I can't help but find myself at times, having random flashbacks to the drama and pain that arose from the organizational split earlier this year. This past weekend had been particularly difficult because it was coupled on with family and financial stresses. I need to move on, and actually, I am moving on, slowly but surely, steadily and firmly, kindly and assertively. To give myself credit, I have learned to be disciplined with my emotional ups and downs and have been able to let go, and trust my environment and the people I surround myself with, to take me out of some really destructive holes I bury myself in. I have a lot of people around me to thank. I hope to be able to reciprocate this. I find myself, 6 months after the drama, feeling a sense of excitement and direction about political work, and a persistence to personal theoretical development in a way that I had not felt before. I lost an organization I built for 5 years, and some important friendships, but my testament to myself is that I am still politically active, and still believe in the liberatory potential of revolutionary politics. I have not let organization and its failings, become the totality of revolutionary politics. I won't let myself be a forgotten piece of memory for those who have done wrong to me, nor someone who can only be patronizingly lamented or easily tossed to the back of the mind. I have seen other women revolutionaries become inactive because of organizational trauma and seen how easily the trespasses against them have been forgotten, or buried in organizational archives and memories, a tale to be told but not a relationship to be rebuilt, a past mistake to be accountable for, or an organizational failure to be consciously learned from. My continual political activity is first and foremost, for myself, but also a statement that I will not, and cannot, be forgotten or dismissed as easily.
A line in an email from a Seattle comrade, who recently read the anti-police brutality piece that I collaborated in writing, really resonated with me. I quote him:
I recently learned of the emergence of a new grouping, here in Seattle, that appears to have emerged (or been helped in their emergence) from the struggle against the police murder of John Williams. This, together with the emergence of other new groups locally, is an indication that the world is changing. Something is happening. Yes, there will be twists, turns, betrayals and heartbreak ahead. There always is. But there will also be victory.
Yeah, as usual with me, a super-emo/dramatic line grabs my attention and gets me all queasy inside :). It is somewhat relieving to contextualize the individualized dramas, stresses and turmoil that I, and many others face, within the broader context of living and doing revolutionary politics. It comes with the terrain and my little heartbreak in this one year of my life, is a part of this broader narrative of emotional experiences that come with trying to be a better person, with many other people who are similarly *hopefully* trying to be better people themselves, while also trying to win concrete, measurable, qualitative victories. Countless other people have experienced similar things, and as the struggle heats up, if it does, then we will inevitably have even more intense moments to work through. We need to build emotional capacity, mental clarity and emotional discipline to weather such storms.
I wondered today at myself, a different person than I was a year ago. I feel a little slower, a little less quick to judge, a little less quick to respond to my immediate emotional responses, and a little more hesitant, a little more inward and a little more self-conscious. What is the difference between being a humble person, and being a person who has lost confidence? I feel a mix of both.
Sidenote: There is discussion on Kasama about psychology and mental illness. It's really great that there's a forum for this conversation. We really really need to draw organizational lessons from the past failures so revolutionary politics will actually be truly liberating for us and those around us.