When the stay at home orders went into place, I sprung into action to do ALL the things that needed to be done. I built a home office. I worked with my team around-the-clock to move our classes online and to form SheHive LIVE. I created new schedules and bought things we needed to be at home. I was busy, busy, busy.
But, pretty soon, there was nothing left to do. There was nothing more to divert my attention from the fear of a global pandemic - no other way to try and control it. My energy began to wane and I found myself scared, overly-exhausted and empty.
From the conversations I've had with my circle, I know I wasn't alone. And it makes sense. The pattern is part of our biology - and our psychology.
Emergency > Regression > Recovery
When we mere mortals are faced with a crisis, we tend to fall into a pattern: Emergency > Regression > Recovery. In the beginning, when the crisis becomes clear, our energy rises and we are spurred to take action. Eventually, however, we get tired and we lose our sense of purpose. We move into regression - a less mature "model" of ourselves - where we often cope through less mature behaviors. We start fighting about the small stuff and we forget to do basic things like eat or drink - or we eat and drink too much.
Regression can be dangerous - and uncomfortable. Most of us - and I'm solidly in this camp - don't want to sit in the discomfort with nothing to divert our attention for too long. So, it's not uncommon for us to fabricate a new "crisis" just to re-energize and feel excited again.
Where Our Energy Is Now
Hear me loud and clear, I am not saying that the protests that are arising over the murder of George Floyd and so many other black and brown people is a fabricated crisis. But I would posit we probably would not have seen such momentum if so many of us weren't desperately looking for a cause to re-energize ourselves. It solidly sucks that this is what it took to get so many of us white women to finally pay attention to what our black sisters have been saying forever, but here we are.
Eventually we are going to hit a brick wall here. We'll get scared and uncomfortable again and, if our biology and psycholoy has anything to do it, we'll look for the next crisis to divert our attention. Something we can "fix" - something that makes us feel victorious. Because there are no easy fixes here.
My plea - as much for you as me - is don't do it. Be brave enough to sit in the discomfort for as long as it takes. And, please - this is for the white women here - don't try and fix anything without the input of a person of color. They lead, we listen and we support. If you feel yourself losing momentum, I've listed five ideas below that can keep you solidly in the fight.
With much love and gratitude,