In the process of survival and struggle we have to learn to love ourselves as much as we love the causes we fight for

Pratibha Parmar

The week before Easter I came to a screeching halt, my body just totally rebelled, said in no uncertain terms “stop, no more, I need a rest” I’d been pushing myself way too hard and not building in down time or time to nurture myself, time to weave myself together. I work in two youth projects, one of which is extremely hard work and has very challenging kids, one which is relatively new so is taking a lot of planning, I’m training to be a brownie leader, I’m heavily involved in my church community and I am involved in another community building project which is an off shoot of the church but is purposefully secular so all members of the local community feel able to get involved with it, and I have several other possible community projects that I’d like to launch percolating round my brain. i love what I do, I get a hell of a kick out of it and there is often nothing I would rather be doing.

But I can’t do everything, or I can’t do everything all the time, until last week I was out every night of the week at work or meetings, which gives me no evenings for seeing or talking to friends, which makes me feel I’m at full tilt all the time. I wasn’t switching my brain off properly, giving myself time to do things that I knew would recharge me, that had nothing to do with community issues or activism.

We can only do what we can and I suspect that many of us who care about community weaving, who care about activism, about making the world better for others and ourselves actually have less energy to give than most. I suspect the reason we care the way we do is because we have been wounded by the shape the world is, we have been caught in the cross fire just because of who we are. I live with complex post traumatic stress disorder, depression and I’m non neurotypical so I’m a definite spoon counter and it’s really important to me that I do use a lot of those spoons in making the world a better place but I have to remember to keep enough back for me, so I can nurture myself, can look after myself.

Community weaving is important because people matter and those of us involved in community weaving are not, or shouldn’t be outside of the communities we are weaving, we should be part of them and so we matter too.

As a woman, as an adoptee, I’ve received messages all my life that my purpose is to service other people, to put other peoples needs and feelings before my own and balancing my own needs with both these lifelong messages and my passion for community is not always easy, I often feel guilty taking time out for myself and even when i do have down time I often waste it because I don’t feel I deserve to look after myself. I’m working on those self worth issues but in the mean time just from a pragmatic view point looking after and nurturing myself makes sense because if I don’t refresh and recharge myself I can’t do my community weaving work.