How To Stay #Woke, When You Are Tired

“I feel tried.”-Evelyn, From The Internets

How apropos that on this here Tuesday, January 31st in the year of our Lord, or Vishnu, or Allah 2017, or whatever spiritual mans and ’em that keeps your soul centered. that I would stumble upon my favorite and one of the most underrated Youtuber’s new video.

Evelyn, From The Internets asked a question that has been on my mind more than my tax refund…Do I Have To Be An Internet Social Justice Warrior?

Unless you are one of those rare Pokemon who are blessed enough to lack alla da social media accounts, then I know you have seen what Orange Voldemort is up to, and if you have not, go read your Facebook feed immediately, and be appalled like the majority of ‘Murica.

Try as hard as I might, I can’t seem to tune it all out. I’ve deleted the apps, deactivated, and decompressed but my blood pressure is still up and my tolerance for bigoted bogusness masquerading as political hoodoo is getting lower.

I is tired, and you probably are too. I consider myself a writer and somewhat a member of the interwebz, so from time to time I offer commentary on the happenings in life and society. But these days, or rather in the past week, it has felt like I have a personal responsibility to combat every intolerant troll, misguided supporter, and privileged Suzie that I see practicing anything less than intersectionality.

I don’t want to be a internet social justice warrior, verbally sparring with every keyboard troll.

There’s another thing we’re forgetting, while the country that my textbooks always told me was the land of the free, crumbles around us, I am still expected to live my life, and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so.

I went on an interview yesterday, at a place that shall remain unnamed, and I forgot to wear my customer service face, because after sitting for an hour and a half while I watched two other white interviewees throw their hat in the corporate ring, I realized that I didn’t want to be there.

I didn’t want to be there in my respectable pencil skirt, and bare face. I wanted to wear color and print, and black lipstick. I wanted to be myself.

But being a black girl, with an opinion was not listed in the job description.

So instead I sat patiently, waiting to go into an office and be interviewed by two white higherups who when I raised an eyebrow at a question reminded me that, “this is how interviews go.”

My degree didn’t matter, and neither did my work history.

It was all about how I can pull my face into a Cheshire grin, and convince my interviewers that it was indeed my dream to be there.

But I kept thinking about the dynamics of the situation and beating back my social justice worries with a stick. I could not bring myself to care about this corporate interrogation, despite my blossoming joblessness.

I want to write, I want to protest, I want to tell people that they need to do better, I want to do better. But it seems that’s not what employers want to hear mixed in with my salary requirements.

In the midst of all of this we have to remember the importance of self-care, and no not the bubble bath taking, facial getting, Whole Foods version of it, but the kind that demands that we survive. That we get out of bed in the morning, that we do the job, that we keep food in our bellies, that we do all we can until we can do better, because now it seems that more than ever the political and shady powers that be, want us to be quiet, to smile and keep our heads down.

And it can wear thin on both your edges and your spirit, to be this tired, to be this disenchanted.

But we can start by shifting our own perspectives, by distancing but not disengaging. By loving yourself more, loving your friends, saying no to what does not bring your soul peace, by not scolding those who can and should know better.

Don’t keep your head down, don’t smile if you don’t feel like it, and don’t forget that taking care of yourself and taking up the cause must often happen in tandem.

Staying alive and healthy matters as much as staying woke.

-Tiff

 

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Why I Volunteered At A Women’s March, As A Black Woman

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“On Saturday (Jan.21), as throngs of women gathered to shout, listen and raise ironic signs in the name of “solidarity,” I felt little desire to join them — and by “them” I mean the marchers of the white variety.”

Those are the words written in an article on The Grio, written by a black women named Iyana Robertson, which expressed the sentiment, that the march was yet another extension of white feminism at its finest, and that it will change little for the women of marginalized groups. Robertson’s opinion is not unique to her as on the day of the march and in the hours that followed I came across quite a few posts on social media where black women admitted to sitting this one out, because when have white women ever radically defended our right to exist?

I wasn’t really planning on writing this post at first, when I signed up to be a volunteer at the march that took place in Philadelphia, I didn’t give it a second thought. I am a woman, I want fully autonomy over my body, and both the PATRIARCHY and Trump’s wacky toupee upset my spirit, so the decision to give my time to a cause for women was a no- brainer.

Two days later, and I still don’t regret volunteering and waving my sign in the air, like I just didn’t care. But let’s talk about the white elephant in the room shall we? While I don’t agree entirely with the idea that Black women should not have participated because white women do not show us the same level of support, there are key things to takeaway from this march.

White feminism is very real, and it always has been and will be ,and if you need an example of, it’s a white Twitter user who tweeted that we need to #stayonmessage instead of focusing on things like the fact that 53% of white women voted Trump into office.

It goes without saying that fighting racism and systemic oppression has never been as “trendy,” as pro-life vs. pro-choice or LGBTQ rights. But the point that often gets missed, is that we never said that our case was more important, we only said that it matters just as much, and yet goes unmentioned in the other fights for equality.

So for that, I understand why some Black women chose to sit this one out, it’s because while over a million women may have march all around the world, you will never see many of those same white women with signs and pink hats at a Black Lives Matters rally screaming about how I deserve to not receive ten cents less than my white female peers or how my little brother deserves to walk the streets and not fear police.

But here’s the thing, institutions are not in the favor of the marginalized, because they have never been and while progress has been made, we continue to have to plead for our reality to be validated.

Activism does not and should not exist in a monolith, you can not be a member of the privileged and choose to stand for one group and not the other, or else your perception of intersectionality is deeply misguided.

I volunteered for a march in my city that was organized by a white woman and her white husband, because I know that the march was not for me and because I know that while I cannot completely turn away from many of these systems, I can work within them.

And for me on that day, showing up and saying that I have a right to be here, the same way that I have a right over my body and my choices, felt right.

I could have sat at home and frowned at the fact that white women were now flooding the streets because their rights were threatened, when Black people have always had their rights threatened, but what would that have achieved?

The march may never have a direct impact on my life, and perhaps it was all just noise.

But as a member of the marginalized I have to make noise, I am already expected to keep my head down and go along with what is handed to me, and the world would prefer that all women remain silent.

So I thought it was time to make a little noise.