Jan. 29th, 2017

magistrate: The arc of the Earth in dark space. (Default)
Two links I've found important, recently:

Alexandra Erin ([twitter.com profile] alexandraerin) on the uses and means of cultivating calmness.

Mirah Curzer (@mirahcurzer) on How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind.

One of the points Curzer brings up is:
You can’t show up to every march and donate to every cause. You can’t write treatises on every issue and argue with every Trump supporter on your Facebook page. If you want to be effective on anything, pick an issue or two that matter most to you and fight for them. Let the others go.

Important caveat: I’m not saying we collectively should pick a few issues and let everything else fall by the wayside. Please don’t confuse me with those saying we have to abandon “identity politics” if we want to make progress on economic inequality (or vice versa). This is advice to individuals, not the party or the movement as a whole.


This bit echoes something a number of friends and I were discussing at dinner, the other day: how we all have different ways in which we can, or will, resist. Some people are extremely skilled at showing up to protests, organizing on the ground, being arrested if necessary. Some are unwilling to risk arrest, but are great at educating about protest first aid, or crowd safety, etc. Some don't have experiences at all with first aid or protests, but are in training to become therapists, or can offer emotional support, or know how to set people back on their feet after dealing with a traumatic experience or a bout of depression. Some people have no clinical experience, but can get stories out, can weave narratives, can engage people with the lives and experiences of others. And we need all these people, and more.

Curzer says:
Don’t forget to play to your strengths. There’s no need to force yourself to do a kind of work that you find unpleasant or boring. If you’re a writer, write articles shedding light on important issues, convincing the other side or rallying your allies to action. If you’re an artist, make art with a conscience. Teachers can bring social justice into your curriculum. Lawyers can volunteer at free legal clinics, write amicus briefs, do pro bono work. Like to argue? Be the one who calls out the sexist comment at a dinner party when everyone else doesn’t know how to react. Love to bake? Bring cookies to activist meetings and homeless shelters. No matter what your passion is, there’s a way to use it for good[...]


Some of the work I'm doing now – now that my intense years-long struggle to get my life back to some semblance of stability is, in fact, resolving into some semblance of stability – is to define the issues I feel most passionate about (in a wide, wide field of issues which arouse passion), and to chart how my skills are going to be deployed in the service of the big Work.

I'm also, now that I have stable income and a few extra dollars in my budget, making decisions about what nonprofits I want to support with ongoing donations. (Ongoing donations do more for nonprofits than single influxes of money: ongoing donations provide a stable financial base on which plans can be made, employees can be hired, etc. But for a long time, my budget wasn't stable enough to consider ongoing donations of any size, so I didn't. One-off donations are better than nothing, but now that I have confidence in my own ongoing income, I want to support other causes as well.) In the same vein, there are too many deserving nonprofits for me to support, all by myself: I'm going to narrow the field down to a few which align with where I want my Work to be.

Frustratingly, I can't actually set up recurring donations for a week or so, because my bank – Simple – is doing complicated things behind the scenes which is resulting in everyone getting issued new cards. I like this bank, and they're doing everything they can to make the transition easy and painless, and I can still use my old card while I'm waiting for the new one, but there's no real point in going to the trouble now to set up several recurring donations which will have to be completely re-set-up in a week's time.

But the state of things will still be dire, a week from now. And I suppose the time between now and then will afford me an opportunity to study and solidify my focus, and keep me from impulsively selecting the first four nonprofits that come to mind.

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magistrate

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