This election has wreaked havoc on me. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I am simply not the same as I was six months ago. I feel heavier, weaker, more anxious, and less hopeful about and connected to the world around me.
I know that I am not the only one.
I spent the first few weeks after November 8th oscillating wildly between poles. At the one end, I felt energized and ready to organize, at the other I felt despondent and hopeless. I dealt with this polar experience by drinking heavily, eating comfort food, binge watching Harry Potter, and withdrawing into isolation.
I also organized. I also taught. I also tried to connect. But what I found, after weeks of abusing my body and mind, was that I felt less able to do the things that need to be done. The revolution seemed unlikely when daily life was such a fucking chore.
I questioned everything. I questioned whether revolution was even possible. I questioned living in America. I questioned our so-called democracy. I especially questioned my role in all of this. The world is on fire, I thought, and I am teaching a fucking yoga class? Who cares?
And then I realized: I am not doing anyone any favors by feeling weak, scared and powerless. When I doubt my self worth and the value of my contributions to the world through my vocation, no one wins. Not me, not my students, not the revolution.
It is no new thing to state that the personal is political. But it feels true. And the political is also personal. Right now, I feel the political as a force that moves through my body, my mind, and my soul. And it feels threatening, a virus that is capable of turning me against myself.
I am not going to tell you that self-care is a revolutionary act. This has been said better by others, and I believe them. What I want to say is that without self-care, revolutionary acts cease to be possible. Drunk hermits don’t change the world, except perhaps in poetry.
In order to resist, we must be strong enough to do so. We must be strong enough to take care of ourselves and each other. We must be strong enough to carry heavy burdens and light enough to know when to rest. We must be the change, with our bodies, our minds, and our hearts.
It is increasingly obvious that the State will not take care of us. Many of us may soon be without access to basic healthcare. This will inordinately affect those most likely to resist the current regime: women, POC, undocumented citizens, LQTBQ folks, and the poor.
We cannot allow our resistance to be quelled.
The first battleground is our bodies. That the first act of the incoming administration is to remove our access to healthcare proves this point. They shot the first arrow.
When forces of oppression choose our bodies as the arena, how will we respond? We could do what is expected of us: wither into weakness, addiction, and, inevitably, submission.
Or we could get strong. Continue reading