By Nico Morgan
Alternatively: Some Gay Girls’ Self Care Regimen During One Helluvan Administration
The night of the election, I was sitting in a 24-hour sushi bar with my girlfriend. By that point, we’d been dating for a little over one month, and being considered “queer” was still a relatively new realization for me. I remember watching her face as she continually refreshed the election results, again and again, and I found myself constantly reassuring her:
“There’s no way in hell Trump is going to win.”
“Romney was up most of the 2012 Election, too, before Obama swept the floor with him.”
“America is not so heartless and backwards that it would elect Donald Trump as president.”
She cried when the race was called, and all I could do was continue to hold her hand.
Before the December prior, the only thing worrying me about Donald Trump was his treatment of women– but in that moment, clutching the shaking hand of my terrified new girlfriend, I realized suddenly I was a part of something larger, something scarier. I’d always been an ally to the LGBTQ+ movement, but it wasn’t until then that it suddenly occurred to me, like a punch to the gut: I was a part of it.
In fact, I always had been, despite growing up ignoring those same-sex attraction instincts. And in that moment, more than ever, I had a giant, vulnerable family I wanted to protect.
Since that night, my GF and I have accepted the truth, but we sure as hell have not accepted our fate. Despite the raging hate across the country directed at women, people of color, LGBTQ+ youth and adults alike, we weren’t going to hide away from it.
Despite my still being mostly closeted from my bigoted family members and friends, I wasn’t going to cower. I was going to stand tall, and support my peers, and do whatever I could to keep myself, and those close to me, safe and happy and protected. As much as possible.
First and foremost, I knew I had to keep my partner feeling safe and content. For us, that meant spending as much time together as possible; whether that be a trip to the movies, playing video games in her bedroom, or going out to a nice dinner.
“Nice dinner” can mean a lot of things, of course. In one case, it was $100 Italian meal that almost gave me a heart attack at the dinner table.
Most days, though, a “nice dinner” is Chicken McNuggets and shared french fries. It’s a home cooked meal from the limited ingredients in my fridge, it’s a bowl of ramen in which my girlfriend desperately stuffs as many vegetables as possible because otherwise I would be nutrient deficient.
We talk about what we want to do with our lives in the future, too. We talk about moving to Japan because we’re both anime trash, or maybe Korea because I like K-POP, or even France because I studied French in college. Even if they’re out of reach, even things that aren’t 100% plausible, we’ve probably discussed it.
Living on the moon, becoming mermaids, being reborn as housecats, whatever. As far as we’re concerned, in this moment in time, we’ll even be together in death, probably. As ghosts. Or, maybe even ghost mermaids if we’re talking ultimate afterlife fantasy here, since apparently being buried underwater in a mermaid castle is actually a thing.
In another strain of spending every waking moment together, we took the advice of the wise, wise words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle: “Treat yourself.”
It sounds petty; it’s probably one of the least responsible days of our year, but honestly, I absolutely recommend it. It’s so worth it.
Whether that’s getting a massage, a mani-pedi, buying a motorcycle, eating something out of our diet, or treating ourselves to a new activity, like airboating. Honestly, I didn’t know airboats were even still a thing? I guess that’s what I get for confining myself to the Pacific Northwest.
Not only can treating yourself boost self-confidence in the realm of overall contentment, body image, life outlook, etc., but it’s also good for your health. It releases endorphins and can even ease some of your mental illness symptoms, at least for a little bit.
For my GF specifically, she’s a giant connoisseur of makeup and fashion. Honestly, most of the makeup in her arsenal I don’t even understand the point of, but damn if it doesn’t make her look good.
For me, I used to be a really avid runner, with thick thighs that could crush a watermelon, probably. I might be exaggerating, but I feel like yeah, maybe. Anyway, I digress: something I always skimp on is cute workout clothes, because for most of the year, flowery leggings and well-fitting tank-tops aren’t really a necessity, you know? (That’s a LIE, by the way.)
So, when I feel like treating myself, you can bet I’ll be heading straight over to the nearest athleisure retailer and running my credit card hot. Mesh leggings are the most incredible things I’ve ever seen I think, for two reasons: 1. Extra ventilation for my hot legs, 2. Mesh is literally the sexiest fabric to grace the planet.
The most important factor of it all, though, is this: seeking the positive.
It’s difficult. Some days, it may even feel impossible, but I still urge you to join us in trying.
It’s not going to be easy, but that’s okay. You’re welcome, invited, expected, allowed to have bad days, particularly when those bad days revolve around something so personal to yourself and your wellbeing. Whether you’re queer, a woman, POC, it doesn’t matter, bad days will come and they will hurt.
They won’t be every day, though, I can also promise you that. I don’t even know you, stranger behind a computer screen reading my words right now, but I know for a fact I can promise you good days.
There’s one stipulation, though: you have to seek them for yourself.
The future might be bleak, or in this case at least a little uncertain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do whatever possible to find a little bit of positivity in the world. Whether that be the overall success of the Women’s March, the number of voices rising up to speak out against hate, the powerful women in countries outside of the US who might have it harder but still thrive, good things are happening in the world every day, and they deserve recognition for their goodness.
Whether you’re one for being single, you’re in a relationship, you have friends that’ll support you ‘til the end, the important thing is this: don’t give up on treating yourself, and offering yourself happy moments and happy memories, even in this era of darkness.
Have your bad days, embrace your tears and shaking hands, but also use those hands to hold onto someone you love, to laugh and smile and refuse to give your life over to those who seek to ruin it.