If you’re feeling overwhelmed and starting to shut down, this is for you

If you said “yes” to that subject line, I mostly just want to send you to watch this short vid by Ijeoma Oluo on Instagram:



But just in case you’re not able to use sound or watch a vid right now, here’s something else.

Another week, and the world is still on fire. I’m sitting mostly between heartbreak, cautious hope and urgency. Heartbreak over what I’m learning (more and more of) about the treatment of black, brown and indigenous people, now and for all the decades past I’m discovering more about as I read, watch and listen. Cautious hope over the ways people in my home and heart countries of Canada, the UK and the US seem to be standing up and taking action (I think M*tt R*mney is a truly heinous person, but when he is marching for BLM as a photo-op, it very much suggests a sea-change in where the masses are putting their energy.)

And urgency to take (anti-racist) action, to DO SOMETHING. MORE THINGS. ALL THE THINGS.

It’s this last one I want to talk about today. Because when it’s full of energy, it’s exactly what we need right now. But when it tips into overwhelm and shuts us down, it’s not much good to anyone.

First off, for everyone: a rejuvenating tip I highly recommend is listening to my new favourite (5-min) podcast:

Unconventional Self-Care Diary with Dionne Nicole

The episodes are 5 mins or less and every single one is a tonic. Sometimes, I’ll find a way to take action on what Dionne suggests immediately. But even when I’m not able to, I can feel my heart-rate slow down just by listening and thinking about the action I could take.

Listen on her website here , on Apple Podcasts here, on Spotify here or on Google Podcasts her.

Beyond this:

Once again, if you’re one of the Yes Yes Family Members who is black, brown or indigenous and the last couple of weeks have been either very heavy (and/or very annoying with multiple white people you barely know texting to see if you’re ok) then I’m so sorry, (both that you have to carry this iSht, and if I am literally right now being one of those people I just mentioned.)

I am not part of that community and, like a lot of people I know, while I’ve had a few years of thinking of myself as somewhat of an activist and someone who’s been trying to do some sort of anti-racism work, this last few weeks has really brought to light how much more I could and should be doing.

Sometimes, I feel good about getting on with it.

And sometimes, i find myself on Facebook or instagram, clicking on this link, that link, the next one, here’s a Facebook Live I need to watch, here’s an article I must save to read, here’s a booklist I have to go through, here’s a list of actions I’ve got to take, here’s a… here’s a… here’s a….

And before I know it, ten, twenty, forty minutes have past. I’ve read nothing more than a few lines. I have taken NO action. I am wasting time and finding myself flooded.

Let me be crystal clear: I KNOW that the discomfort I feel is an absolute FRACTION of the discomfort felt by those in the communities oppressed (which I am not). I am NOT looking for sympathy here.

And yet, being in that position helps no one. So, what to do if and when you find yourself in that position?

Here’s my suggestion:

Pick one thing. And keep gently reminding yourself to come back to it.

Examples:

Right now, I’m reading Ijeoma Oluo’s So, You Want To Talk About Race.

Every time I have 20 tabs open on my computer and I find myself thinking,
Ermaguerdthereissomuchineedtobedoingreadingwatchingcallingwritingandiamnotwhatiswrongwithmewhenwillihowwillibutimust—

I’m trying to pause and gently say,

Marshy, go back to the book.


Is reading the book enough in and of itself? No. But for now, it’s SOMETHING, which is more than a flooded nothing.

Just pick one thing, and keep coming back to it. Then, go on to the next thing.

If you’re more of a podcast person, listen to this episode of Shunta Grant’s (always brilliant) Business, Joy and Life podcast


If you’re more of a documentary person, watch Ava DuVernay’s 13th


If you’re more of a fiction movie person, watch Ava DuVernay’s Selma


For whatever kind of person you are:

There is an AMAZING google doc (by Bryanna Wallace & Autumn Gupta) that lays out (with links!) you what you can do if you have

10 mins a day
25 mins a day
45 mins a day

Find it here: bit.ly/junejustice

Whichever one you pick, just make your way through that, then onto something else, then onto something else. This is by no means a definitive starting list — of course, find your own.

And whenever you get overwhelmed or flooded or stuck:

Just keep coming back to one thing.

Onward,

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha

PS this week I saw that the cute jumpsuit I really want was ON SALE, and it was a sale where you enter a competition to get credit at my favourite clothes store. As I looked at my finances to see if I could justify the jumpsuit money, I realized that, if I can justify the jumpsuit money, I can justify instead spending it on an organization that’s helping people in one of the communities I claim to be doing “the work” around helping. So instead…

…I gave the money to The Bodyful Healing Project’s Collective Care Fund. Am mentioning that story in case it inspires you to do similar.

xxyyM

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