facing political reality

I love politics.

I watched the NBC special “Inside the Obama White House,” where Brian Williams followed around the president for a few days and showed the inner workings of the White House. I was a “West Wing” fan, so naturally I enjoyed watching a few hours worth of this program. It’s that fast-paced, always-strategizing team of people who work long hours but have  amazingly exciting jobs. I just find the whole operation fascinating. I’ve been in awe of the system since I was a teenager, and regardless of party affilations, watching government at work excites me. For a brief period in my early 20s, I was fortunate enough to work for a state political party during an election year (even got to see then-state senator Obama speak at the 2004 DNC convention).Somethings about the work atmosphere irked me, but overall, being immersed  in that culture only piqued my curiosity about this political madness.

Along the way in watching this program, I realized something about myself, though: I probably will not be able to work in such a capacity in my lifetime. I’m not necessarily talking about working in the White House, but just working as an operative in a fast-paced campaign atmosphere.  What I’ve started to acknowledge about myself since the ECT is that my body (and mind) has to respect its limits. I’m not suggesting that people with mood disorders have to give up on certain activities. But what’s become clear to me is that there are some tasks that are more suited in maintaining my own mental health than others. A career in this chaotic, unpredictable, emotionally-charged work, I must reluctantly admit, just is not something I should do. As I’ve reexamined my life and my illness, I would best be able to keep this illness at bay by living a balanced, less chaotic life.

One of my aspirations has always been to work in political campaigns, so for me to have such revelation to appear in front of me made me tear up. I felt like I’ve just told myself that I can’t do something. Also, I’ve never really thought about this topic from this angle and it surprised me how abruptly and strongly this realization came to me. As I write this out, my eyes well up again because I know that I’ve finally come to face a brutal reality. And this time around, I am reluctantly, but fully acknowledging that this revelation is the hard truth.

I do remind myself that my thirst for  politics can always be somewhat quenched by watching Chris Matthews or those Sunday talk shows. There’s always volunteering, something I haven’t been engaged in lately. Lastly, there’s always political cartooning, an activity I haven’t  engaged in the last few years. Maybe I need to look at my realization as just another reason why I could go back to something like drawing those political op-eds. I think my love to want to ‘get in the game’ will always be around, but I guess eliminating one choice or a dream doesn’t mean you are left with nothing else. If anything, I can concentrate on the other dreams, ambitions and choices.


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