I’d like to participate in a Women’s March. Truth is, though, that my anxiety and depression make these things basically impossible for me. I can go, but I’d be physically and emotionally and mentally depleted for days. So I haven’t shown up at any protests because it would hurt my ability to do other work.
What I do instead:
1. Share articles.
2. Argue on social media
4. Work with some wonderful people on community activism, in small groups.
5. Write and research
6. Keep living.
I encourage us all to do what we can. Sometimes, that’s going to a protest or hitting the pavement and canvassing for votes for a candidate you believe in. Sometimes, that’s sharing an article that provides important insight on human rights issues. Sometimes, it’s somewhere in between.
I would ask all of you that are involved in work to think about this the next time you post about “online activism” and rank that as ineffective or pointless. Sometimes, this kind of activism is all a person can do. I have friends with Lupus, RA, Crohn’s disease, Fibromyalgia, and severe anxiety and depression. A protest is out of the realm of possibility for them on a bad day, and on a good day could mean that they use all of their resources and it takes away from their ability to work or function in other aspects of their life.
Doing what we can is essential. Some people can only click and share articles. For some, that’s brave. And I don’t believe it’s pointless. In an increasingly digital world, we have to stop with the immediate assumption that discourse can’t happen online. It can, and it does. I witness it daily.
Some days, number 6 on my list feels impossible. So some days that’s all I manage. Some days, sharing an article or arguing on social media is all I can do. Maybe someday, I’ll be able to go to a protest or march.
Just do what you can, and keep on going.