The best advice I received this year was from a nurse that said, “Learn to move in silence.” There is something to be said for the need and reward of activism. There is a need to save the world frequently. And when the daily quotient of social justice perfection isn’t met, it is easy to become discouraged. Here, right now, I am going to remind you of just that.
In AAVE vernacular, “I’s tiied , boss.”
There needs to be a discussion about how often those doing activism work, advocacy work or any work that relates to people and policy, the fatigue that comes. It comes because you get tired. You become used to the trauma shoveled by newfeeds, timelines and daily conversations. For all the good you do, desire to do, there will come a time when you will be tired. You are human, it happens.
And sometimes for those of us doing any like or level of this work, you get tired. You get tired of being the first one called, the first one consulted, the first one whose inbox explodes. You get tired of being the go-to. You get tired of being the ‘dependable’ one. In that reliability, you will begin to burn out. The thing is, you won’t know how bad the burn-out is until you are on fire and no one can hear you scream you need help.
Allow me to help you. It’s okay not to be the first line of defense all the time. It is okay if you can’t make every event, every protest or retweet everything. It is okay to admit that you just can’t…or just can’t right now.
Fatigue is defined as extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.
What I have seen, what I personally deal with, is the fatigue. The need to rest and being unable to rest because your soul is so tired. There is no amount of rest can cure you when your soul is tired.
Tired from always showing up, and having to show up. Tired of not having the freedom to not show up. Yet, it is the need to see change, process and policy change which is why those whose participate in avenues and areas where presence is required for strength and social change do what they do.
Sometimes it is of no benefit to be tired, and you have to be prepared for the fatigue which is inevitable.
Inevitable, but not permanent.
I do the work I do, help the people that I do because I believe in the work. I believe in the potential of the work to be done. I ward off fatigue by utilizing, participating and building my circle and community. This work is a marathon, never a sprint!
I know that my presence even if unnoticed, I add my strength, power and wisdom to what it is I have chosen to participate and push.
Here, I gather energy, rather than being siphoned. With that regained strength, I recognize what does service my overall activism goal and what merely wants numbers without goal, responsibility or purpose.
I know fatigue is rooted in believing I am all alone in my do-gooding or my desire to change the world. But my belief in change and the opportunities it will bring, compels me to keep going–at least one more day.
[Images from Google]