Not my President: A Guide to Making a Difference in Your Community

Holyshitwhatishappening?  We have a billionaire nut job in the presidential office who somehow won, despite alienating a ridiculous amount of minority groups and women. Now the question is what do we do? What can you do as a singular person in the United States that is going to matter? Will anything you do actually matter? If you paid any attention to what happened yesterday, Saturday, January 21st, 2017, you know that there are plenty of people out there that feel the same way you do. You. Are. Not. Alone. If every person in all those crowds that gathered across the nation does one thing to try to make their community a safer and better place for women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQA+ community (and anyone else that I forgot) that is over 1 million things being done in this country.

The question on all of our minds, though, is what can I do? What. Can. I. Do? I was really overwhelmed by this question since the election in November. I wasn’t exactly sure where I fit in this.  I heard a lot of different things and I felt overwhelmed about where to start. But Saturday gave me life. The amount of people that showed up to stand up and support women in all of the communities that they existed, gave me hope. I have come up with a variety of things to do to make my community better. I’m going to share these with you, and combat all of your gut feeling excuses, to help you find what you can do to make your community a better place.  No more dilly-dallying, let’s get started.

1. RUN FOR OFFICE.  

Grow a pair. Woman up and run already.

Obama said it. Every speaker at the women’s March on Washington said it. I’m saying it to you now. Change starts on a local level. If you have never run for a public office before, you don’t have to start big. You start small. You could run for school board. You could contact your city’s governmental office and see what positions are available to find something that fits your expertise or your interest. If you’re fortunate enough to live in the capital city of your state, you can go to your Senator or Assmeblyperson’s office and see if you can get some information from them on how you can run in local elections. If you’re thinking about running for office, you must understand that often this is a part-time job – 20 hours a week will go to this. So if you’re privileged enough to be able to give this time, it’s definitely something to consider. 

But you might be saying to me, “Kate, I don’t have time to run for office.” “Kate, I’m not well versed enough in politics to run for office.”  I say to you, that is fine because we are going to continue with our list.  I’m going to give you more ideas.

2. VOLUNTEER. Volunteer in your community for local organizations and nonprofits that hold your values at heart. Some examples: women’s shelters like the YWCA, the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Humane Society, the Rape Crisis Center. You can work as a ballot person. You can work as somebody who helps get people registered to vote. You could volunteer as somebody who helps people get driver’s licenses that wouldn’t not be able to get driver’s licenses on their own due to barriers that exist within our society. The list is endless. The possibilities are endless for the type of volunteering that you can do in your community.  If you live in a really small town, this may not be something that you can very readily do.  The nearest Humane Society might be a half hour to 45 minutes away.  You could start something in your city. 

If you tell me “Kate, I just told you I didn’t have time to run for office, so how could I have time to volunteer or start an organization in my town?”  I feel you. The list of ideas continues.

3. DONATE. 

If you don’t have time to run for office or volunteer, an excellent thing you can do is donate.  Hell, even if you were running for office or volunteering, you can donate. Do your research. Find out which organizations you would like to give a monthly donation to.  You can go on donating binges like I often do. Find organizations in your community that you can donate to.  This is important. This is what is going to facilitate change. Donations go towards paying people to do what you don’t have time to do.   

I donate to five different organizations / nonprofits each month as a reoccurring donation. I donate between $15 and $25 / organization.  It doesn’t have to be $100 a month. If you can spare $10 a month, then find one place that you can donate $10 to and that will matter.  If every single person marching on Saturday donated $10 towards organizations in their communities, that would be 10 million dollars going directly to our communities to help facilitate change. 

But you might say to me, “Kate, I work all these hours so that I can provide for myself and I really don’t have the expendable income to be able to do that.” Well, again, I challenge you with the $10 per month thing, considering that that is the cost of two lattes.  That is one stop at fast food restaurant.  That’s two beers. But don’t worry, my list is not done. Let’s continue

4.  START READING GODDAMN BOOKS. 

That’s right. Start reading some goddamn books. Start reading books that have to do with a particular subject that you care most passionately about that needs help under the Trump Administration. I will give you some examples to help you get started: access to affordable health care, black lives matter, immigration, women’s access to healthcare, treatment of Native Americans, EPA, climate change, recycling, green energy – AND SO MUCH MORE. Pretend you are creating your own college class and you’re going to make yourself read a bunch of books.  It is incredibly important to get yourself educated about the issues and not just scrolling  through articles on Facebook and Twitter and other social media. 

