Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Live Journal: Self-Care and Activist Burnout

I’ve always been keen on picking up on subtleties, like everyday heteronormative occurrences and microaggressions, but I swear there’s a sixth sense for it — and all social justice advocates have it.

It often feels like it kicks into overdrive, and sometimes, it makes me feel like I’m burning out. I love a good, intellectual discussion on the classist social system that continues to oppress women and people of color as much as the next person, but it can be a little emotionally triggering sometimes.

Many people come into their activism as a result of trauma or challenging life experiences, and that is exactly why self-care is essential in this line of work. As I am slowly learning, prioritizing yourself and your needs goes a long way as a part of the larger activist movement. When feminists take the time to recharge and rejuvenate, they are better equipped to tear down and tackle complex social issues.

After attending my first two national and regional social justice-y conferences last year, I felt ready to take on the patriarchal society. I couldn’t wait to riot and campaign in hopes of inciting social change and enlightening a whole new generation of future feminists. I had finally found a place, a place where a young queer woman of color like myself could fit in, and I was going to do whatever it took to make my voice heard.

I had taken the red pill and I was hooked. I was learning new things every day and I wanted more. My mind was expanding and my hunger for more did, too. I read so many feminist blogs and books than I could even wrap my mind around.

Vividly, I remember one of my mentors saying to me, “As an activist, you have to remember to take care of yourself or you’ll burn out too quickly.” At that point, I thought, how on earth could that happen? Social justice is my jam.

Fast forward a year and my activism is still as powerful and fulfilling as ever, but I find myself needing to take some days to binge-watch Netflix just to keep me from feeling like I’ve hit a wall. I get physically and emotionally drained at the single thought of explaining social justice issues to other people, but that it OK.

My newfound appreciation for self-care has helped me:
- Learn to say no when I am in way over my head.
- Stop feeling guilty for not educating everyone.
- Appreciate hanging out with my activist friends without talking about activism.  
Now, this list can be edited and re-edited a million times and is nowhere near finished, but it’s a good start. I’ve found that in order for me to advocate for other people, I need to take care of myself first.

Until next time,


No comments:

Post a Comment