Mental Health

Getting Rid of Pedestals

I think a lot about the ways in which my self image consciously and subconsciously rule my life. The idealizations people hold of me, although frustrating and limiting, sometimes fill me like a guilty pleasure; a dirty habit that continues to manifest and take hold of me.

And I know the ways my own perception and idealization of myself and my life hurt me. Those who surround me are held to impossible standards, including myself. Agitation and conflict arise as I try to micromanage behavior to fit a mold I can’t even squeeze into myself. In turn, life starts to look out of control and wild, spiking my anxiety and creating more problems and more issues over things I can’t and shouldn’t control.

I know I do these things. I know that much of this behavior is a defense mechanism, sprung from trauma and low self esteem. What I haven’t done is fully own up to it. I haven’t been harsh with myself, clinging to a false sense of independence and self that gets muddled by the genuine work done in rebuilding my self esteem and interactions with others. I’ve done very real work within myself, but now¬†that I’m dealing with core, deep set issues, I’m scared.

I’m scared to own up to my weakness, I’m scared to allow for change when I don’t feel ready. I’m scared to sit down with a therapist and trust a stranger with my emotions. I’m scared to allow someone in, not only because of trust, but because I don’t know how I’m going to move forward with shattered idealizations.

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Social Justice & Organizing Work

Not Your Martyr, Not Your Idealization

I once was told that being an organizer is a hopeful act. “Trying to change the world we live in just seems so impossible” he told me, “so when you dedicate your life to it you seem like a person who believes in the future.” This idea of organizing being hopeful, although I understand why someone could perceive this work as such, just seems to me like such a privileged statement. “Hopeful,” coming out of the mouth of a cynical asshole, is riddled with so much condescending implications, as if I’m simply a naive college student who’s trying to save everyone.

But I’m not. I don’t organize to add a few bullet points to my resume, I organize to survive. I organize because living under this system is unbearable. I organize to protect my family, friends, and myself. I organize because the weight of my peoples’ suppression is something I refuse to comply to. Most people haven’t sat in on any kind of organizing meeting before, nor studied theory in a collective setting. Organizing is not glamorous, it’s painstaking and slow. It requires a deep understanding of self, and your political beliefs, while still understanding that many folks at the table are unorganized and haven’t picked up Marx in their entire lives. It takes a level of resilience and endurance that is driven by the love for the masses.

On a difference face of the same coin, organizers themselves shouldn’t be idealized. I found this hurdle in my own dating life, which is put on a very long pause as I work through my own shit, where cis men in particular put me on some kind of pedestal for doing this work. I’m a multifaceted human being. I’m strong in many ways, from my militancy to my vulnerability. I fall apart, I cry. I like to drink and party, but I also like to stay cooped up in the library and work on my writing. I’m not anyone’s martyr, I’m myself. I am bigger than my organizing and my identities.

 

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