Activist Burnout

I have had all these topics I wanted to write about, specifically dealing with ableism/disability, and I just can’t right now.  Whenever I start researching for my topic, I get really angry at everything I read – and then I let that anger fester in my head so much that I find myself not dealing with people that well. My overall regard for the human race basically goes down the toilet – and I don’t like feeling that way.

As a coping mechanism, sometimes I let myself not think about the ableism (or try to) – even though it’s permeates every part of my life.  I still know it’s there in the back of my mind, and I always recognize it when I see/hear it, but I brush it off.  I have to.  If I let it get to me so much, if I let the reality sink in every day, I would not be able to function the way I do.

When I don’t think about ableism, or when I sort of play into it (read the bad activist moments I mention in this post: click), I feel guilty.  And you know what? I shouldn’t.  As the person on the oppressed end of things, I get a pass.  As much as the able-bodied/neurotypical want me to, it is not my job to educate people (even though I do through my blog because I choose to).  I have to live my life the way that makes me happy and the way that allows me to survive.  Even if that means putting my activism on the back burner – there is a time for everything, and sometimes, it is not the right time and that’s okay.

So, what do I do when I get activist burnout?  I look at blogs like Cute Overload and read books from my ever-growing collection.  I also look at my silly TV shows online, such as Ugly Betty, Flash Forward, and Survivor.  But even when I do these things, I just can’t get away from it.  For example, on one of the Cute Overload posts (of ALL places!), the author made a “joke” about a kid who rides the short bus and wears a helmet.  Some people spoke up about it, but the majority did the usual “But it’s just a JOKE – lighten up!” thing.  Way to be a total douche while also invalidating our feelings.  On those TV shows, there’s always *something* to remind me that bigotry is alive and well – such as the stereotypes on Ugly Betty or the constant sexism/racism/ableism displayed by certain Survivor cast members.

Like I mentioned before, I can only try to not think about it.  And see – it wasn’t my intention to write about disability, but this is where my thoughts led me – I ended up writing about it anyway.  Next time, I’m going to write about something silly, like the cuteness of squirrels.  We’ll see how that goes.