I know it’s obvious, but it means a lot. It means I spend a lot of energy on the causes I believe are just. It means I read a lot about them as well. It means I am really invested in them, not only in terms of time and energy, but also emotional commitment. So it means it’s not easy on me.
I’ve been like that since forever. In my eyes, justice is more important than anything. I will ditch friendships & family in the name of justice. Nobody is untouchable, nobody has the right to be unfair without consequences, and if me telling them about the unfairness of their attitude, opinions or actions is not enough for them to reconsider these actions, it means I will remove these people from my life. It’s never easy to remove someone you love from your life, and I know a lot of people would rather just ignore how violent or problematic someone can be just so they don’t have to confront them. I understand, because it’s hard being alone. And admitting someone you love is violent feels like betrayal. But if justice is important to you, it is absolutely necessary. Because nobody is more important than anybody else, the security of the people prejudice against is more important than your relationship with someone oppressive.
So I often feel alone. Not only because of that, but also because I can’t really have deep and meaningfull relationships with people that are not aware or deconstructed on the topic of these injustice. So many oppressive behaviours are normalized in the culture that adressing them often makes people who don’t see them or doesn’t realise they are problematic think you are overreacting. Being a victim of some of these oppressions and being aware of the others defenitely builds a wall around me. I don’t see anything the same way. I can still enjoy culture, like movies & tv series, but I will never enjoy them naively anymore. I will always be critical. Because almost everything is problematic to a certain extent.
My mom always told me to »choose my battles » and to stop spending energy on that. But how would that be fair? How could I decide what is a better battle to be fought? How could I decide which lives deserve to be helped/saved first? Are women less important than poor people? Are poor people less important than genocides? Are people of color less important than white women? Are animals less important than humans? Of course not! None of these are true. So how could someone who truly care about justice chose one? It would be discriminatory in itself. All battles can and have to be fought at once. It’s our moral duty as moral beings.
Being an activist is hard, but not as hard as living a life of oppression because of prejudices that are never adressed as a result of people who choose to decide your life is not a battle worth being fought for, but don’t experience said prejudices. Of course, I am not perfect either. I still have many things to learn about. I can still have actions that are oppressive. I’m trying, and I will always keep trying to improve, because that’s the kind of thing that once you are aware of, you can never ignore. I can’t close my eyes on cat-calls anymore, since I know it is not just some asshole, but an entire culture that normalize and even valorize this type of problematic behaviour. Cat-calls are micro-agressions, but I’ve always delt with them like they were a part of life and that I couldn’t do anything about it. Now I know I can do something about it, so I take action. Of course it’s just one specific example, but that’s what activism is; it’s a kind of empowerment. I feel like I am taking control over my life, or helping people in other cases of oppression take control over theirs.
So please be patient. Yes, sometimes I am harsh, or sometimes I am distant. It’s because I am always calculating. I am always measuring if it’s worth it to intervene. Most of the time I will choose to, and if I already explained the same thing to other people thirty times that day, I may be less tolerant. Other times, for the sake of my self-preservation, because I don’t want to burst in tears, I choose to remain silent. I decided it’s better for me to swallow everything and to endure witnessing or living injustice when not being able to emotionally deal with the justifications of ten people simultaneously irritated with me.
So to some extent I do choose my battles. I choose the context and when I decide to speak up, but never will I have the right to decide what is more worthy of fighting for.
Please, don’t be »the devil’s advocate ». I’ve heard it all. I’ve seen the arguments a million times and I’ve answered them a million different ways. By being a »devil’s advocate » just for the sake of provoking a debate, you just show me how distant from reality you are. All of the positions a »devil’s advocate » argue in favour of are part of my life. Rape culture is part of my life. Victim blaming is part of my life. Women objectification is part of my life. By being the »devil’s advocate », you just emotionally drain me for no reason. Because some debates are not worth having. Some opinions are not even worth discussing. Opinions are »do you prefer tea or coffee », not »do people of colour deserve rights ». That’s morality. Ethics. And on this topic, the victims are always right, because the oppressors will always be biased.
I am an activist. It’s there in every part of my life. It’s who I am. Removing it from me would be like becoming someone else.