It's late and I just wrapped up my work for the day. It's the first late night I've had in a long time, after spending the better part of a decade regularly working stupidly late nights and believing it made me good, and worthy. Of what? Below-market pay? Validation? Respect? Love?
I know who I am.
I am susceptible to grind culture.
I am drawn to work in sometimes unhealthy ways.
I have valorized work as the source of my life's meaning and it has left me wounded and weary and my relationships in disarray.
I have had to work hard to recover from work.
But look, and I know how this may sound, especially after all that I have valorized work as the source of my life’s meaning and it fucked up my life for a bit there, but the work I'm doing right now...feels good. I mean it’s hard. Sometimes it doesn’t feel great. But it feels meaningful. It matters. And it's been helping me get through some real ratfucking shit-awful weeks. Sorry for the cusses but also I’m not.
and by this work I don’t mean my tip-tap-typing away at my little slacks and emails, but the labor of love, the energy and the effort it takes to coordinate and collaborate and communicate kindly and graciously with other people—
other women, mothers, caregivers, organizers, all of us struggling under the strain of a protracted mass death and disabling event as well as multiple human rights crises in a culture that hates women and loves guns—
and to try to build something generative, and generous, and new—
it's expanding my mind and my heart and my imagination around what's possible.
What is possible beyond the feckless ineptitude of the democratic machine? What is possible after Roe? What is possible after the world we always knew was flawed, and fractured, and incredibly dangerous for just about everyone?
It might be everything.
We've never had the world or the party or the social safety net we need. Normal never worked.
What is crumbling now was never built to last.
What if we can build something better?
The work continues. Let's take good care of each other.
In the meantime, here’s this poem you love.
I love it too.
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Also, here. Listen to this.
Hope is not a Given. We Must Cultivate it Together.
Tanuja said everything beautifully. It cracked my heart back open.
i want more.
Hm… actually I’m the same! I like to work and I guess that’s why I’m never bored? ;)
Great post Kristin! Loved the poem, and coincidentally I'd read a contrasting viewpoint on how life is not short. Hope you'll find some value in it 😀