What has stood out most to me in the past few months, is the level of mental and emotional space my workplace experiences take up. Apart from physically altering my life -- the machinification of my body, the degrading of activities that should express love and care into senseless, objectifying, rushed, numbed acts, what is also tormenting for me, is how even after I clock out, my bosses faces dont disappear from my mind, our interactions replay, the emotions I feel swell up, and anger disgust fear layer up over each other.
At my best, I channel these emotions into organizing -- both in my mind and in conversation -- to speak not of the emotions as they are static feelings sitting, dull, boring, tiring -- but rather dynamic feelings that can move us and push us along, toward another place; emotions that can be transformed and not be tired refrains. I have raved and gushed about this many times before on this blog, of my love for my coworkers, and the cooperation, solidarity that we experience together everyday, and how I never felt in such a deep way that someone's got my back. These forms of solidarity contrast deeply with the negative emotions of anger and fear and stabilize a vision, for the direction our organizing needs to be headed: where these socialist expressions can be normalized, accountable and generalized. This outburst of creativity, affirming of our loving capacities, of envisioning how struggle can transform us into people who bring joy, not pain to each other and others around us -- this is living. this is loving living.
At my worst, I realize that this churning and rechurning of hate, anger, frustration at my workplace -- and add to the debates within Congress, police brutality, queer violence, the wars, etc -- means that everyday I only survive, not live, that I am functioning in reaction against the determinancy of the worst aspects of my material reality. Not dreaming, not organizing toward something fresh, beautiful, not loving...
And this is how my bosses hope to do, to wear and tear me down. Their daily repressions are aimed at exactly that: MAKING MY LIFE MISERABLE. That seems more satisfactory than immediate firing -- it assures that everyone on the job becomes demoralized and questioning of our resistance.
Capitalism, Patriarchy, Racism wants us to merely survive. They dont want us to live.
And ironically, we use our life capacities and time to engage in activities that make sure we only survive, not live. And these institutions make sure too that the rest of our free waking life is also channeled toward survival.
And then we internalize everything. The pain, stress, anger we feel from work, lacking a channel for transformation into new things, then settle to become a part of us.
There is so much history in this. There is so much history to how our emotions, as women of color, has been internalized, like a bucket that needs to be dumped out but yet we are forced to swallow its discontents, swallowing till we have a belly full of life and its discharges, which then become a part of us. Then they tell us we are angry, resentful and aggressive.
Some of my coworkers go through this back and forth where on the job, we share moments and enthusiasm to fight to preserve the solidarity we practice, yet when they go home, check the bills, see the kids, they do a "reality check" and come back saying we can't afford to do it. The job is more important.
Suck it up.
Bear with it.
Swallow life's pain, life's debris
I hate this word. I want to tear it apart.
Separate the fibers that form the tenacity of this term, especially for women.
Our daily survival, is already a daily sacrifice of our lives.