Social justice and political action feel like really, really big things. Like so big, I am forced to eat a pint of ice cream and binge watch Downton Abbey, again.
When I scrape the bottom of the cardboard cup and all the wars are over, I am left with that persistent nagging in my heart. The nagging that says, “do something”.
I look around hoping there is someone else this voice is talking to, because, seriously, who am I to do something that big? Who am I to take on such a huge task? Where would I even start? So, I look around for the other, the other person my voice must be talking to. Which sounds absurd, I know, but I was desperate y’all.
I was desperate not to be the one who was being called to show up and do the thing. I was desperate to stay comfortable with my ice cream and dramatic theatrics. I was desperate not the be the ONE.
With all the bossiness and persistence it always has, my heart countered, “if not you, who?”
Right. If not me, then who?
I wasn’t avoiding the work because of laziness or incompetence; I resisted the work because I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t know how to say yes to one thing and no to another. I didn’t know every movement started with one step, one phone call, one post.
I could do that, I could do one thing. And then another, and another. As long as I kept doing the one thing, I could do this, I could make shit happen.
So can you.
If overwhelm is what stops you from taking action, do these three things to move past it:
- Write about it. Write a note to a friend, write on some paper, post about what makes you feel overwhelmed on Facebook (how brave), write a text to your lover.
- Get present. If you breathe into the feeling of overwhelm it loses its power. If you take a moment to stop trying to run away from it, feel your feet planted firmly on the ground, and take a big ass deep breath then you can move past all.the.things.
- Take action. One of the best ways to kick overwhelm to the curb is to take action. Just do something, anything, because action leads to clarification. The more you take action the more confident you become.
Being an activist is a process that can sometimes lead you right back into that lovely tub of chocolate chip ice cream. If you are paralyzed with overwhelm don’t despair, I teach you all you need to know in my Fanning the Flames program. Get all of the details and sign up here!
It’s Friday, fuck shit up y’all.
Dr. Melissa Bird