… which means that it’s actually Lent for Catholics (which I am, kind of – more on that later).
I didn’t officially give up anything for Lent, but I did technically resign from my Sierra Student Coalition committee the day before Ash Wednesday, so I suppose that (and, to an extent, organizing/activism at large) could count as my “thing.”
My reasons for doing this stem from that which I still hesitate to really get into: US PowerShift back in October. I feel like I’ve talked so much shit about this conference for someone who’s never fully explained my perspective/side of things – maybe that will be my next blog post. For now, some sense of what I’m talking about can be gathered here, here and here.
The truth is: I still feel so angry about the whole thing. I feel personally hurt/offended that people (supposedly the top of the top, as they are paid organizers and lead coordinators of a “flagship” conference, as a friend in the UK put it) within “our movement” could make such simple mistakes – yet they are the Achilles heel of our work. We have to practice what we preach; we can’t say we want to tear down systems of oppression, then replicate them in our organizations.
(Or maybe that’s the problem itself: the mainstream climate “movement” never said it cared about social/environmental justice issues – we just thought that because it prioritized “diversity,” or frontline/EJ activists at the conference this year.)
But I digress. What I was getting at with the Easter/Lent thing is that this is a time of forgiveness.
I’m supposed to be forgiving people. I’m supposed to be letting go of all this anger and resentment towards others, towards my friends, family – and I’m also supposed to be forgiving myself.
I’m not sure I can express how hard that actually is for me; I have years and years of emotional baggage to deal with and get rid of. But I’ve also seen, especially in these last few months, how important it is for me to do so.
Let me just say upfront: I’m not Catholic in the way most people think. I’m fiercely pro-choice and I will physically harm you if you say anything anti-LGBTQ, etc. in front of me. I’m pretty sure I don’t really even believe in a higher being, nor in an afterlife.
That being said, I cry nearly every week in church – for a few different reasons, but for now I’ll say it’s because it is the one space where I actually feel like I can start forgiving… start a healing process of sorts.
I’ve also been reading a lot of self-care resources lately, so those combined with this whole ‘season of forgiveness’ thing will hopefully result in a more empowered, more actually-happy me.
In any case, I’ve really enjoyed my break from organizing so far: reading a ton of books, getting a head-start on spring cleaning and trying to educate myself on emergency preparedness/survival/homesteading stuff… We had a mini-earthquake a couple weeks ago that only further reinforced my need to reprioritize my life and tend to what’s important.