You’re Doing Enough Feminism: On Why The Busiest Activist Doesn’t Win
Self-care is something that is talked about a lot in feminist spaces and rightly so; activism can cause you to burn out easily and we’re often rewarded for doing for others while sacrificing our own needs. Our culture also values productivity highly and self-worth is often tied directly to productive value. This principle often manages to slither its way into social justice communities, even though we probably don’t mean for it too. Hence, self-sacrifice is usually seen as the ultimate act of solidarity to the movement.
Here’s the thing: you are doing enough. You are enough, already. There is so much pressure to constantly add to our resumes and CVs, cram as much into our schedule as humanly possible, and forgo things like food and sleep in order to do our best work. But this is all a lie- you are already doing enough! All of us are.
Another thing that’s not often discussed is the fact that there is no line of measurement when it comes to productivity. Some of us can handle more work than others. Some of us enjoy doing more work than others. Even though our work systems are constructed to be equal for everyone, not everyone can handle or desires to do the same amount of work. That’s why some people can hold down two jobs while also having an active social life and others of us are barely making it by working part-time. Everyone is different.
We often look at the busiest person as the winner…of what I don’t know, but the winner nonetheless. But what is the fucking prize? Being busy just for the sake of being able to be busy will just leave you exhausted, overwhelmed, and burnt out- I’ve been there! I have a natural affinity for productivity and fall higher on the scale of how much I can handle, but I’ve still managed to overdo it and feel like I need to push myself to a capacity that was greater than I could manage. It’s not fun and then you have to do the even more not fun thing of letting others down because you took on too great of a commitment.
Be honest with yourself about how much work you can handle and learn to say no. If someone asks you to do something but it doesn’t really fit into your life, don’t be afraid to speak up. Put yourself first, girl!
This all brings me back to self-care; we talk about it a lot, but seem to fall into hypocrisy when it comes to actually practicing it. Join me in the process of figuring out when enough is enough and putting your own happiness above others requests.