Misery may love company, but activism adores it! And the thing is, the more I practice everyday acts of kindness and political action, the more optimistic I feel. In February, I (mostly) succeeded in my resolution to do good every day, and I came away with this as my main takeaway: We can do even more good, develop relationships that build community and get out of our Facebook bubble when taking action with others.
Doing more good by taking action with others
In February, I learned that making phone calls every day from my desk and becoming a monthly donor to causes I believe in is all well and good, but those kinds of political action are a bit isolating. So I ended up trying to do more good by taking action with others.
One night, my girls and I drove into Portland to write thank-you postcards to our members of Congress. I had seen the event on Facebook and committed to going, despite my anxieties about trying to do something—anything—in public with both girls on my own. I didn’t end up writing a lot of postcards, busy as I was running after children sprinting in opposite directions, but it felt good to connect with people who similarly wanted to do something meaningful.
So much of resisting seems to happen online, at least for me. I’m a member of a handful of action groups on Facebook, but the support and encouragement from meeting likeminded people in person goes a long way.
I found that after taking action with others—for example, at my senator’s town hall meeting and making signs with a friend and our kids—I felt more hopeful, more determined and more energized.
In short: When I worked with people to create a better world, we got more done.
Coordinating busy lives
I have been taking action with others more often than I used to these days, but it’d be a stretch to say most days. I’ve struggled with coordinating my family’s busy schedules (not to mention nap times and two kids who don’t eat in public) and all the events I want to go to.
Sometimes I manage to go on my own. It feels good to feed that part of myself and focus on doing good.
Sometimes, though, I end up going out to have a drink with friends or sweat out a particularly hard workout. I feel a bit guilty those times—mommy guilt for needing time away from my family, privilege for not using my spare time to fight for what I believe in.
I try to remind myself of another quote I love, by black feminist and civil rights leader Audre Lorde,
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Self-care fills me up so I have energy to care for my family and help create a just, safe, sustainable world.
Trying to do good with kids
I’m still having a hard time finding ways of doing good, whether that’s volunteering or political activism, with my kids. Most of the time I talk to my girls about injustice, it’s within our home—a bubble.
I look for volunteer activities we can do out in the community, but most of the time we give back by, say, making cards for shut-ins or other things we can do from home.
Part of doing good with others is building a community that supports one another, and I want that community to include families. I want my girls to grow up with other kids who ask to give valentines to people living on the street. I want my girls to see giving back as something that their friends do, too.
If anyone else has found good opportunities to volunteer with kids, especially little ones under 4, I’m all ears!
Doing good with others will continue to be a goal as I continue my resolution to make change every day. I’m still searching for my people in real life. If you want to meet up to take action, and if you don’t mind goldfish crumbs and
occasional semi-constant whining, hit me up!