Sunday, September 25, 2011

A note about self-care…

Shall we?

An activist friend recently asked me how folks continue on in the social justice movement during times like this…when it feels like the forces of evil are winning…when those around us are pushing apathy like it’s the new “it” drug…when chaos rules, greed thrives, hate grows, and the prize seems too far away to keep our eyes on it.

The answer to that question keeps changing and is a little bit different for everyone.

I know some people who focus on work/life balance.

Other folks shut down to recharge on a regular basis.

Still others indulge in debauch and get their party on...hard.


I tend to do a little bit of everything or anything...whatever it takes to get back to well.

I take time for family…not as much as I probably should, but I never claimed to be perfect.

I allow myself to not be perfect…(see sentence above).

I always take Saturdays offline…well, not always.

Didn’t I say something about not being perfect (wink)?

And when I need to crash…when the weight of it all is just too much…when I feel like I’m going to lash out at the next motherfucker who tries to spin hate as love, murder as justice, oppression as empowerment…

…when I need to crash I crash.

As a matter of fact, today I’m emerging from a good old fashioned couch-based no shower taking take-out food munching trash novel reading two day crash!

And I feel better.

I opened up this computer and didn’t resent doing it.

I read my email without dread.

And when I read the first message about [insert outrageous injustice here] I wasn’t filled with apathy…my soul ached but that’s human and okay…

…and my mind responded with thoughts of how the hell we can beat back the bad to make room for the good.

My Grandmother used to say that they call this a struggle for a reason.

I’m going to add that those of us who take up the cause of justice need to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint.

So, take care…take time for you…crash if you need to…watch a shitty movie or read something non-movement/politics/activism/reality related…garden…have great sex…whatever.

Take care.

The movement…the struggle will be there when you come back…and it needs you strong, solid, and ready to get set and go.

Thanks for the question, Z!


Twain said...

Today, and this past week, I am being up and hopeful because of the people who are demonstrating on Wall Street. Maybe they are starting a movement that will grow and we need that.

dinthebeast said...

Molly Ivins used to say that we needed to have more fun while we were as she called it "freedom fighting", or at least try to remember to have fun somewhere in the process. Right now, to me anyway, none of it looks like much of a good time. I find, though, that there is a satisfaction on a deeper level from effort spent at something difficult. So in a way it changes from "have fun doing it" to "attach meaning to suffering". I sort of switch from Molly's approach to one of Dr. King's...
Anyway, thanks for the post, as we all need to be reminded to care for ourselves (and each other) from time to time.

-Doug in Oakland

snjmom said...

I hear that. After an accumulation of sorrow and tears I've had to just sit back and re-charge. With the shocked reactions to the recent debates, just maybe, we shall see an awakening.

Thomas said...

I am glad your friend asked the question and glad you answered with such sage advice. In times such as these when unemployment is rampant, programs are being cut left and right and people are being left to fend for themselves, fear grows among the people and this can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. People tend to turn to conservatives who appeal to their fears. It can be grossly discouraging-Thanks for addressing this!

CaitieCat said...

Very well-said, ABB. Excellent post.

Hattie said...

Yeah. I take weekends off from the computer, don't watch the news, etc. By Monday I'm my natural cheery self and then kind of get worked up over the week as the disasters continue to accumulate at home and abroad.
There is always so much to do and it seems like the rewards for working for social justice are slow and slim.

Anonymous said...

It's a long, long road. This journey toward a complete change of heart. All the more reason to take care of yourselves, so you can take care of others.

Anonymous said...

This was extremely timely, Shark-Fu. Thank you very much.

charmngbilly said...

i think this is a small bit of "wisdom literature" i remember former Oprah-protege Iyanla taking a hold of her head between her hands and saying "check yourself!" a bit melodramatic but appropriate, i think, to remember to Stop.... Breathe.....Just Be, for a moment....Rest, Recharge, and back to the fight.

yaed said...

Shit takes time, shit takes effort. Lets suppose we are cunning animals we humans. We can use fancy words and strange pants and all that but we are not that fancy really. We are not that smart in general. Lets face it, most of us is pretty damn stupid. Just look at the fucking N.Y.C. cops getting a bribe from the fascits at Goldman and JP fucking Morgan, in the middle of they day, everybody can see it. Being smart takes time.

The 60s is just what, one and a half generations ago? We saw the glimmer of change towards love that could have happend in a big way. Kennedy was talking peace on earth to the Russians, King was teaching us about love through God, M. Ghandi throwing his skinny as in front of the british fascists. Thats not a long time. The earth has existed for about 200.000.000 generations of people, not that people where around that long, but still. 1.5 aint nuthin compared to 200.000.000. Im just saying unfortunately, shit takes time, shit takes effort.

Im not saying we need to shut the fuck up and stay and home and watch the military industrial complex propaganda bullshit on our idiot boxes. Im just saying: Shit takes time, shit takes effort. I will die fighting, thats OK. I cannot promise change to a certain degree because of my actions, but i can promise i WILL fight.

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