Fighting the good fight can be tiring, it can be grueling and it can sometimes be downright awful. It can be scary, disheartening and exhausting. And sometimes the pay is… oh gosh.
Another thing that can be really crap about the work that is done by human rights defenders is the fact that, much as we are out there saving the world quite often we forget to save ourselves and those around us. There are a lot of times when activists do not take care of themselves, when those social justice warriors are busy waging war against each other.
Frankly there are a lot of times when we are sh**ty to ourselves and each other.
Something that we forget that when we are trying to make the world a safe space we are busy making our intimate spaces ones that cannot hold our pain, do not have time to unpack our problems or hold each other through the tough times once the protest is done. That sometimes we are not nice to each other after being magical to everyone else. Sometimes we forget ourselves after we have remembered everyone else.
Are we taking care of our members after the work is done?
Do we know when to walk away from a fight for our own sake?
Do we take our mental health as seriously as we do our physical health?
Do we know we do not have to kill ourselves for our cause?
Do our personal actions match out politics of love?
Are we caring for those around us who are also trying to care for the world?
Both as individuals and organisations we need to pay more attention to issues such as work based trauma, mental health and all forms of self care outsides taking a personal day and showing online solidarity in the form of emoticons and retweets.
There is a need to more and more, establish systems that develop our advocacy skills through the fortification of our mental and emotional health.
There is a need to meet those within the realm on a human level.
Even, we, as HOLAA could do with a few organisational upgrades when it comes to taking care of the internal whilst trying to tackle the external. So we took a break from speaking sexy safety and partnered with Iranti to host a healing space. In this space we sought to equip those present with tools on how to deal with everyday stress and triggers, give the space to speak about what weighed on them and also simply come together and learn how to do life, because frankly it can get tough out there.
Here are some photos of the time we spent with a group of women and gender nonconforming people in a space speaking healing, ways of managing the pain and doing a little meditation and cleansing to boot.