If you’re anything me, you’re inundated with news on a daily, sometimes even hourly, basis. Lately, it seems like it’s one tragedy after another. From the various hurricanes that have hit around the world, to horrific acts of terrorism like the gun violence we heard about in Las Vegas on October 1.
It’s easy to fall into a pit of despair when surrounded by this news; to feel like you’re helpless, and that there’s no way you can possibly help those affected. The good news is: you CAN help! Whether you’ve got money or time to donate, phone calls to make, or can physically help in person… you CAN make a difference.
(Side note: during times of crisis, many people will offer ‘thoughts and prayers’ to those affected. While I can respect these gestures, and understand why people do this, in the end — thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help victims of a flood regain their livelihood or find a place to get food RIGHT NOW, or lead to stricter gun control in the United States or worldwide. So, yes, if you feel the need, offer your thoughts and prayers — but then get on your feet, on your computer, in your bank account, wherever, and offer something else.)
Let me ask you a question. How often do you check your email?
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably say “every day.” Honestly, I can’t imagine going a day *without* checking my email. But upon further reflection, I… honestly think I check my email *TOO* much. I’ve been trying to take stock of my little habits, and lately, that’s the one I’ve noticed.
Wake up, get ready for work, check my email. Then maybe an hour later, check my email again. It can literally be ten minutes later and there I am, logging into Google again. And again. And again.
Does anyone else do that?
Okay, I don’t think I’m really obsessed. I think it’s just become a habit in this tech-crazy world, where we all feel inclined, or maybe even required, to be connected at all times. The phones in our pockets/purses ensure that we’re always dialed in, and make it a hell of a lot easier to keep checking – even if we’re not necessarily expecting any specific correspondence to fly our way.
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re likely engaged, or at least heading toward a wedding. It will be the most incredible, beautiful day of your life. You’ll probably deal with at least some stress beforehand, but when all is said and done, you’ll get to spend a wonderful life with your partner.
That being said, here are a few things I learned along the way to help YOU relieve stress and enjoy your special day!
It’s your wedding, not anyone else’s. It’s easy to feel pressure from friends, parents, etc. They’re all likely well-meaning, but it’s your wedding day, not theirs. It’s up to you how much input you want to let others have on things like your wedding dress (Say Yes to the Dress, anyone?), food, etc. We’ve all seen that list circulating the Internet about “stupid wedding trends” or whatever, but my thought is this: DO WHAT YOU WANT. WHATEVER YOU WANT. Seriously. Whoever you want in your bridal party, invite them; and whoever you don’t, don’t. Whatever band you want to hire, go for it! Same goes for the food, the venue, the dress, and all that jazz.
Although I’ve yet to actually go see it, I’m thrilled by the hype floating around on social media regarding the new Wonder Woman movie. There’s just something about seeing a film surrounding a strong, powerful woman succeed that sends chills up and down my spine. It’s fantastic – and I wanted to feed off that energy by reminding everyone of some of the incredible women who have brought about change in society!
Hopefully you’ve already heard of these 15 powerful women and are familiar with their accomplishments, but in all honesty, you might not be. Their stories deserve recognition and acknowledgment, far more than I can give them – but I hope this is a start.
Deepa Kumar’s book “Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire” might just be the most important book I’ll read all year – and I strongly suggest that others pick it up and give it a read as well. The book is a few years dated, but it is so important, even moreso in today’s political climate in the United States under Trump. (Honestly, I can only hope Kumar will re-release it in a few years with chapters about what’s going on in the country today, and I can only hope that in a few years, we’ll be better off.)
It took me about two weeks to read this book, if only because I wanted to take my time and really digest it. There’s a lot of information here, starting with the historical context of Islamophobia – not just in the United States – and leading up to the times that casual Islamophobia ran free under President Obama.