"To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage." – James Baldwin
I didn't realize until I started openly expressing my blackness aloud, and beginning my journey of activism how mentally and physically draining it would be. I mean I knew it would be draining, but this is a different type of trauma. You have to defend black people to white people. You have to defend yourself to trolls and 'instagrammers' with cats as their profile pics. And worse of all you have to defend black people to black people. Though you don't necessarily HAVE to defend yourself and your fellow black people, you do, because I mean that's what being an activist consists of.
It's calling any and everyone out on their shit and holding them accountable for being ignorant. Its educating, liberating and healing out loud. It's being the one person that's okay with saying what everyone else is thinking, or not thinking, or should be thinking. It's becoming tired, on tired, on tired, on tired but never giving up the fight. It's dragging the halls with toxic white feminists and neo-nazi's. It's exposing Jim Crow's. It's being and feeling alone in a world that constantly makes you feel like everything you're fighting for isn't worth it. It's the realization that every day you wake up in America, your life and the life of your people is at risk. And not the type of risk that is death being inevitable, its the known risk that their are systems put in place to eliminate. It's about feeling deep pain and sorrow intentionally because you know you must empathize to express. We must take care of ourselves. We must remain in a state of high vibrations and seek out consistent love, support and spaces that allow us to just be still and be. I'm not talking about the self care we see in the hashtag threads on instagram and twitter. I'm talking about real deal self-care. I'm talking seeking out a therapist even though it's looked down upon in our community.
The type of self-care that'll piss a lot of people off but it doesn't matter because in order to be Woke, Happy, at peace and practice your Activism in the healthiest manner possible, you have to do what you have to do and that means putting you first.
So here's a list of a few things I've recently implemented to protect my peace by any means but also letting these racists and non-woke people know at the same time:
1. WHAT'S A BLOCK BUTTON TO A TROLL?
Disrespectful! No seriously, the one thing a troll despises is being ignored. Everyone is not going to get it. So instead of constantly responding to the close minded trolls who'd rather react to everything you post with rebuttals that have nothing to do with nothing, just get rid of them. They don't even have the mental capacity to digest what you put out so of course their going to make it about something that's not even relevant instead of responding to innerstand. Yes they may return, with another animal in their profile pic or a Pinterest graphic, but who cares. The block list is not limited and is there at your disposal.
Don't y'all get tired of the people that have to make this massive announcement on all of their social media channels informing the world that their going on a "hiatus"? Yeah, me too. It's like, take your time off, we could care less. The point of unplugging is to rejuvenate, refresh and recharge. Trust me, the coons and neo-nazi's aren't going anywhere. Their going to be right their ready for you the second you post anything that challenges their privilege.
You deserve the time off. It's not your full-time job. Even if it is, in the traditional sense you deserve off days. The only way to pour from a full cup is to refill and refuel. Plus you need time to gather more facts and data. You need time to unfold and just be without the guards or the guns blazing. Everyone deserves that safe space, and unfortunately for us social media isn't that place therefore we have to do ourself that favor and unplug. Protect your peace by any means.
3. I SAID WHAT I SAID and be okay with that
Being an activist isn't easy. You have to be content with speaking up and out about adversities. Everyone isn't going to feel what you put out, and thats okay because ultimately you aren't in the fight alone and you won't be able to reach everyone. You have to be willing to stand by what you said and never revert. The only thing you have to stand on is your word so why take it back and why not say what you feel and feel what you say.
This is one thing that makes activists so admirable compared to everyone else. They say what every one else is thinking, not thinking or should be thinking. They might not agree out loud but somebody gon feel it and it's not up to you to decipher who does. Protect your peace.
4. SMUDGE IT OFF
Although everyone that considers themselves woke don't share the same religious beliefs or believe in ancient spiritual rituals, smudging can still be an act of healing and repelling negative energy. One price we pay by being on the front lines of activism and injustice is the abundance of exposure to trauma and the effect it can have on us. Energy is contagious, spiritual or not and a lot of activists are naturally empaths. You are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression or PTSD when you expose yourself to more trauma. Regardless of how strong you 'think' you are, replaying videos, rereading excerpts, rethinking theories, etc. can be detrimental to your energy and that must be protected at all costs.
Smudging is the act of ridding your space and yourself from negative energy and establishing a positive atmosphere. The incense that is created by burning sage can be used to make things more sacred to you. Your peace must be protected by all costs even if that means engaging in some 'ancient spiritual ritual'.
5. DISAPPEAR, COME BACK AND KILL SHT
Look! You matter too. I know you aspire to save the world, but if you don't save yourself from the consistent negativity and social trauma, you may be at risk too. Your activism demands balance at an alltime high, so if you must take some type to regroup, don't feel guilty for doing just that. Speak with your therapist or your fellow activist and let it all out. You must value yourself just as much as you value the community you're fighting for because if not, you can't expect to embody your utmost potential. It's draining, you know it is. Don't be in denial about that.
Part of your activism should be practicing self-care routinely and displaying that. Self-care is an act of self-love and if you don't bring light to that, you run the risk of deteriorating your mental health and social presence. Which I suppose is most important to you right? Never forget, its a marathon not a sprint and most importantly you can't change the world overnight. Take some time off, come up with a masterplan, implement it, disappear and do it all over again.
& remember, PROTECT YOUR PEACE BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
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