Those who know me will be surprised to hear me say this, because (historically) I’ve been a rather vocal participant in all sorts of political issues (ranging from feminist concerns to the animal rights movement), but I couldn’t care less about the election. This doesn’t mean that I’m not terrified of what could happen, or that I don’t have strong deep-seeded opinions about the candidates, but, rather, that the sort of negative energy it takes to argue about these things and make my voice heard seems to have been removed from my being.
As I approach my one-year sobriety date and ponder on all of the changes I’ve made over the past twelve months, it seems to me that the removal of that negative energy is one huge accomplishment. I still hold every since opinion I held a year ago (well, politically speaking), and I haven’t changed my basic standards, but I’m a lot less vocal about them, and as a result my life has become much happier. I still can’t see myself marrying anyone who goes to church on a regular basis or insists on eating steak every night, but I’m quite fine dating someone (as I seem to be, now) who loves rib-eyes once a week and has conversations with (and about) God on a daily basis — and who also happens to have graduated from high school when I was nine months old, sees a cardiologist on a regular basis for high blood pressure, and talks about retiring to Florida within the next ten years.
[I should point out that “beach house in Florida” is probably the exact opposite of “loft on the Lower East Side,” which is where *I* have always seen myself in ten years. But I digress.]
The point is that any energy I might have once had to argue, debate, and convince someone else of my point of view has completely dissipated. In the program, people talk about “attraction, not promotion” — meaning that the best way to show people that changing your life taking certain steps is to serve as an example rather than a mouthpiece — and I’ve found that to be entirely accurate. And you know what? I’ve had more people learn about veganism and feminism and a thousand other things by just living by those principles and answering questions in a respectful manner when asked than I ever did when I went out spouting my opinions. And, I should note, this is distinctly different than what I tried before this current phase, which was pretty much sitting down and shutting up out of anxiety over conflict so as not to scare people away, which still left a discernable tension over conflicts of belief that was always there, whether I ignored it or not. Now? I just don’t care about the conflict — difference is a fact of life, and I can serve as an example (or not), but what I do and believe has absolutely nothing to do with what anyone else does or believes.
By saying this, I don’t mean to imply that I believe political action is meaningless or ill-placed, because I absolutely admire the people who are taking bus rides to different states and canvassing and making phone calls to get the word out. I would still — this minute — participate in political events supporting the issues I hold dear, and I continue to donate money to organizations doing work supporting my values. What I’m talking about is more on an interpersonal level — and it’s pretty darn amazing, considering the oh-so-angry person I was a year ago. My relationships have improved, I’m a happier individual, and I’m finally able to love people (my children, my friends, and potential lovers) the way they deserve to be loved. Life is good, and I am grateful to be here today. Namaste.