It’s been a hot summer so far. I hate the heat. While I far prefer summer to winter, as soon as humidity gets involved I experience a deep and unquenchable rage. I expect it to be a light and breezy 80 degrees with no humidity at all times, and find myself unreasonably disappointed to discover, each and every morning, that I voluntarily moved myself to a fetid, inland swamp. Every time someone lauds the foresight of our nation’s forefathers, I get out a map and point to the bizarre and unforgivable location of Washington, DC, a place that manages to be miserable both summer and winter, with a brief reprieve of about a week a piece in spring and fall. You wonder why people get to damn excited about Cherry Blossom Season? It’s because it’s the only nice weather we get all effing year. And we can’t even go outside or go anywhere because of the tourists.
You see? It’s hot. I’m upset.
But that’s not the only reason it feels hotter than usual this summer. I haven’t written about what’s going on recently, because every time I sit down to collect my thoughts, a new trauma emerges. Race riots, police brutality, a fascist as the legitimate head of a major politcal party, violence in France, a coup d’etat in Turkey- could everyone please calm the fuck down for a hot minute? But the answer is of course, no. They can’t wait. It’s my privilege as someone watching this shit unfold from a comfortable distance, to ask of others to calm down. It’s my discomfort that asks, because I value my own comfort above the systematic discomfort of others. But I know, in my gut, that waiting for calm, waiting for the right time to talk about it, waiting, waiting, waiting will get us no where.
Not to be bougie, but my yoga teacher said something that resonated with me this morning, and I think applies here (stick with me, it’ll get less basic, I promise). We were in the middle of Warrior 2, and I should note this is an awesome yoga class specifically for people with larger bodies. Full of modifications, explanations, and support. It makes yoga feel doable and accessible for people who don’t have “yoga bodies” (which is a fallacy, because like a bikini body, if you do yoga and have a body, you have a yoga body… but I digress). Since the class has a lot of newbies in it, there’s a lot of repositioning, and adjusting, and wobbling. And my teacher says: “embrace the wobble.”
I’ve been working a lot in my personal life and my relationship to my body and health on embracing the wobble, but still it’s good to hear it explained and exclaimed so succinctly. But I haven’t been embracing the wobble in my social justice practice. And let’s be real, my social justice practice has been a bit of a joke lately. I used to be an activist, but I got a real job, and I work in the government, and I got busy, and, and, and…. and all those people I intended to help still need fucking help. My busy-ness is not an excuse. I shouldn’t wait for the *right* time to engage, the perfect free block on my schedule to encounter my own inherent racism and face my culpability in domestic and international systems of oppression. It doesn’t fit neatly between yoga and getting my nails done and my business trip to San Francisco. I can’t hide behind my government job and expect that people will understand as I sit on the sidelines of real change. I say I’m watching from a distance, but that’s a lazy choice and I know better than to make it. Oppression that is felt by others ultimately is also felt by me, either as the oppressor, or as one who watched it and allowed it to happen.
There is no safe distance. There is no safe space. We are in the thick of it, and we are wobbling. That’s ok. Better to wobble than to walk away.