dolorosa_12: (sleepy hollow)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
I was going to write today about the wonderful trip Matthias and I made to visit friends in Poznań -- our first time in Poland -- and how it was restorative and healing and hopeful. I probably will still write about that trip, but events have pushed it from the front of my mind.

I'm writing, of course, about the dismal UK local election results (and what they appear to predict for the general election in June), and the crushing sense of hopelessness I'm seeing all around me -- both among friends and colleagues here in Cambridge, and among friends all over the world more generally. My colleagues and I had a big screaming rant over lunch, and I think it helped. I thought I'd share with you what I said to a colleague who was feeling particularly down. These are the things I remind myself when I feel at my most hopeless. I'm not naive enough to think they'll save the world: the situation is dire in so many places, and the barriers we face are considerable. But I've been repeating these things to myself to keep myself going after Brexit; they've been helpful to me, and maybe they will be helpful to you.

  • I take satisfaction from knowing, if humanity survives, that in twenty, fifty, one hundred years' time, historians will judge harshly those who got us into the various messes currently plaguing the world. Children will learn about those responsible at school, and write essays castigating their failures. People will build careers explaining the political, social and moral failures of those who are currently running things. This may not comfort you, but it comforts me.


  • We may be powerless against the vast political tidal waves currently sweeping the world, and not everyone will survive them. But we have power to be supportive, uplifting and kind in the smallness of our everyday lives. We have the power to donate to or signal-boost a fundraiser for friends in need, to buy a cup of coffee and sandwich for a person sleeping rough, to be polite to a retail worker or call-centre worker or barista, to donate to a food bank, to join a refugee support network, to make art that comforts the powerless, to build, to teach, to vote, to love.


  • It is impossible and overwhelming to try to fight against every injustice and cruelty. It will grind you down and erode your capacity to help and hope. It's far better if you pick just one (or two, or three, or whatever you feel able) issue or cause to support, and throw as much of yourself and your energy into that issue, or those causes. And make sure it's a cause or issue where you can actually help in a meaningful way. By all means boost the causes of others, and, where appropriate, join forces -- we are stronger together. But focusing on one thing doesn't mean you care most about it, or don't care about other causes. Don't get hung up on doing activism in a certain way -- not everyone can march or demonstrate, not everyone can attend meeting with political representatives, not everyone can phone or write letters, not everyone has money to spare to donate to their chosen cause. Don't beat yourself up about this: it doesn't mean you don't care or aren't helping. It means you are using your energy and skills in the most practical, helpful way.


  • Be as pragmatic as you feel comfortable. By this I don't mean accept the status quo, or allow harmful people to be involved in your cause because they achieve results. Instead I mean don't strive for instant perfection, instant results, or instant, monumental change. Learn to think of incremental change not as a compromise, but as a starting point for further changes. (By this I do not mean people should accept scraps and be grateful for them, but rather to think in the long term and focus on survival.)


  • I think things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, but I have to be able to get out of bed in the morning, and these things help me.

    Date: 2017-05-05 11:18 pm (UTC)
    silailo: (cacti)
    From: [personal profile] silailo
    Your second and third points--YES!!

    Sometimes I get so worked up and overwhelmed about the bigger picture that I have to remind myself of the good that can be done at the community level, or even the one-on-one level.

    Though I can't dedicate myself to all causes, and really no one can, I know there are places where I am specifically called and others are gifted and skilled in other places. If I can't get involved in one cause, I can always give them a signal boost.

    Date: 2017-05-06 08:31 am (UTC)
    pax_athena: (the same)
    From: [personal profile] pax_athena
    Oh this. And also (and I am ware that this is mainly only paraphrasing your third and fourth points): be kind to yourself *and* others. We are all hurting so much if everyone in a somewhat different way.

    *hugs*

    Profile

    dolorosa_12: (Default)
    rushes into my heart and my skull

    June 2017

    S M T W T F S
        123
    456 78910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930 

    Most Popular Tags

    Style Credit

    Expand Cut Tags

    No cut tags
    Page generated Jun. 24th, 2017 07:04 am
    Powered by Dreamwidth Studios