You might say, “Kate, I just told you that I didn’t have time to run for office or to volunteer, what makes you think that I will have time to read books?”  Well, first, opening up a goddamn book isn’t as much commitment as going to volunteer somewhere or running for office. This is a goddamn book. You should be reading goddamn books anyway. So change your topic a little bit if you haven’t already. You might say that you couldn’t donate because you don’t have the money right now that you can just throw out there. Well, then go to the goddamn library. If you don’t have a library card, get a goddamn library card, go to the goddamn library, and read some goddamn books. Consider this your time to study up before you run for office. Consider this your time to study up before you start putting your money into different organizations. Consider this your time to find where your passion truly lies within our system where the personal is so political.  Find where your passion lies so that when you have the time in the future, because you will, you can volunteer. 

As I come up with more, I will add them.  But any of the above is a great place to start.

VIDEO: Coping with Grief

By far one of the hardest things I have had to deal with so far in my adulthood is seeing my grandfather get sick and pass away.  He died on November 1, 2014 after two strokes, a month in the hospital, and seven weeks in hospice.  It’s still super fresh for me.  I still can’t wrap my mind around that fact that he’s gone – and he knows what happens once we die.  BLOWS MY MIND.

I was stressed out and sad and not realizing how much this was affecting me physically.  I did not realize how much I wasn’t eating.  I did not realize how much I was giving loved ones the cold shoulder.  I did not realize how much I was isolating myself.  Grief is hard.  Losing a loved one is hard.  Self care is extra important in these times.

Here are some resources if you are coping with grief, too.

Self Care While Grieving: Comfort Quickies – Some ideas if you’re looking for ways to comfort yourself.

Grief and Loss: Self Care – Some ways to keep in touch with caring for your body while you are grieving.

Healthy Grieving – This covers many topics – what is grief, what experiencing grief looks like, helping yourself through grief, recommended reading.


I have said it before and I’ll say it again, taking care of you starts with you.

Learning How to Say “No” – BOUNDARIES

Boundaries are AWESOME.

Boundaries are frickin’ empowering.

Boundaries are a part of “self-care.”

In my year of being 23, I learned how to say no to things I didn’t want to do.  It took me a while to figure myself out, but once I did, I called my “saying-yes-to-everything” tendency my “obligation anxiety.”  Here is how it would go:

  1. An opportunity would arise/ someone needs help with something.
  2. I would sign up for something because I felt it was something I should do to (be a better person, build my resume, be ambitious – ie: become a caregiver, host/plan a fundraiser, volunteer somewhere, etc).
  3. I would start doing this activity.
  4. Said activity would start to expect more from me/I would expect more from me regarding said activity. (ie: asking me to work holidays, weird hours that didn’t fit with my schedule, plan events I didn’t actually have time for)
  5. I would say “Yes” to said expectations.
  6. I would get anxious about carrying out said expectations.
  7. I would do said expectations until I burned out OR I would flake out and ignore any duties and simply not do said activity anymore. (Usually the latter.)

In my year of being 23, I learned at that I could totally delete steps 2 – 7 out of my life by REALLY thinking about the opportunity/assistance needed and saying “No” AT STEP ONE!! AMAZING!! THIS WAS MONUMENTAL!

Instead of flaking out on obligations that I created, I could just not make them obligations in the first place.  I STARTED SAYING “NO” TO THINGS I DIDN’T ACTUALLY WANT TO DO! IMAGINE THAT!

It wasn’t until I started my year of being 24 did I actually learn that what I learned to do was SET BOUNDARIES.  Now that I can put a name to what I learned, I’m setting boundaries all over the place!

And now that I’m setting boundaries, I’m noticing the boundaries that other people are setting.  I’m seeing the boundaries, I’m calling them boundaries, I’m understanding those boundaries, and I’m respecting those boundaries.

