Changing the world, revolution, struggle, organisation: they are among the hardest things we will ever do or try. Not just because we do this stuff on top of work and other commitments, not just because sometimes we are attacked by police, arrested, or bullied by rightwing people, but because of the emotional stamina it takes to fight for the weaker side for decades. And because of how messy and complicated it all is, with all the internal fights, wrong decisions, misunderstandings, and ego trips that happen along the way. Because we give of ourselves, and usually aren’t given in return, or perhaps just that satisfaction of a meaningful life that is involved in history.
Meanwhile, we do battle with ourselves, questioning if we are doing enough, if we are doing the right things, if its all worth it, and having days where we have doubts in humanity itself and if it’s worth protecting. There are the times we feel guilty for spending hours relaxing and doing nothing useful at all, and there are the times when we know we need to relax in order to recharge and be functional beings, but don’t know how to.
So our state of mind itself becomes political. Achieving happiness, perspective, and love become part of our rebellion. Being gentle and understanding and letting our fellow fighters have a day of being down and feeling hopeless, is important. Appreciation, and getting that we all do our bit in different ways and that we all cope with the genocidal global inequality with different mechanisms (humor, writing, drinking, Internet venting) is vital. And for me, and for many of us, writing and books can help. Novels about Black struggle in the US 100 years ago, about Armenian housewives fighting invisibility … can give us that bigger perspective, and kindle our imagination, which then kindles our spirit. Writing too, can help us order the chaos: internal or external, help us stay connected rather than isolated, and keep our mind strong.