Let’s get this out of the way, right now sucks.
For a lot of us, Tuesday felt like a slap in the face or having a bucket of ice-cold water poured over us. For many folks, it was finding that the nightmare they fought against with all their might was coming true.
There has been plenty of writing already about how people need to come together and fight to make the world better. But the truth is, a lot of folks, especially people of colour, especially, especially women of colour, have been fighting incredibly hard, and they need a break.
Burnout, especially in times of strife and trauma, is very real and dangerous to you. Not clearing space to recover, whatever that recovery looks like to you, can be detrimental to your physical and mental health.
Self-care is important all the time, but when things are at their worst, it is essential. That care looks different to everyone. For some people it’s texting with beloved friends, watching some movies and sleeping more. For others, it’s taking long walks and painting. For still others, it’s cuddling and/or sex. Everyone cares for themselves differently and everything is valid (as long as you aren’t guilting anyone into doing what you want to do).
Take some time for you. Grief needs to be processed, and everyone does it differently and on a unique timetable. People will try to come along and tell you how you should be reacting or how you should be feeling or how you should just get back work. These folks are often well meaning. They can be family and friends who don’t know what to do. They are scared and giving out unwanted advice is their reaction. They are still wrong. They are still hurting you.
If you find yourself at a loss and aren’t sure what to do, that’s totally valid and makes a lot of sense. A lot of people I’ve talked to in the last few days feel lost and blank. It’s hard to even know how to take care of yourself when you feel that way.
If you’re looking for some ideas, check out the link below for my short, free and swear-ey guide to self-care in awful times. It has a few concrete ideas of things that you can do. (I self-care by creating e-books).
You are important. You are seen and your work makes the world a better place. Even when the world tries to render you invisible, you are vital and important. I’m especially talking to you women of colour. You also deserve rest. You are also entitled to comfort and joy even when things are at their worst.
Yes, we still have to fight. There is a big fight ahead. A fight that will need all of us.* But without taking a break for ourselves, that’s not possible. You can’t get through the disaster if you don’t put on your oxygen mask first.
Put on that mask. Take care of you.
*White people, this means we need to actively stand up to bigotry in all forms, even when it’s awkward. We need to amplify others’ voices and just listen without getting defensive when POC are talking.