commitment to resistance.

Look. You know me. You know my anger rants are like air to me, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop writing inappropriate, poorly thought out Facebook posts that strike me as amusing at the time but later seem irrational and somewhat unhinged.

I’m committed now. I’m all in.

I’m not writing some manifesto on social media behavior. I don’t care how people use it, and it takes all kinds of voices.

I simply just realized in a very real way that social media has to a large extent turned into a sort of self-congratulatory echo chamber for me: I throw out ideas and people who already agree with me respond with support, which makes me happy, and sometimes new people respond with dissent, which makes me mad.


As the months (years? SHUT UP.) have passed– I realized I was completely swept away in anger and fear, and neither of those are particularly helpful to the world. Anger is an amazing fuel for action, but as an end in itself, it’s something of a dud. Also, it’s miserable. Like if I get mad only to get madder, I’m simply discontented. And useless.

The truth is I am a bit lost. A good portion of what I knew to be true about my personal life has crumbled in the past few months, and everything I knew to be true about my country and the people in it and the direction we’re capable of heading has also crumbled, and I feel a sense in me that I need to take a serious look at what I’m contributing to the world. You know? As a human being. As a writer. As a mother.

I’m questioning ALL OF IT.


I believe something fully though, and I believe it more every day: We already have what we need to make a real, clear, and vital difference in the community around us. We have what we need to survive, to get through this together as a fucking people. We have what we need to lift our voices and be drivers of change and hope rather than festering powerlessness and fear.

We make art. We write and we sing. We show up to school board meetings. We donate to the mission. We talk to our neighbors. We volunteer in schools. We rally. We march. We raise kids that love. We give money to the motherfucking ACLU.

And totally we post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, duh. And our blogs. Yeah dude, I get it. I get the hypocrisy.

I just wanted to remind you that she persisted, because I had to remind myself. I got a little lost in apathy and rage and generalized confusion. It’s easy to forget where you stand, who you are, and what you’re capable of.

This is a weird world right now, and it’s easy to get so overwhelmed we find ourselves recklessly spinning, forgetting perhaps that we will persist, even through this. Plus, if he nukes us we won’t be here to know the difference. Goddamnit I was trying to be positive.

For real: I see you. Your fucking talents and voice. And I hope you use them. And I hope you use them loud.

Because the world may be crumbling, rearranging, and exploding around us, but we are never powerless. They want us to believe that, they want us to get lost in restless anxiety and fear, but we persist by returning to the strength and creativity and fertile resistance we’ve got inside, and letting that run this fucking rodeo.

Also river otters. And each other.

Mac made me flowers out of scrap sheet metal. This is what I’m talking about. We gotta make flowers out of metal for no reason other than love.


I promise this post was not written for this moment, but I need to let you know I’m teaching the last two live sessions of my ONLINE “Write Anyway” workshop this April and June. April is the only evening workshop I’ll teach this year.

If writing is your thing and you’re not doing it, I hope you’ll join us. We work through and deconstruct the fears blocking us, and I know there are many. I have them all.

We fucking need you. 

Please email me with any questions: info@renegademothering.com.

I found this a year after I named my workshop “write anyway,” which basically means I am Junot Diaz.

13 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | February 15, 2017
  • Anais

    Your readers from Spain will welcome you here if you end up leaving trumpland! 😉

  • Loraine

    Dammit. How did you know that I always answer river otter to stupid quizzes about spirit animals and shit? Seriously. They are the best. I’m going to that happy place in my head where I frolic with my family and super best buddies on muddy banks, snowy banks, any bank that slopes down into a river of pure joy. I need that love forever. Bring your family, the water is fine.

  • Sue

    I am still reeling and am in shock, I guess, just marking time until reality comes back. But I need to DO something. So I want to join your “Write Anyway” workshop in April and maybe I will be able to write to someone about all this craziness and start getting something Done about this freakshow. THANKS for being a light in our darkness!!!

    • Sue

      Oh no, I checked the date of your April workshop and I can’t be there for it… RATS~~~I’ll try again later.

    • renegademama

      Hi Sue, I’m going to email you about the workshop. Hope you’ll join us.


  • Andrea

    “Do we engage for knowledge or disengage for sanity?”

    I’ve been thinking about this daily! I guess we take turns, so we all stay as sane and knowledgeable as possible. I’m committing to 3-4 days of activism a week. If I’m feeling sane, I’ll do more, if feeling insane, I’ll step back. Haven’t been able to make art, yet, but will persist. Thanks for continuing to make yours. xo

  • Shannon Boatwright

    You are right the world is weird right now. I keep waiting for someone to announce this whole thing is all a big joke. I can’t help but think this has to be the wake up call this country needs so that we can get our heads out of our asses and make some much needed changes. The fact that that man was elected President just goes to show how asleep people are. It’s 2017 for God’s sake we shouldn’t still have so much racism, sexism, homophobia, issues with social classes, etc. There is so much information at our fingertips yet people choose to ignore the truth and continue living in their little bubbles. It sucks that people can’t wake up without some messed up shit happening but it seems to be the case with most of the human race. I have wanted to flee the country too but I was thinking Denmark because I love their philosophy on life. Anyways just wanted to let you know I think you are pretty bad ass. I love everything you write. I first discovered your blog about a year ago and I read every entry in two days. Keep on being your amazing self I love your honesty. Your family is beautiful!

  • Stacey

    Okay, take a break from social media, I get that. You cannot totally disappear though! No matter what. No matter how fucked up this country gets!!! (Yes, very selfish, I know). I depend on you just being here. Your blog is a burst of clarity in an otherwise screaming internet void. I came here for the parenting stories and I stay for the world view we seem to share.

  • MaryEl

    Home run! My love hate with FB is off charts right now.
    Yes, posting. Also trying to speak truth to power which is really really hard. And going into the community to volunteer and try to actually help people who could use a hand up. Trying for optimism.

  • Katie B

    I don’t think I have ever related to anything so much…

  • Shannon

    I thought all the sane people were moving to Costa Rica?

  • Renee

    A group of like-minded women and myself have started a private group on Face Book where we are a liberty to say whatever the hell we want about the state of our state, country and world right now. It has been very therapeutic for all of us. Everything is going to shit right now. All I can do is find as much information as I can to have for fuel against 45th to deal with the trumpettes around here. Your post is exactly how we feel. Helpless but determined to be active against 45th. These women are wonderful to talk to. It eases the pressure from all the shit going down right now. If you need to vent and feel loved, let me know. I will add you. Hang in there. We will get through it, one way or another.

    • Sue

      Oh Please let me come visit that F/B page…I am So distressed by what this “president” and his cast of clowns are doing to our country, and I have nowhere to vent and no place to get information. I live in the reddest state in America, I love where I live, but all my neighbors (and 99% of everyone else in the state) are apparently Terminal Trumpers… VOICE OF REASON, Please Speak Out~!! Thank you~~~!