Days where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts only happen in Nicholas Sparks novels before the protagonist is diagnosed with a particularly deadly strain of eyelash cancer. In real life, the best we can hope for are a few really great things happening pretty close together — remember election night 2008 and you forgot about how we went to war in Iraq based on pure lies? Remember when your team won that thing and you forgot about genocide for a second? What happened within the last 24 hours — Wendy Davis's incredible Wonder Womaning in the Texas Senate, and the Supreme Court's huge pro-gay marriage rulings — is a flood of good news of historical proportions — or, to put it cynically, we might not have it this good again for quite some time.
I admit that I'm pretty bad at sabotaging my ability to just enjoy positive news as, well, a positive. Just now, during the walk to the coffee shop around the corner and down the street from my apartment, I got this nagging feeling that I had forgotten something very important. Pants? Was I wearing pants? Yeah, and a shirt. Glasses on, phone, keys, wallet, didn't leave the bathroom window open wide enough for the cat to climb out onto the fire escape. Didn't leave an iron on, didn't leave the sink on. What the fuck is gone? What's different?
Then I realized what I was missing — the full weight of my constant anxiety about the state of the world. It was still there, just a lot lighter than what I'm accustomed to. Leaving the house without having A BIG THING to worry about felt like forgetting a bra. Am I so addicted to news anxiety that I'm empty without it?
It's not that I'm a pessimist; I just like to keep my expectations low enough that if everything comes crashing down, I don't break any bones. That's why last night, instead of sitting at home glued to my computer like all of Twitter, I ate Twizzlers at a late-ish screening of Much Ado About Nothing. I was so convinced that something fucked up would happen during Wendy Davis's filibuster that I couldn't bring myself to watch. Plus I was sure something stupid would happen with the SCOTUS and gay marriage. Nope, said my brain. Can't. Breather required. Feed me candy.
When great things happen one right after another, news and justice nerds get a chance to pause for a second — just a second — and appreciate the fact that for fucking once, things don't feel like they're on an obvious backslide. Recharging time. Time to regroup before tackling the incredibly messed up circumstances that brought us to this place. For example: why was a 50-year-old woman in tennis shoes forced to stand for 13 hours without going to the bathroom so women in West Texas can receive reproductive health care? Why are the people who believe that homosexuality is wrong based on a 2,000+ year old book of religious mythology the same people who believe that a 400 year old legacy of institutionalized racism on American soil can be solved by a law passed less than 50 years ago? And — Jesus H. — the Zimmerman trial. That.
I agree to an extent with naysaying liberal pundits who insist that we've got plenty to worry about — the Supreme Court just completed one of the crappier sessions in recent memory, and reverberations of the court's conservative activism will probably make the next election into even more of a shitshow than the last one. Syria. The NSA. Student loan debt. The cronut bubble. All this ongoing abortion and lady sexuality nonsense.
For the next day or so, against all of my anxious instincts, I'm choosing to dwell on the good things that just happened, so I have the energy to deal with the bad stuff coming down the pipline. There's more than enough of it to keep my anxiety reserves full.