In this article I’m going to share some more personal things than I usually do, to talk a bit about my absence and what to do when activism just feels hopeless.
I haven’t been great at writing my blog recently. I have published one post since April, and that’s it. And that was back in August.
Why have I been so quiet? Where did I go?
The answer is complicated and to do with multiple circumstances. My mental health has been pretty rocky the last year, and then this summer it got worse. This summer had multiple family health scares, bad news, personal life changes, and a big move from Scotland to England. So amid all that I just didn’t have a lot of energy to be working on my blog. But that isn’t all. I have started about five blog posts since April and not posted any of them. Why? Because I feel like a fraud.
I’ve been struggling with imposter syndrome. I don’t feel like I’m a good activist. This is partly because I find it hard to engage with climate activism these days. I’ve experienced a lot of burnout since Covid-19 began, and I’m not able to be as active as I used to be. Pre-Covid I went to protests, I started a society, I engaged with the activist community and educated myself on the climate crisis. But then Covid-19 happened and a lot of personal difficulties that has made me struggle to care anymore.
I think I may be in some kind of climate-crisis-denial. It’s hard to focus on something as huge as the climate crisis when I am struggling just to get through everyday life and work through things on a more personal level. So I think, to protect itself, my brain just isn’t really able to comprehend the big picture issues anymore. This week is COP26 and I haven’t been able to engage with anything around it. Whenever something comes up on my social media about it, nine times out of ten I keep scrolling past. Because I just can’t face it right now.
I have also been feeling… hopeless. Like I can’t really make a difference. There are a lot of things in this world that make me sad. Capitalism, colonialism, structural racism. The meat industry. The corrupt government of Brazil burning down the Amazon Rainforest and killing indigenous people. The UK’s Tory government privatising the NHS, opening up a new oil field, greenwashing, and how people still vote for them. I’ve tried to start articles on these topics but every time it feels too big and overwhelming and I don’t know quite how to express my fear so I just shut down. They stay untouched in my drafts as my fears linger on.
Why am I sharing all these deeply personal feelings with you? I guess there’s a few reasons. For one thing, I want to come back. I want to write on the blog again. But I’m maybe also asking you to be patient with me if I don’t write pieces that tackle the big picture. I want to be able to write those things one day, but at the moment I think I am going to ease myself into it with some lighter articles, maybe even some more joyous or festive things. I’m also going to try to stop feeling like I have to be perfect. Some of my blog posts may be a little messy, like this one, but I’m learning that that’s okay. I believe in imperfect activism. All we can do is our best.
I also wanted to share this so that if you also feel this way then you know you are not alone. It can be really hard to care about something so intangible, that feels so out of your control, when you have so much going on in your personal life. Sometimes the only thing you can do is survive. And that’s okay. I guess my advice to you though if you want to keep being an activist is to do what I’m trying to do… reflect on your feelings, continue your activism in little ways that aren’t overwhelming, and maybe follow people on social media, or listen to podcast, that inspire you and give you hope instead of making you feel hopeless. For example, I’ve been listening to The Bad Activist Podcast lately and their episodes on love and activism, or artists being radical, make me feel inspired. It gets the cogs working in my head again, and even if it’s only for the duration of the episode, I’m hoping these little bursts will build up and that one day I can really care again. For now, I’ll keep trying. Because that’s all that we can do.
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