A day in the life of a feminist blogger: “I’m angry every minute–except when I’m outraged”
I’m talking about the chronic, contemporary pain of being an informed person. You wake up, reach for the phone next to your bed, start scrolling through Facebook and — just like that — you are immersed in the eternal stream of rubble, corruption, and death that is the daily news cycle.
The psychic consequences are real. I can tell you that they’re real for us at Feministing, and we know they’re real for our readers. James Baldwin famously wrote that to be Black in America “and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” The same is true of being a feminist. Rage, frustration, heartbreak, despair, disgust, more rage, more heartbreak. It comes with the territory (I’m really selling this whole feminism thing, aren’t I?). Gloria Steinem put it a little more glibly when she said, “The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” It will piss you off, and it will, in weeks like this, leave you feeling heavy with pain and, if you’re anything like me, a deep and frightening doubt that things will ever get better.
I wasn’t aware of the concept of self-care until I became a feminist blogger. This might be because I wasn’t aware of the need for self-care until I became a feminist blogger. But that need is real. It feels especially real this week, and this summer. It wasn’t immediately clear to me that self-care wasn’t self-indulgent, or selfish — aren’t we supposed to give everything we have to a cause we care about? — but I came around. These days, my definition of self-care is borrowed from Jamila Bey, who quotes Audre Lorde in calling it “political warfare.” She says, “It’s about maintaining the machine of me so I that I am in peak physical condition.” Physical, and psychological, and emotional. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. It’s that simple. You can’t respond to the terrible, horrible, no good, clusterfuck-y headlines in the news — and the very real, very intransigent systems they represent — if you’re a miserable, exhausted mess.
This is not to say we can’t be powered by heartbreak and rage and pain — some of my best writing happens when I feel those things — but we can’t be productive if we’re overpowered by them.
Feminism means never having to say you’re mellow.
Posted by Charlotte Allen