Ten years ago, I was a 25 year old who hadn’t finished a college degree. It had been 5 years since I “took a break” from college. Afer 5 years of adventure and experiencing the world, I decided it was time to go back to school. I didn’t go back to school knowing what I wanted to do. I went back to school because I knew that it was time to get enough education to get a job with health insurance benefits. Since my teens, it has always been something I worried about.
This is an issue currently impacting more people and bringing about more concern. Sometimes I have to get out of my own world and honestly, something has to happen to get my attention. Am I proud of that? NO. Unfortunately, my mental health limits my ability to figure out my place in change making. I am easily overwhelmed by moments and events which are intense, chaotic, emotionally powerful and impactful to large groups of people. This is because I am a highly sensitive person . Right now, I have no idea what to do about that. I feel paralyzed when I think about what I should be doing. I feel internal and external pressure to act.
I am completely comfortable speaking up for myself. This is why I am so passionate about self-advocacy. I am not sure how to be involved in advocacy and activism when it concerns a group. While I do not stand for the mistreatment or marginalization of others, I can’t figure out what to do to make it better. Almost every day, the question of who will speak if we don’t resonates in my mind. While this sounds a little ridiculous to even me, there is something extremely helpless about joining a movement. I speak for myself because I can handle the personal consequences. Seeing consequences effect the masses, I am immobilized by the weight this puts on my heart. I am extremely aware right now of what it might be like for others to read this. I am afraid I will be misunderstood for being selfish, lazy, and maybe even a part of the problem.
Because this is currently my reality, I have decided what I can do is turn toward gratitude. Thank you so much to the people who are working every day to be heard, make changes, speak up for the masses and continue to fight during this heart-breaking, turbulent time. Thank you for calling our representatives, for marching for vital issues, and for persisting. I join you when I can. I am able to contact my representatives. I am able to have individual conversations about empowerment and supporting others. I take time to sit quietly to resolve the pain in my heart and to meditate about a more peaceful world.
I don’t by any means, think this is enough. I struggle with how this makes me feel about myself. Can I feel “good enough” by staying within the bounds of what I perceive as my limitations? I have seen the impact of what happens when I am overcome with grief, anxiety, and hopelessness. This certainly is not helpful on a micro or macro level. I must resolve this judgement of myself to be able to contribute in a way which makes the most sense for me. When I am not judging, I can take that energy to put toward what I believe I am able to do. I will share my story. I will give positive encouragement to others. I will teach others the steps for self-advocacy. I will choose how to act and react. I can step away and not let my sensitivity consume me.
While I am still uncomfortable about admitting my struggles, I am eternally grateful to the change-makers, the voices of the resistance, and the strong humans who are able to push back against oppression. May we all find our place to come together to protect, love, and accept one another.