It’s time to stop being afraid of criticism. Accepting it and growing and learning will only make things better.
last night i was thinking about what my tender heart would look like if i could see it. i am sad to say that the heart i saw in my head looked far too weathered and weary for my age.
i think it is really important that we continue working really hard at learning how to take care of each other and conduct ourselves with courage and integrity our relationships. when i say ‘relationships’ i mean all of the different kids of relationships we have with others - not just with our dates. that saying “be careful with each other so we can be dangerous together” is really important to me right now. we live in a really scary world, and when things feel really dark i have to fight hard to see through the ugliness and destruction. we need to begin to be vulnerable and honest, we need to keep having real conversations and share our hearts even when it feels terrifying. we need to keep creating spaces to take care of each other so we can continue to be bad ass and tough, and do the activism we do. this world kicks the shit out of our hearts every day. when we turn around and do that to each other we are fucking each other over just as our respective states would like us to. one of the most revolutionary things we can do is cultivate new ways to connect, to be gentle and tender with one another in a world that is trying constantly to divide and conquer us. we can’t be tough without also being tender.
in love and resistance,
A response from Lauren Gazzola, one of the SHAC 7:
“Today has been a hard day, because I think that the Supreme Court’s denial of our cert. petition was wrong. Not just legally wrong, but morally wrong. In that sense, I’ve had many hard days over the past several years. Right now though, I’d like to tell you about one of the easiest.
A few weeks ago I gave a talk about the SHAC 7 case to a law school class. Before I got up to speak, the professor showed undercover footage from inside of HLS. It was the first time I’d seen it since getting out of prison and I broke down. When it ended, the Executive Director of the National Antivivisection Society got up to introduce me. “It’s hard to know where to start,” she began.
I was next up and still slightly shaky from having seen the footage. I had planned to begin by thanking the professor for inviting me,
thanking NAVS for sponsoring the event, and thanking the students for attending. Instead I told the class, “I know exactly where to start.
I spent three-and-a-half years of my life trying to put HLS out of business and three-and-a-half years in prison for it. Every single day was worth it and I’d do it again.” Today, I’d simply like to repeat this: I’d do it again. It was all worth it.”
Even if you do not agree with the SHAC campaign, or animal rights campaigns in general, the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear this case has chilling implications for all activists of all social justice movements.
These days, I’m more likely to feel hopeless than sad, more likely to feel as if nothing is ever enough, as if nothing really makes a difference, as if our whole human civilization is unraveling and there is nothing I or anyone can do about it. It’s a different feeling from sadness, and perhaps it needs a different, more complex set of ideas for coping with it. Here’s what I came up with to that end:
Give up hope. That’s right, get off the hope/despair roller coaster and realize once and for all: It’s hopeless! You should have known when a U.S. presidential candidate won an election on a platform of mere hope that it was time to give it up. Embrace hopelessness! It’s OK! It makes sense. But we can, should, and must still be intentional, responsible, and joyful.
Explore your gifts and passions with someone you love. Get together with someone you love and tell each other what you really care about, what you have real passion for, what you think really needs to be done in the world, what you think you could actually contribute to usefully and would really enjoy doing. Then tell each other what you think each other’s gifts to the world are—the things that other person is uniquely good at doing. I bet you’ll feel things starting to shift, in ways that are practical and intentional, instead of just desperately, uselessly hopeful.
Be good to yourself. We’re fucked, and you know it, but still you’re doing your part, taking responsibility, doing important work to mitigate or help adapt to the hopeless future we all face, right? So ease off. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself a break. Pamper yourself. Celebrate the fact that you’re smart enough, informed enough, strong enough, sensitive enough to feel utterly hopeless.Read more: http://www.utne.com/Spirituality/Ten-Things-Feeling-Hopeless-Dave-Pollard.aspx#ixzz1DWQw06LW
This article is extremely thought-provoking and revelatory. It’s actually plainly just right fucking awesome.
But I do have a bit of a problem with one of the lines later on: “You are the way you are for a reason. It’s absurd to hope that some stupid book is going to change it.”
I don’t think the author intends for this to mean “Don’t bother trying to change your negative behaviours”, but it does sound quite a lot like that.
No, a book certainly will not change you. You can change you, yes — but a book can not.
If you choose to read anything that might be dubbed “self-help”, or material otherwise considered empowering (much of the content on this blog, for example), then you also get to choose if and how it will affect you and change in your life.
Change and transformation and growth — none of these comes from a book. They come from people who are empowered to take action. You can be advised on how to do this using information from books, or on blogs, or in articles.
Hope removes agency. The action-taking must be your own, and you must take it for it to be effective.