We hope you all are well. We had a fun AND busy weekend! Most notably, we got to hang with our COM|PASSionate REVOLT family (our favorite dream worker and tarot-ist, Kaeti Gugiu,) catch Sister Spit hosted by the Long Beach Center and check out the drag show at Hamburger Mary's new location (not that new- we're just getting old and don't get out as much as we used to.)
We giggled a lot, saw some great drag, ran into some familiar faces and got to give hugs to some new friends. All in all a lovely night of community witnessing and reflection. As often happens when you're at a non-work related social (but community) event, hanging with folks that work in community (not at the event,) the talk turned to "the work." It came up over the course of the night in several different scenarios and incarnations and it got us to thinking about the healing but also, at times, insidious way "the work" itself becomes tied to our own healing, survival and flourishing.
It's an interesting dilemma that those of us that are the most passionate (often because of personally driven volition) are often getting paid the least or not at all for the work we are doing. Whether or not we have paid positions we are also often doing other unpaid work or activism in the community and when we take time off we often fall into commiserating about the depleting nature of the work/activism/community navigation. We talk about how much more work needs to be done or how ineffective the structures are we're working within. One action may feel like it's gaining movement while another seems to be falling behind. We're tired but another group that collaborated with us earlier in the year is having an event. Our advocacy group is in between big events but our partner is having a shitty time at work/with family/the sometimes uphill battle of everyday life. We organized an event that went well and didn't realize how much it would trigger for us personally. An event doesn't go well and (because our identities are personally invested) we feel the weight of failure, not just in the eyes of others but in the fear of a present and future that continues to not hold and nurture us. While we're all doing our best to give our all to causes that need support, it's a slippery feedback loop-- a cycle that doesn't lend itself well to breaks, self-care or, in actuality, sustainability and success of our movements.
You know the directions they give on airplanes before you take off. They show you the little air mask and remind you to secure yours first before you help anyone around you?? It's because you can't help anyone around you if you're passed out!
That's something more of us need to institute into the work we do with our communities. Aftershock, by Patrice Jones, is a guide for activists and allies confronting trauma in a violent world.
We think this is a great start to understanding the effects and care we need to take of ourselves when working in our communities-- after all, if we pass out from exhaustion the work doesn't get done anyways.
We also think it's relevant to feel into the kind of change that best suits your individual personality, talents and person. Sure we can try to add temperance and self-care to our lives by decreasing the work we do in the world but the truth is many of us are intimately invested in the work we're doing. We don't want to stop because we want the world to be better for ourselves as much as we want the world to be better for others!
So, for example, if you're someone that gets an adrenaline rush from loud group protests go for it! Maybe you'd rather be involved in a letter writing campaign behind the scenes? Do you have natural charm and put people at ease so they can hear a new point of view? A lot of grassroots campaigns could use folks going door to door to connect. Maybe you're an artist? Can you design a shirt raising awareness/funds for a group you're involved with? Web designer? There are lots of small groups and non-profits that can't hire a big firm to build a website or do a bit of upkeep. Are you using your voice in blogging community? Drop us a line! Let us know if you'd be interested in being part of the COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION! The possibilities are endless.
We sometimes get stuck as seeing "activism" in only one light that benefits the sun energized, loud, confrontational group movements. Are these important? Absolutely! Would we, being the humans that "cry as much as some people pee" and have a lot of feelings be in any form of conscious state if we engaged in too many of these?? Not so much.
We often fail to question why these masculine forms of movement are valued higher than the quiet powerful ways feminine water energy has continuously and unrelentingly turned mountains in beaches one patient grain of sand at a time.
So, we know it would be silly of us to ask you, REVOLUTIONARIES, to stop making the world a better place by your presence, sacrifices and compassion. We do, however, encourage you to take the time to check in with what is the best, most fueling, most sustainable way for you to contribute.
We implore you put on your mask before helping those around you.
Until next time. Put your mask on.
In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,
Skye + Traci
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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.