Boundaries, Boundaries, BOUNDARIES. (I just typed it so much that it’s starting to not look like a word.)

HOW TO SET BOUNDARIES

  1. Be cognizant of what makes you comfortable and uncomfortable.
  2. Once you notice what is uncomfortable, set a boundary.
    1. EXAMPLE: Someone you met on a dating site is texting you too much.  You want some space.  SET A BOUNDARY.  “Hey, I need some space.  Text you in a couple days, ok?”  BOUNDARY. BOOM.
    2. Setting a boundary requires honesty, but remember that your amount of disclosure is up to you.  You could be breaking a boundary by getting a little TMI with your boundary explanation – especially if you’re setting a boundary with a co-worker, acquaintance, or random person.
      1. EXAMPLE: A co-worker says that they DESPERATELY need you to cover a shift for them.  But you don’t want to cover their shift.  Maybe it’s your only day off.  Maybe you just don’t feel like it.  Maybe you have plans already.  You do not need to come up with some excuse as to why you can’t work it.  You don’t need to give them any reason. By not sharing your plans, you are setting a boundary.  By not taking the shift, you are setting a boundary.
  3. Enforce said boundary.  Let this person know that you are serious about this boundary.  Setting boundaries and going back on them isn’t good for you or the person/people you are dealing with.  Be consistent with your boundary markers.

What boundaries have you set?  What boundaries do you think you need to set?

VIDEO: How to Love Yourself 101

tyrannosauruslexxx made a great video about how to love yourself.

These same nine things are the exact things I went through to start loving me!  I thought she outlined them very well.  I will bullet-point them for you here with some of my own thoughts.

HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF 101 (per tyrannosauruslexxx)

  1. Stop putting yourself down.
  2. Replace negative thoughts with things that you like about yourself.  Or at least follow-up the negative comments with a positive comment about yourself.
  3. Treat yourself.  Indulge in something for yourself. Give yourself “me” time.
    1. KATE NOTE: For example, I take myself on a date at the beginning of every month.  I also take pole dancing classes (find out what they’ve done for me here) once a week for an hour.  As for “me” time, I don’t say “yes” to things when they interfere with “me” time and I choose to sleep by myself a few nights a week.
  4. Look at how you relate to others.  Treating others in a positive way will help you treat yourself in a positive way.
    1. KATE NOTE: This will also help others treat you positively. (Insert cliche saying “Treat others how you want to be treated.”)  
    2. KATE NOTE: This helps me with my road rage. :D  When I am getting angry, I try to be nice and pretend they are in a hurry because someone is in labor in that vehicle and that’s why they’re driving like an asshole and cutting me off (or trying to). So I let them cut me off, with a smile, because in my mind there in a pregnant woman having 10 sec contractions in that vehicle.  And I breathe, in, and out. Just like I imagine the woman in the vehicle in breathing. 
  5. Don’t be afraid to get rid of rubbish people in your life.
  6. Have goals – big and small.
  7. Know your worth.  Demand more from the world and people around you.
  8. Pick certain people who you look up to and emulate them in certain situations.
    1. KATE NOTE: “WWKD?”  What would Kate do?  You can even emulate me if you want.  Find your inner Kate.
  9. Fake it til you make it.  This applies for #1 through #8.  Do these things even if you don’t believe yourself, and you’ll start believing yourself because you deserve to love yourself and be happy.

MY ADDITIONS TO THIS LIST:

  • If you don’t have a mirror – get one!  If you have one and it’s covered up – uncover it!
  • Make eye contact with yourself in the mirror.
    • If this makes you cry, cry. If this makes you uncomfortable, ask yourself why it does.  If this makes you want to punch the mirror, don’t.  If this makes you happy, be happy.
  • Smile at yourself when you look in the mirror.
    • I had no idea that not everyone did this until I was bartending one night and it came up in conversation.  Try it.  Seriously – it works.  :D
  • Stick a positive note on your mirror that will make you smile!  Here are some ideas:
    • You are smart.
    • You are kind.
    • You are important.
    • You look great!
    • All this and brains, too.

Check out the video below!