I know, I know. More often than not, group texts are like a hostage situation. I usually just end up handing the phone to my teenager and asking him to get me the hell out of them.
But the group text I have going with three friends has been saving my sanity on a daily — sometimes hourly — basis since November 8. The four of us texted fairly regularly before, usually about our kids, upcoming college searches, the need for a ladies’ night out, and, increasingly, the upcoming election. But it has been a lifeline since then because of what it has turned into: support and a division of labor.
I named our group text (because I have two teenagers, so I have cool tech skills) “Love & Resistance.” It is equal parts both.
Here’s how it works and helps:
We’re all pretty much constantly informed on all the issues, draining our very souls every damn day. But now, we can rely on each other to “own” specific key issues: One of us is on guns, one is digging in on refugees, one is highly focused on abortion, and one (me) on media and LGBT issues.
We all care about each of these issues, and we’re often fairly in the know about them — as well as the myriad of other issues slapping us in the face and rights on a daily basis. But we have each other’s backs on these issues so we don’t have to be vigilant on everything. Because we can’t be if we’re going to keep up this fervor. And we have no other choice, right?
Consider it a friend task force. Yes, our Pantsuit break-out groups create a similar structure. But we need a smaller, closer, action group than that. My group text is a microcosm of Pantsuit. And it’s necessary for two reasons:
- We are suffering from information overload. Let me remind you: I am a news junkie. I am to news what Friday night is to wine. But remember those first couple of post-election months? I was getting dizzying number of Facebook notifications from the Pantsuit Nation and its offshoots, not to mention constant What-Fresh-Hell-Is-This alerts from The New York Times and Twitter. I turned off all but the most important such notifications and alerts about a month ago to give my anxiety a slight break. But still, there’s only so much even a junkie like me can take in without a prescription pill addiction. We can’t sustain this for four years. Yet we must. So let’s work smarter and focus.
- We can’t do it all. When the #MuslimBan/travel ban blew up on that fateful Friday, the Refugee Text member spent hours at the airport that weekend in protest. The rest of us couldn’t go that Saturday because we had other commitments. She sent us video from the event and was our on-the-scene reporter. The next day, she went back. My guilt could barely be contained, but I’d been to my therapist that week and knew I had to have some balance. So I texted that I’d “take the baton” when she went back to work on Monday. And Monday evening, I attended a prayer vigil on the issue. We’ve got to tag team this resistance or we won’t win.
This may sound like a small thing, but it is the most effective sanity saver I’ve found since the world turned upside down on November 8. And it uses some of our best skills as women: communication, moral support, and getting shit done.
“Stronger Together” may not have been sexy but, as HRC knows, it’s how women have always moved forward. Text on, sistas!