In the year 2013, in humid, beautiful Cape Town, a persona was born. Feisty-Black-Feminst Céline entered the realm of Twitter, and I have to admit, she was pretty badass
With each passing year she led me to smarter, sassier and feistier Twitter/Instagram accounts with infinite jewels of wisdom to impart. However, around 2015 I had to ask her for a break for the first time. And then a second time in 2016, around the Trump election. And then many more times. You see where this is going?
As fun as it was to fight the good fight, it started to affect my mental health. I cared too much about these issues for them to be separate, intellectual conversations to engage in, and I had to admit that fighting rape culture, racism and other-isms on a daily basis was not sustainable for me- at least not in that way.
But I still care. I can’t shut it off, and I don’t want to. So, if giving energy to ignorant and/or problematic people on social media isn’t an option- what have I decided to do?
1. Picking my battles
This was probably the first and greatest lesson I learned. Not every fight is worth it. Sometimes I can drop a comment here or there and not care about the response, but other times I’m dealing with a troll who’s hellbent on destroying feminism, and there’s no use putting energy into that argument. I know what I’m passionate about, I know what I’m informed about- I can choose to respond only to those things if I feel up for it. But I am not obliged to do so every time.
2. Pouring all of my energy into my art
This is something that may be more applicable to creatives of any kind- but knowing I can write something, compose something or choreograph something that can communicate my feelings and struggles is comforting. For me, it allows me to focus on the solution. I want more representation? Write that into a script. I want to make people feel what I feel? Compose a piece of music that communicates that. This is a much more constructive way for me to handle those feelings, because I’m allowing myself to heal in the process of making some sort of difference.
This could be anyone, by the way, in any field. Opening a business, starting a non-profit, even writing a business plan or making a vision board can move you forward in the direction of the solution if you feel overwhelmed fighting the problem.
3. Taking comfort in the fact that there are people fighting the good fight
There is strength in numbers. Everywhere in the world, various people and
organizations are helping out in different ways. There are companies that are reducing food waste, there are companies teaching young girls how to code, there are organizations fighting against street harassment. Knowing that there are people on the side of good is really comforting for me. Without that, I feel as if the weight of the world rests on my shoulders. Even though I don’t “live” on Twitter the way I did before, when I do log on it’s great to see important conversations going on. Sometimes I’ll just share them, sometimes I’ll add to them, but it’s lovely to see that things aren’t changing because ONE person is doing all the work, but because many people are!
There are also people who are not “minorities” fighting on our behalf. I’m dating a snow-white dude, and he is less emotionally engaged in a lot of the issues and hence has more energy to fight them. He is a lot more willing to debate race and gender with ignorant folk than I am, and people like him are a huge help in activism. (Also, my celebrity activist crush Matt McGorry from How To Get Away With Murder- check out his Instagram for some hope in the world).
4. Screenshot some bomb-ass memes/tweets
Now THIS is the funnest part! (Yes that is a word). We need to be able to make light of the issues of the world here and there. And thanks to Memes (you have shaped me, Memes) we can do just that. Here are some of my faves.
My top two go to:
Stay healthy, stay glowing, stay happy 💞