A Journey Forward / A New Year

Photo Credit: Ashanti Johnson

Thanks to the invention of the Gregorian (Civil) Calendar, we’re afforded another chance to celebrate a festival of activities.

With respect to the winter solstice this electronic message was written; to uplift, reaffirm, and place value on local efforts made in 2016 to promote equity + procedural justice for all persons. Use this precious time to heal, and if time permits consider using this season to be present. You’re a gift, not only to your admirers, but to future generations!

Federal holidays come and they go, fortunately for freedom fighters from the Bay Area to the Sea Islands we are promised at least seven days off per calendar year. Instead of reflecting on discord / disappointments, let’s embrace each other, and honor each other’s contributions. If you’re happy, rejoice!, if you’re concerned, shout!, if you’re in your groove, still, make time to atone.

As you continue to journey forward, remember to express gratitude, even if that simply means taking a selfie in front of your favorite plant, or near a painting at your favorite art gallery. Safety comes in numbers, as you leverage your autonomy, lest not forget to remain in solidarity with folx entrenched in systems of oppression. Reimagine your relationship with community — are you in community? Or, are you in a silo?

If you’re in reflection, wrestling with anxiety or worry, understand that you’re free to experience a range of emotions. Psychoanalysis is defined as, “a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental disorders by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.” Surface repressed fears and conflicts. Address trans-generational trauma, while in the kitchen this weekend. Without understanding continued efforts made to abolish antiquated ideologies, millions of women, children, and elderly folk are left most vulnerable.

It’s a luxury to be able to travel unencumbered from one place to another. Though it may be a privilege, to journey one must be willing to travel smart. Be mindful of the environments that you inhabit and/or occupy. Avoid being in spaces* that cause you to easily fatigue, especially if the space doesn’t provide you an opportunity to be replenished.

Permitted a seat at the table? in a home away from home? Assert yourself, particularly in any situation when a person attempts to discriminate based on discretion or perception. ‘Tis the season to protect each other from imperialism, capitalism, fascism, patriarchy, misogyny, racism, sexism, ableism, classism, islamophobia, + invisible forms of violence.

Let’s not carry toxic habits into 2017. Instead, let’s disinvest in oppressive, for- + non-profit industrial complexes, and detach from passé social rhetoric + abusive interpersonal practices.

“Final words: don’t be annoyed when you have to wait; rejoice in extra time to practice being present.” – Jan Chozen Bays

Explanatory Footnote: *It’s crucial that this extends beyond spaces and includes avoiding people that cause similar symptoms. Holiday gatherings can be a difficult time for victims of past abuses, as it often means being in close proximity with abusers (former and often current). Generally, it’s assumed that victims of abuse have no choice but to be around these people who are toxic (in conduct), but it’s important to note that people are under no obligation to put themselves in the presence of individuals who may cause distress, discomfort, setbacks in recovery, and so on. Contributed by Courtney Swan.