We’ve kept quiet for a little while. It is mostly related to a lot of work behind the scenes and reorganising stuff, and it didn’t help that our website broke and the tech humans had to give it some love. It also is about burn out. After organising and giving talks for a few months whilst keeping up the internet presence, the lack of energy was starting to show.
Luckily, the team is growing and expanding and we are finding ways of splitting work and make things easier for everybody, but the first signs of burnout were showing for many of us. For that reason it was clear we needed to take a break, reanalyze, work on many things that needed fixing and get back to work stronger.
It did make us think that many of us in the activist community don’t really know how to take a break. It can become quite asphyxiating, thinking about all the wrongs we see in the world and not knowing how to fix them. Maybe even infuriating that regardless of what actions we take, the world never seems to change quick enough. It is hard to take a break through a storm.
“Aftershock: Confronting trauma in a violent world” has been a good book for us to reanalyze how we relate to trauma related activism as well as a great tool to aid others struggling with traumatic experiences. Regardless of how good that book might be, it doesn’t actually prepare you for the hard reality of taking a break.
We’ve asked a few folks within the collective to tell us what they feel is good self care to avoid (or to tenderly heal) burn out. Suggestions were varied because there is no one single recipe to help us all. Some folks mentioned long walks in the woods, watching easy TV shows, having sex, watching the wild be wild, cuddling animals or eating nice food. Joining other struggles where we don’t feel an urge to organise as we are less used to the community was also mentioned. Mindless vandalism, fucking with advertisements on the streets and shoplifting your heart out were also mentioned.
The only thing that was clear is that avoiding emotions was not a good way to deal with them.
We are animals. Part of our animal is to feel, and whilst we deprive the animal from one of our primal needs we are not just stopping ourselves from growing but also applying a very speciesist philosophy to our life.
So regardless of what your coping mechanisms are, regardless of your needs, allow for those emotions to come out and to evolve, making you a stronger, more effective and much more driven to the revolution.
And if you are struggling, remember that we are a community, that you are not alone and that change needs time. Reach out to others, take a break and let your comrades take the lead for a while. You’ll get through to the other side.
LOVE IS REVOLUTION.
Pic: Queens against RWE, because struggles are interconnected, because climate change is scary, and of course, because queers ALWAYS bash back!