There is much in the world to rile about. We’re growing more afraid of the police and the people in power who have sworn to protect us. We’ve found ourselves in a world where people argue whether our reality more closely resembles George Orwell’s 1984, or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Spoiler alert: they both inspired the Hunger Games.
I myself need self-care often in large doses, particularly in bed with my current amour, Monsieur Doritos. But eight months is too long for a mourning period. Take a break, play with your cats (or watch cats play with each other!), DM your crush, and keep going.
I’m here to tell you that something needs to be done. Can be done.
The good news is that you are not alone. You have never been alone in the fight against injustice, inequality, and marginalization. There is a spectrum of things that can be done. Here are some basics.
Balance your time online.
Research. Reach out. Read up. Listen. Ask meaningful questions on your newsfeed. Don’t just rant. Whenever I feel like I’m feeding my brain too much junk food, I head to Brain Pickings, or read up at the New York Review of Books. Electric Typewriter also has a great collection of essays from the world’s best, while Open Culture has free resources for cultural and educational media. Other great options are listening to podcasts, watching vlogs, or watching news online.
Follow the bright personalities.
Time to face the facts — our young brains are just ripening up. I follow people like writer and activist Rebecca Solnit, writer and agitator Miguel Syjuco, MTV host Chescaleigh Ramsay, outspoken Fil-Am activist “Love Life of an Asian Guy”, and founder and president of Youth Without Borders, Yassmin Abdel Magied. I also like following Katrina Stuart Santiago, Inday Espina-Varona, and Ninotchka Rosa for the colorful commentary and variety. I don’t have to agree all the time, but it’s good to hear a variety of voices.
When I read, I stop being angry and I start to listen, and hopefully, understand and learn. One of my latest reads is Subversive Lives, a memoir by the Quimpo siblings who lived through Martial Law. F. Sionil Jose’s Why We Are Poor got me started on thinking politically when I was in my teens. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex gives you an overview of the history of the patriarchy. Graphic novels are rich sources of historical and personal stories as well, from Maus, Persepolis, to Palestine. The Rizal Library is offering a free, e-book version of Conjugal Dictatorship, a breakthrough book from a Marcos insider. Get curious, get crackin’. Google is your friend.
Join a community. Or start one.
Communities strengthen our beliefs and keep us in check. If political parties are not your thing, there are a lot of advocacy organizations like PAWS, Save Philippine Seas, Save the Children, Teach for the Philippines, and religious organizations like Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and more. And I mean more.
If you haven’t quite found your home, or are a go-getting self-starter, start your own group. Gather a number of friends and discuss. Stronger together is our motto.
girlf local officials.
This is a tactic American activists take advantage of in the US. We might not be a federal state, but heck, this is free, and it’s worth a try, isn’t it? I’m planning to complain about the clogged sewers in one of the major roads in my city, just to do a road test. But ideally, we should be ringing up our lawmakers to demand Town Hall meetings and live Q&A sessions. This a democracy, damn it, and we should be able to reach out to our officials (or their staffers, at least) about what matters to us and why. Sustainable garbage disposal, the boosting of creative economies, the protection and safeguarding of women and children, more public spaces — we have the right to demand and be involved in the decisions about these things.
Bonus: Run for office.
Scotland’s Mhairi Black is the youngest elected politician in Britain at 21. It can be done. All over the world, a handful of young people rise to the challenge of leadership and nation-building. Otherwise, it’s just going to be the perpetuation of political dynasties.
The only way we’ll get out of this hellhole is if the best, brightest, and most compassionate run the country with their people, for their people, by their people. Change is a slow and gargantuan process, but if we have people who are kind and excellent in government, then I’d say that’s a ground-up revolution. A 2018 deadline is too soon for us, but maybe 2020? 2022? Let us know.
Anger burns bright; it’s fuel to the fire. But the only way to keep going is to fall in love. Freddie Mercury once asked, “Why can’t we give ourselves one more chance? Why can’t we give love that one more chance?” to which David Bowie added, “Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves.” This is our last dance. This is ourselves under pressure. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.