Discover more from Sharon's Anti-Racism Newsletter
My Tank Is Emptying Faster
Reflecting on the cumulative exhaustion of activism
There’s something I’ve noticed the last few years as I’ve become a lived experience activist - thank you Lucy Webster for that useful phrase. By the time I get to the end of the year my tank is empty.
Now, this used to happen to me before, as a freelancer, especially as I worked to finish a few extra writing commissions before the holidays.
But this is different, because racism makes you soul-weary. Just the existence of it is exhausting, even without experiencing it, which takes the exhaustion to new depths.
It seems to me that my personal gas tank is emptying faster than it used to. When I was doing the DEI job at Omnis, there was a point in the year where I ran out of steam. Lea, who was COO, told me to drop everything and rest, so I did. That happened at the beginning of December 2021.
In 2022, I ran out of steam some time in November - in fact the burnout started earlier, which is why The Introvert Sisters podcast didn’t wrap up on a nice tidy number. This year, it’s October, so it’s getting earlier every year. That’s something I’m paying attention to.
The fatigue of being a lived experience activist is cumulative.
The harm of racism is cumulative.
The toll of of advocating for others who face isms while facing some yourself is cumulative.
And the backdrop to all that is that we’re still in a system where we have bills to pay - and activism doesn’t yet pay all of those, for me at least.
There’s a human cost when lived experiencers share their knowledge and wisdom. I’m happy to see more of us recognising that and taking the rest we need. I’ve seen some abandon social media and content production for weeks and months, just to recharge.
While I’m not doing that just yet, I’m being mindful of where I put my energy, because this march toward equality is a marathon, and I want to be well enough to do my part to move us towards the finish line.
Sharon's Anti-Racism Newsletter is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Your support is getting me closer to my goal of making equality work my full-time gig. For those who aren’t able to offer that support right now, you can share this newsletter with those who can, or help get my book added to relevant book lists so more people buy it.
And don’t just do this for me; do this for all the other Global Majority creators you’re learning from - help get their voices heard in the rooms where they don’t have access. That’s one way we start to make change - and it’s a way to help us all refill our tanks.
Thanks for reading,
Enjoyed this article? Feel free to click the 🔄 or ❤️ button to help others discover it. Thank you!
© Sharon Hurley Hall, 2023. All Rights Reserved.
Cover photo courtesy of Canva.